Big Band

To fully grasp the unique aspects of conducting big bands and jazz ensembles, regular rehearsals and exposure are necessary. The conductor's role in this setting is significantly different and requires learning how to interact with rhythm sections and using the appropriate gestural vocabulary for rehearsals and performances.

Module 8 (3 credits)

This Module addresses the issue of conducting Big Band. However, it differs greatly from symphonic conducting in that the director’s role normally does not include the dictates of imposition of ensemble timing.  Other than initiating the original tempo, this responsibility falls to the rhythm section.

What exactly will you learn:

  1. Determine and indicate the initial tempo and groove of the rhythm section

  2. Monitor the quality of improvisational soloists’ performance and indicate the band the next Tutti entry

  3. Effectively command the audience’s attention via professional stagecraft and dynamic artistic presence

  4. Effectively create programming of repertoire for the specific targeted audiences, including the commissioning of big band arrangements of standard repertoire to create a unique sound and brand. 

Learning outcomes:

Students will become proficient in conducting/directing Big Band in a way that differs from ‘traditional’ orchestral conducting with all the associated behind-the-scenes preparation required by this genre. 

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