Conducting is not simply the act of marking beats; it is the much more rich art of communicating emotion, character, and mood through movement to a large group of performers in order to inspire them to create music together. Baton Basics is based on the premise that the most effective and musical forms of conducting are about conveying energy, and that doing so is a fundamentally physical activity. In Baton Basics, conductor Diane Wittry offers a unique approach to teaching conducting through familiar gestures: weight, resistance, and energy, combined with size, beat placement. The end goal is the ability to communicate a better concept of musical sound to the musicians. Wittry demonstrates how conductors can communicate through gestures, by training the muscles of their fingers, hands, wrists, forearms, and full arms. She also provides techniques for releasing body tension, improving posture, and developing a deeper sense of calm on the podium through overall body and breathing exercises.
Additionally, she guides the reader on an exploration of the concepts and diagrams of the Musin and Saito conducting methods, and providing innovative suggestions on how to best incorporate these other styles into his or her own technique. Featuring many detailed drawings and access to over 60 video examples on the companion website, Baton Basics guides conductors away from simply marking beat patterns, and towards a nuanced and phrased musicality that can be communicated to a group of musicians. Baton Basics is a key foundational text for the student and experienced conductor alike, and is must for anyone interested in improving and expanding their vocabulary of conducting gestures.