How can you learn from Kirk?

What makes a good conductor?  The answer to this question is not as straightforward as you might think.  All but the best musicians have trouble identifying exactly what makes a conductor great.  Musicians know, for example, that they want a clear beat.  But what does this mean?  It depends on the piece.  A perfectly timed, beautifully drawn four pattern may be almost useless when it comes to playing off-beats in the first movement of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto.

What about dynamics?  Musicians and conductors both know that the best fortepiano gesture, for example, is a huge preparation, lots of downward speed into a hard stop.  This is the foundation of the entire gesture, and it conveys all the information a musician needs.  But what if we’re conducting the opening bar of Beethoven Symphony No. 7?  The entire orchestra plays a forte quarter note on the first beat – except for the oboe!  The oboe plays a half note fortepiano.  Helping the rest of the orchestra cut off together while also directing the oboe requires communicating conflicting information simultaneously.  The technique for doing this type of conducting can vary depending on the tempo of the piece, the notes that follow, or any number of other factors.

Good conducting technique is hard to analyze but, to any good musician, it is remarkably easy to identify.  In other words, many musicians (and perhaps even a fair number of conductors themselves) have trouble breaking down a conductor’s movements into individual techniques that can be learned, practiced, and refined.  But any musician will know good technique when he or she sees it.  Conducting is a skill that can seem almost mystical when it is done properly.  A musician may not know how it happened, but he or she certainly knows when a conductor gracefully and efficiently leads an orchestra through a maze of rubatos or brings them in on the top of a soloist’s run.

Kirk Trevor knows conducting.  He has more than eighty recordings to his name, and he is sought by companies such as Naxos, Albany, Navrona, and MMC for their projects.  But even more importantly, Kirk has spent the past twenty five years analyzing conductor technique, breaking it down in a logical and straightforward manner, and teaching it to conductors around the world.  He has worked with more than six hundred conducting students worldwide, and he has hosted the International Workshop for Conductors (IWC) in the Czech Republic for the past twenty years.  He has also taught seminars in North and South America, Switzerland, Germany, Japan, China, and Korea.

Now he has developed an online program to help students of conducting at any skill level improve their technique.  Whether you are a student struggling with a course, a high school orchestra director who wants the very best from his or her students, or a professional conductor looking for insight into repertoire and programming, Kirk is here to help.

Here are just a few of the ways that Kirk Trevor can help you.

  • The Book of Kirk: A short guide detailing some of the conducting techniques and principals that Kirk has been developing for more than two decades.
  • How to Conduct …. Guides: This series of guides focuses on individual pieces.  They go through a piece bar by bar, providing Kirk’s insight into what the orchestra will be looking for and how you can deliver it.
  • Video Seminars: Kirk also offers video lessons that you can download to your computer showcasing many of the main techniques you will use, as well as issues you will face as a conductor.  Kirk will show you (with the help of a professional orchestra) fundamental techniques, common mistakes that conductors make with those techniques, and how you can avoid making those mistakes yourself.
  • Personal Critiques: Kirk can review any video you have of yourself conducting and offer advice, ranging from general suggestions to advice specific to a certain piece with which you are having difficulty.  These critiques are available in both written and video form.
  • Workshops: In addition to his sixteen day International Workshop for Conductors held at the beginning of August in the Czech Republic, Kirk teaches many other workshops around the world. For more information click here
  • Private Lessons: Kirk can come to you to provide lessons to individuals or small groups, giving you detailed, focused advice to improve your ability.

 Much like conducting itself, the art of teaching conducting is not merely the passing of information from one party to another.  It is a relationship, a back and forth dynamic.  Just as a conductor responds to the needs of an orchestra, a teacher must respond to the needs of his or her students.  Kirk understands this relationship, and he has spent years putting together the resources and expertise to respond to your needs as a student.  Contact Kirk Trevor today to see how he can help you become a better conductor.