S1E6: Discernment: How to Pick Quality Music

What does artistic excellence look and sound like?

  • Expectations
  • Form, shape & design
  • Orchestration & density
  • Style
  • Development
  • Idiom
  • Musical validity
  • Appeal & interest to players, audience and us
  • Being the adult in the room - training musical palates rather than pandering

Download the Determining Excellence Checklist PDF

Blog post: Why can't the kids pick their own music?

Stephen Budiansky's Washington Post article: The kids play great, but that music...

How to develop your own discernment and taste

  • Getting out of the rehearsal room
  • Listening beyond your ensemble/genre
  • Listening to great (and bad!) performances
  • Listen outside classical music

Musical Inspiration for Conductors (Youtube playlist)


  • How to listen
  • Where to listen

How to select music that is appropriate for your:

  • Ensemble
  • Occasion
  • Audience

Download the Determining Appropriateness Checklist PDF

Action Steps

  1. Select a work that is new to you and assess its artistic excellence using the checklist.
  2. Select an upcoming performance in your calendar. Assess the work from Step 1 for its appropriateness to that event using the checklist.

Share your action steps with us on Instagram!

Take a photo or screen shot, tag us @conductingartistry and use hashtag #conductingartistryinaction

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S2E4: Plan, Reflect Adapt - How to Make Progress in Rehearsal

How can we set ourselves up to listen better in rehearsals? What can be planned in advance, and when do we need to adapt our plans? What tools can we use to make our rehearsals more efficient? What does good feedback for players look like, and how can we deliver it in a sensitive way? We tackle all these questions and more as we explore the nitty gritty of middle rehearsals.


S2E3: First rehearsals - trust, expectations and listening like crazy

It's the all-important first rehearsal! What is needed from both conductors and players in the first rehearsal? How does stress play a role? How do we navigate the dynamics of conducting professional versus educational orchestras? How can understanding attention help us set more reasonable expectations for ourselves, and the musicians?


S2E2: From paper to performance - score study, imagination & listening like crazy

How do you effectively prepare and study a score before rehearsals? How do you create your own vision for the piece? Should you listen to recordings? What about MIDIs? How do you prepare for a world premiere where no recording exists? We tackle all the curly questions to help you boost your score preparation.