Teaching Children how to Communicate Through Music: Conducting Part 2/3

One way to communicate through music is using body language in conducting. I sometimes do this with younger ages in 1 hour workshops. In our weekly group classes, I give each student the ability to lead the group in conducting. I first explain to the kids that there is much more to conducting than just waving your arms around. You have to show with your face, stature and movement that you want the group to play X or Y. We first decide as a group what a few gestures will translate to, such as forte (loud), piano (quiet) or keep a steady beat. Then I leave the rest up to the conductor. I encourage them to come up with their own gestures and movements to see if the group will follow along without verbal prompts. 9/10 times, the students and I can follow along with the conductors intentions. This teaches the students the importance of leading and listening. They learn to make eye contact when they want something to change and how different movements can be interpreted. In this way they are learning how to speak the language of music.