What does a Conductor actually do?

A Conductor actually does a lot more than wave a stick, says Stephen Tighe

Over the years the number of times I’ve been asked “What does a Conductor actually do.”? Usually, by non-musicians it is always quite surprising. The elements of the Music Director/Conductors job are many and sometimes complex. As conductors, we are the single controlling brain. Our role is to interpret the music being produced by our ensemble. The conductor needs to make a convincing performance from the collection of black dots written on the page. Chorale the skills and endeavours of the musicians in front of them and make what they do better. If you left an orchestra of say 70 people to do things their own way, can you imagine the chaotic sound that would ensue?

One thing non-musicians don’t realise when you become an MD, is the responsibility you take on for the welfare of your musicians, both physical and mental health issues are often not apparent. Man management becomes a skill set that you need to acquire. Their health isn’t your direct responsibly.  But it often becomes something you need to think about before making demands on people.

Building trust

As a group of musicians the Conductor is responsible for growth. As the individuals learn to trust each other, the more conversations about health begin to take place. Musicians, like all of us, get older and as a result, start to suffer from a variety of age-related issues. Some musicians develop sight-related problems, which have a devastating effect. Music is a way of life, not simply a job or a hobby. The international language of music helps a person to grow and develop communication skills which non-musicians never develop. The effect of not being able to see properly can be catastrophic for a musician. My own personal experience has included cataracts, a detached retina and presbyopia. So I can relate very clearly to these issues. 

Kippax Band 2019 Yorkshire 3rd Section Regional Champions

Music Director Stephen Tighe – Managing Director Allegro Optical Ltd

Thankfully there are solutions to these and many other eye conditions available to the frustrated musician through  Allegro Optical. We have developed these specialised skills over the last 15 years. As specialists in musicians eye care and the only optician registered with the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM) we can help where other optical professionals have failed.

Many musicians have attempted to solve problems with their opticians but this often does not work. As non-musicians, the optometrists, dispensing opticians or dispensing assistants have little idea of the working distances and visual field required by the musician. Many of the professional team at Allegro Optical are themselves musicians and fully understand the musician’s complex visual requirements. As many Music Directors/Conductors in the brass band world continue to prepare their band for the upcoming important Regional Championships, I would ask them to consider what extra help some of the team might need. Perhaps a consultation with Allegro Optical would be of real benefit.  

Award-winning eye-care

We’ve been pretty successful in helping performers to #SeeTheMusic. In fact, in the last twelve months alone amazingly we have scooped no less than five national and regional awards for our work in this field. These awards include the National ‘Best New Arts & Entertainment Business of the Year‘ at a gala event in London. Managing Director Sheryl Doe was awarded the 2019 ‘Dispensing Optician of the Year‘ and she was a finalist in the AOP Dispensing Optician of the year 2020.  Allegro Optical’s cutting edge approach to dispensing and their musical experience has led to the team being shortlisted for the prestigious Opticians Awards, Optical Assistant team of the year 2020

During March 2019, Allegro Optical was awarded the Scale-Up Business of the Year, at the regional finals of the Federation of Small Business awards in York. We then went on to receive the FSB Chairman’s award at the national finals in May. Finally winning the FBU Yorkshire family business of the year.

Allegro Optical has been featured in many national publications including The Times, 4BarsRest, The British Bandsman and Music Teacher Magazine.

If you are a musician who is struggling with their vision and making music no longer the enjoyable experience it once was, give us a call at either Greenfield on 01457 353100 or Meltham on 01484 907090.

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