Adrian Casas Lupercio - conducting expert

The Beat - Part 2

More basic tips to learn conducting

In this second video about "The Beat," Adrian gives you more tips with practical and clear examples you can practice right away.

Released on May 6, 2020

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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Hello, everyone. My name is Adrian Casas. I am a violinist and conductor from Regina, Canada, and we are here today surrounded by music scores to talk about conducting. In one of my videos we talked about adding acceleration and deceleration to the beat in order to make it more predictable and clear for the musicians. In another video we talked about the baton, the different kinds of batons, and the ideal grip if you wish to use a baton. So today we're going to try a couple of exercises to help you put those two together.

Always maintain a relaxed posture. Keep your back straight and your chin up. Shoulders should be down and free of any tension of any tension. Be careful and make sure you have enough space to do these exercises without hurting yourself. All of these exercises should feel comfortable at all times.

While sitting down, put your hand on your lap. Then twitch your forearm and take your hand up with a quick burst. Then let it fall. Try to not control the trajectory on the way up or down. You are literally just throwing your hand up. Keep an eye on that rebound. You will use it soon.

Once you have eliminated any tension going up or down, use the momentum of the rebound to take your hand up. Increase your range of motion gradually.

Relax your shoulders. Arms should be pointing down and relaxed. Take your hand above your head, relax your shoulder, and let your arm fall all the way beside your hip and let it swing until it stops by itself.

Don't control the descent or trace the trajectory of the fall. Simply let go of your whole arm by relaxing your shoulder. The arms should not be stiff, but try to not engage any other joints. Focus on letting the arm fall from the shoulder instead.

Relax your shoulders. Arms should be pointing down. From the hip, have a quick burst and relax. Allow the momentum of the burst to take your hand as high as possible. Start small and increase your range of motion as you feel ready.

Try not to carry your arm up or trace the trajectory of the arm. Instead, think of tossing something up in the air. The heavier the object or the higher you wish the object to go, the quicker the burst.

Now let's combine both movements, burst then drop. Always relax and let your arm go after the burst. Let it fall.

After the fall, allow the rebound to catch your arm in the middle of your core. Burst, drop, catch.

Grab your baton. Bring both arms around the middle of your core. It should feel comfortable for you. Imagine that you have to hold that posture for a long time, so find a position that wouldn't cause any fatigue. Now remember that the baton is an extension of your arm, so imagine that the baton is coming all the way out from your elbow. Now, typically, the palm should be down, however it should feel comfortable, so a slight angle is okay. Some gestures might even require for your hand to be sideways. There shouldn't be any tension on your grip.

Now try burst, drop, catch. It might take you a few tries to make it look right.

Same as before, do not trace the trajectory. Don't pull or push. Just simply drop, toss, drop, catch.

Once you feel comfortable, try to use the momentum of the rebound after the drop to bring your arm up.

Don't carry your arm up. Don't push it down. Just let it bounce.

Make sure the tip of your baton is not pointing to the floor or the ceiling. A slight incline should be okay, but not too much.

Don't engage your wrist all the time. While it is acceptable in some gestures, it creates more than one focus point in one go.

Don't let the tip of the baton point down on your initial burst. Don't flick with your wrist after the fall.

Don't stick out your fingers. It creates many points of attention. Remember that we want the beat point to be at the tip of your baton.

Make sure that the tip of your baton is not perpendicular to your arm in any direction, as the tip won't be visible from other angles.

Do not engage all joints at once. The tip loses focus and the musicians won't know where the beat is; your elbow, your wrist, the baton?

So I hope with these videos, you're able to develop some relaxation and some flexibilities to show a clear beat. Of course, this is a continuous development that requires practice. So the key word is, relax. Be kind to yourself. Practice for short periods of time every day. If something hurts, stop altogether and monitor yourself, either record yourself or ask for feedback. It's very likely that you're adding tension where you shouldn't be. If that is the case, stop altogether and try again the next day. Thank you for watching. Stay safe, stay healthy, and see you next time.
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Sheet Music Downloads

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