RCICW day 2

Absolutely shattered after a long, intense day at the RCICW, but really want to make note of a few thoughts.

  • The more I teach and the longer I work the more I’m in awe of the students. One leaves one’s studying years behind for two reasons. First, you may be lucking enough to have accumulated enough skill and knowledge to continue your education under your own guidance, but two is that you may no longer have the strength to put yourself in that situation any more. All day, I’ve been impressed at how resilient everyone’s been; how far they’ve come from session to session and how courageous they are in trying new things in front of the orchestra.
  • Why is it that it’s the person who’s late to rehearsal who’s watching the clock at the end of the session?
  •  Conductors should collaborate more often. It’s so refreshing to work with and absorb approaches other than my own. For example- a student encounters a technical problem, and David or Chris suggests a solution, but it’s not the one I would use or suggest. Nevertheless, the moment may come when I have to help teach the non-Ken approach, and it’s like WD-40 for the brain. You take your thinking out of it’s automatic patterns and suddenly you’re working more creatively and smoothly
  • There’s nothing better than standing near an opera singer  who’s in the zone
  • I really don’t know why servers are so reluctant to give separate checks in larger groups. They’d get paid faster and make better tips.

A few big challenges ahead tomorrow.
·         We have to finalize and announce performance assignments to the students, which is a difficult task. You’re trying to find a convergence of ability, affinity and aptitude. Not easy.
·         I think the teaching gets harder now. We’ve fixed the things that are easy to fix. The deeper one goes into the art form one goes, the more personal the issues become, which means it’s more emotionally draining for everyone.
·         Beethoven 3- one of my constant companions the last 12 months, having done it with so many groups. Very exciting to work on and explore, but so, so difficult.
All music is opera….
            Human being has a thought or an emotion
            Human being breathes with the thought
            Breathe initiates expression of the emotion through release of breath in sound
Beethoven 3 is a great symphony, and full of rigor and structure, but it’s as much opera as Carmen.. What is the thought that precedes the first two E-flat major chords? How many characters are in the drama? Where do some of the great harmonic shocks in the development of the first movement come from? We’ll find out tomorrow….


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About the author

American conductor, composer and cellist Kenneth Woods is Principal Conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director of the Colorado MahlerFest and cellist of the string trio Ensemble Epomeo. He records for the Avie, Somm, Nimbus, Signum, MSR and Toccata labels.

Learn about Kenneth at www.kennethwoods.net

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1 comment on “RCICW day 2”

  1. Pingback: Kenneth Woods- a view from the podium » Rose City International Conductor’s Workshop- digest of journal entries

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