33: Your Score Study Process

The Conductor's Podcast Wisdom Series

What's your score study process?

Hi there! Happy end of April and welcome to the fourth edition of the Conductor’s Podcast Wisdom series, a new series full of shared life experiences and, of course, wisdom! This series is aired on the last Monday of each month, and in each episode, I am going to pose a question to 10 musicians, conductors, or business gurus. So including myself, you will hear all the goodies from a wide variety of people, thus called the wisdom series. Now, without further ado, let’s get started.

This month’s question that I am asking my people is, “What’s your score study process?”

If I have enough time to do a proper score study, I start with reading and researching about the piece. I like knowing the background of the creation of the work, especially in terms of where this work was in the composer’s creative process. Then I start marking my score, while listening to recordings to familiarize myself with the audio aspects of the music, and then go to rehearsal prep, like identifying passages possibly needing rehearsal, sections that would be difficult for the musicians, etc.

I have a very specific order that I go through when marking my score – so listen in to get all the details. In short, I start with marking through the score a few times before going into details on the phrasal structure, harmony, instrumentation, etc.

My guests today are: 

  • Noreen Green (Conductor, Los Angeles Jewish Symphony, episode 27)
  • Lily Ling (Music Director, Hamilton, episode 21)
  • Julia Baumanis (Assistant Director of Bands, Rutgers University, episode 31)
  • Tiffany Chang (opera and orchestra conductor, episode 4)
  • Jennifer Kane (Founder, NOVA Women’s Choral Project – episode 16)
  • Margaret Flood (Founder, Frost Young Women Conductor Symposium)
  • Susie Seiter (film conductor, episode 29)
  • Kira Omelchenko (Conductor, Wilfrid Laurier University Symphony Orchestra, episode 22)
  • Anna Edwards (Music Director, Seattle Collaborative Orchestra and Saratoga Orchestra, episode 37)
  • and my friend Michelle Rofrano (conductor, founder, Protestra, episode 3).

Links Mentioned in Today's Episode

Chaowen: 0:02
Hi everyone, this is Chaown recording in May 2023. After finishing the first season of The Conductor’s Podcast, I have decided to give this podcast project, a dedicated website with more user friendly functions. So now we have a brand new website called theconductorspodcast.com. Straightforward, right? And now we also have its own Instagram handle. It’s also the same, @theconductorspodcast. So all the show notes have been moved to the new side, and I invite you to come check out all the resources and happy listening.

Chaowen: 0:52
Hey there welcome to The Conductor’s Podcast, I’m your host Chaowen Ting, a conductor with over 20 years of experience working with professional symphony orchestras, opera houses, new music groups and vocalist. I’m also founder of Girls Who Conduct and have mentored hundreds of conductors from across the globe. I created The Conductor’s Podcast to share all the behind the scenes secrets with you. While I interview conductors, musicians and business grows from around the world. This is a space created for conductors, conducting student musicians and non musicians who are curious and interested in learning more about the profession, craft, industry and business.

Chaowen: 1:40
Hi there happy end of April and welcome to the fourth edition of The Conductor’s Podcast Wisdom Series, a new series photos shared live experiences, and of course, wisdom. This series is aired on the last Monday of each month. And in each episode, I’m going to pose a question to 10 musicians, conductors or business gurus. So including myself, you will hear both the good is from a wide variety of people, thus called The Wisdom Series. Now without further ado, let’s get started.

Chaowen: 2:19
This month’s question that I am asking my people is, what’s your score study process? And this is the question that I asked most people when I was starting to study conducting because it was such a myth for me how people read orderlies at once, if you’ve seen an orchestral score, I remember I asked my first private combatant teacher. So I remember she was a clarinet player. So I asked her, do you mostly follow the clarinet line when you’re conducting, but the clarinet is not always playing. So what are you reading? And she looked at me with that look, and smiled, and they will look at all the lies. I was like, Oh, I can read all the lines with my background as a violinist. I started following the violin line. And then I started to add the cello line a little bit to follow two lines at that time.

Chaowen: 3:19
And then of course, I honed my skills and learned to view more like look at more lines at a time. But of course it’s the studying process that prepares you for any conductor, to the moment when you get on a podium, to conduct whether rehearsal or the concert. And I’m going to make a video about how I marked my score because that’s also another question that I have got, I have asked a lot. So I will share that on my instagram with this episode. But very short.

Chaowen: 3:53
My score study process starts with doing some research about the background, the composition and the conduct and a composer. I like to know this just as like a reading. And this usually prepares me before going to really actually touch into music if I have time. So I like to read about okay, what pieces this composer has just written. And what was also in the process of his or her creative process. Maybe they were writing an opera at the same time when this symphony was composed. I liked reading about those things and kind of put things into perspective. Again, if I have time, you have to learn something really quickly. I go for the big picture. The most important things are how I can get from the beginning to the end. So I need a roadmap. I need to know where I need to turn where I need to slow down. You know just like when you’re planning to go somewhere you need to go okay, this this trick this part is tricky. It has a lot of traffic at this time of the day. So I need to drive carefully, or that part looks straight on the map. But there’s actually a huge big slope. And I need to pace myself a little carefully for that. So going for the bigger picture, and know all the tempe changes, the transitions. And then next, bringing out the lines and all that, that’s when I have to go really fast in studying a piece. If I have older time that I wanted to learn a new piece, I have a process that I’ve Ballo. So don’t laugh at me, the very first thing I do when I start studying the music, is to write down my name.

Chaowen: 5:46
And this actually comes from Mark Gibson at CCM, when I was doing my Masters there, he always told us write your name, write anything that you can think of on the score. To spend time with a score, the more time you spend with your score, the more you know what to do with it. So I always start with writing my name. So it feels like a declaration that okay, now I’m going to learn this piece. And then I check the addition. And I writing measure number in every single page. Even if there’s already, like measure numbers, and maybe at the beginning of each page or every 10 bars, that doesn’t matter, I like to write that in on both. And so on each page, I write the measure numbers at the beginning and the end of that system.

Chaowen: 6:38
And I count how many bars for each movement or for each section, because that kind of gave me the parameters of how the composer set to sing. Okay, how many bars that they used to tell this musical story, right. And then I go through the score, making sure that I know what each single line is, and node, any instruments that is A transposed instrument. So I want to make sure if I have to open the score to page 25, the third line, I know that’s a horn in E, instead of a conventional horn in F or that a trumpet in F instead of a B flat, or the clarinet has switched to A clarinet or the piccolo has switched to second flute, I want to make sure at any single given moment, I know exactly what that is. So if it’s not already provided by the addition, I will write that in.

Chaowen: 7:41
And then I go through the next layer of marking all the tempo changes and key changes. So I use a red pencil color, color pencil to mark all the tempo changes, and all the key changes. And by doing those layers from beginning to the end, I have already slipped through the piece several times. So now I have formed an idea of how my general impression of this piece is. So I might note, okay, they are a lot of major changes, or they are not many key changes that yours just one, there was just one in this moment, or, Oh, the instrument changes are a lot. So I want to make sure that I know that I look at the same tempo any time. Or I acknowledge that a timpanist has changed the notes before I start the movement. If it’s an inner movement of a symphony, for example, after I go through this big pictures, I go down to small details.

Chaowen: 8:45
I go back to the beginning and I start marking each single phrase. So for me, structural analysis is one of the most important thing for me, I need to know how many bars there are or like how many repetitions to get to the next section. How many keys that get through structure is such an important thing in my own study. So I would go through every single phrase, mark that. And of course, sometimes I’m not sure I would just put a question mark. Or sometimes when I look at my old score that I’ve studied, when I was a student, I look at the phrases I was like, Oh, I didn’t understand that piece at all. That was not a four plus two, but there was a three plus three instead. But no matter what it’s that’s kind of the most, the very first thing that I go through when I go into details. And then I mark keys and instrumentations along the line . And when I have gone through this layer, it’s usually very long because I go down to like very, very small details.

Chaowen: 9:53
And then I’ll try to go backwards. So I’ll go from the end of the piece and just look for things that I have might have missed, such as mute dedicados. So like whenever you see those kinds of things, the first thing you should ask yourself, Okay, where does this end? When you see a pizz where does arco come back? When you see mute, okay, are they muted until the end of the movement? Or what do they take off the mute? For mute in brass, you have to ask, okay, what kind of mute? So the straight mute is just did the composer ask for anything special? If not, do I want anything special for the color? Those are the things that I go backwards, because when I see the end of something, it’s easier for me to go back to the beginning of something.

Chaowen: 10:41
And after that, usually in a process depending on a piece, if it’s a piece that I have already known, I will not listen to a lot of recording until this point, if it’s a new piece that I can premiere, I was start listening and earlier process, both my study just to get myself familiarized with the audio part of it. Of course, once you’ve done this for a while, you will start hearing the sound in your ear when you read the score. But I still would like to just get a different perspective of how this music could sound.

Chaowen: 11:17
And then the next step is I would start marking things for rehearsals. If I have very limited rehearsal time, I would put out my guests of okay, this part looks messy. They are the strings has a lot of little notes that I need to watch that they’re the, make sure that the winds chorale thing, they are breathing at the same time. And I started having kind of a list. But this list is only for reference, I’m not going in and only rehearse the parts that have predetermined, I’m going to fix problems in rehearsals right.

Chaowen: 11:54
So when I am in rehearsal, I would play through and kind of check against that list that had okay, this part they don’t need it. And then I take that post it away, oh, this part is new, I didn’t think they would need to have trouble. Maybe I need to come back. And then I felt that page. And, of course in one of the earlier episodes that I talked about how to use your voice effectively in the rehearsal and I also shared my mental process in rehearsal. And I’ll link that in the show notes.

Chaowen: 12:27
Now, so much talk from me, and I can’t wait for you to hear what my guests have to share. I’m a very first guest today is no ringing, and she is the conductor of the Los Angeles Jewish symphony. And she was also my guest and Episode 27, where she shared her entrepreneurship and this process of starting an orchestra of this very special niche.

Noreen: 12:54
Before I start my score study process, I try to find some kind of audio representation. Usually the composer has a MIDI file or something to listen to hear in Hollywood, many times I get fully rendered pieces with orchestral samples, I will also listen to the composers other works to get a sense of his or her compositional style. Because I am in a niche orchestra of music on the Jewish experience, many times in themes will be familiar. And I will analyze how the composer has expressed those things. If it is a piece with a soloist, many times there is a piano reduction, which I will play through. And then we’ll start the orchestral studying score process. I use the piano as my learning tool. And we’ll play through individual parts. And then I’ll play through different sections all of the strings together all the woodwinds and try to hear everything put together. And then looking at common themes within the fabric of the composition. And of course, the last step is understanding the overriding architectural form.

Chaowen: 13:58
The next is Lily Ling. She is a dear friend and she’s also the music director of Hamilton, which is as you can tell a Broadway show. And she was my guest in episode 21 was just shared inside knowledge about Broadway.

Lily: 14:17
I sit in front of the piano, and I play through it. I very not well tried to sing through it. And so yeah, I tried to just look at it from me. This is a longer answer. But I’m a musician, but I’m not an audio learner. So if it’s a brand new piece and you want to play something for me, my brain tunes out. I need to look at it. Or I need to feel it. Like I’m more of a visual and tactile learner. So if you put a piece in front of me, I can probably hear what it sounds like with a piano. The best way for me to learn is to apply two out of the three forms of learning. But the easiest way for me to know. I’ll pay attention is if I’m just listening to something for the first time. So that’s the thing with me is I would love to like I need the score, I need to look at it, and live it and breathe it. And then like, even if I don’t have piano in front of me, I can kind of feel it in my fingers. And that’s what I love to do. And then if there are recordings, and then if there are demos, and I’ll listen to it, but I’m a very visual person.

Lily: 15:22
The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is from my undergrad piano teacher, we were discussing pedaling for Bach. And I’m sure anybody who is a pianists, has had that conversation. And I still use this advice every day, which is, music is subjective. It’s art, art is subjective. There’s a spectrum of good taste and bad taste. And as long as you don’t veer too much towards the bad taste, no one can tell you, you’re wrong. As long as you’re here to serve the piece, and your intention is true to the piece, and to the composer, and to the story. It’s just a matter of taste.

Lily: 16:09
I keep to myself a lot. And I think as a music director as a conductor, unlike directors and choreographers, we perform. And the one principle I have at work is, man, I step through that door in that theater, you leave everything at the door. So how I feel personally about a certain actor, doesn’t matter. Because my job the minute I stepped foot through that door, and the minute I’m on that conductor podium, is to empower everyone. All the same way. How does that happen? I don’t go out partying with actors, I don’t spend a lot of time with my cast, not because I don’t care about them, I care about them as human beings, but I don’t want to know, because the more you know, and the closer you are, with your casts, the less you can give them notes, the less you can be if you need to be be assertive, you know. And so I think finding a healthy distance between yourself and the people, whether it’s musicians and cast is something that a leader has to do. And people always say it is lonely at the top is because without that boundary, you can’t have authority and you cannot lead. And so I always encourage mentees and people I talked to, you have to know your boundaries and know yourself.

Chaowen: 17:37
Julia Baumanis is the next guest answering this question. And she is currently Assistant Director of Bands at Rutgers University in New Jersey. And she was my guest and Episode 31, where we discuss being the first woman of a lot of things in her field.

Julia: 17:56
Oh my gosh, my score study process. Actually, I do have a good one. And I don’t none of us have time to score study like we’re supposed to. Right? So I do it. I use this system. And I teach my students to use this system because I think it you can get a lot for like the amount of in a short amount of time. So it’s not mine. It’s stolen from Patrick Dunn again for Florida State University is called the Five S’s and the Five S’s are first you scan the score, you just have the score, you sit down with it, and you look at all the things what all the words say are their tempo changes, what’s the key who wrote it? When was it written? What is it about, you just look at everything that’s on the page.

Julia: 18:34
The next thing is the next s is sing. So after you’ve scan through and sort of like digested a little bit, you start to sing some of the music, you know, you could go to a piano get a reference note, you could listen to a recording and sing along so that you start to like internalize what the music sounds like. After the scanning process, then the I might have had s number two and three mixed up pat down again, don’t wring me across the coals, seek is either s two or s3. But seek is seek further knowledge. So you know it seekers number two, you can change this right? Seek is number two. So after you’ve scanned then you seek further knowledge. Okay, where’s this composer from? I know that there’s a story about this piece. What is it truly about what time period was this written? And where was it written? What was the composer going through at the time? Ooh, this is a weird chord. What does that actually mean? Is there something special about it what’s actually in there, then you go to sing, you start singing all these.

Julia: 19:31
And then you go to synchronize. So synchronizing is singing and moving your hands at the same time. So you start to hook up the physical movement to the musical stuff that’s going on in your brain. And then the last s is select items for rehearsal. So after you’ve spent a little bit of time with the score, you say, Okay, I think that this is going to be a thing because as I’ve been trying to sing it and process it, it’s been a thing for me, so probably for my students as well. Oh, oh, I know that this transition might be scary because there’s a little bit of a tempo change and not a lot of like pulse that winds down with it, that kind of stuff. So that’s what I do as far as like score markings, I try to highlight on my score the things that my ear and what I want the audience’s ear to go to first. And then from there, I see, okay, that’s the principal thing, okay, what’s the secondary thing? That’s the support. I also have a color scheme thing that I do with my scores. So like everything for Dynamics is one color. Everything that has to do with time and meter and tempo change is one color, that everything that has to do with where my ear goes, first is one color. It’s just easier for me in rehearsal to say, Where do my eyes need to go, boom, yellow done. That’s my highlighted principal thing where my ears go.

Chaowen: 20:51
Tiffany Chang will be the next one sharing. She is a freelance opera and orchestra conductor. And her episode, episode number four, from fear to courage was one of the most popular and most downloaded episode. So check it out, if you haven’t already.

Tiffany: 21:10
Perfectionism has always been my struggle had always been distracted by how things were not going perfectly the things the small things that went wrong, or the things that I felt like I didn’t do well enough. And I felt so distracted by them that I couldn’t actually focus on the conducting or even focus on the things that actually went well.

Chaowen: 21:33
Coming next is Jennifer can she is the founder of the NOVA Women’s Choral Project. And in Episode 16, she talked about, she never knew how she navigated the pandemic and started a new choral project in the Boston area.

Jennifer: 21:50
For me, the first thing that I tackle is the form is just looking at through getting that sense of the roadmap. And the form is usually the first thing that I’m teaching the students when they’re learning a piece of music as well. And I think that comes from the fact that that is the most important thing for me. To start, I just like to know the direction and where we’re going. And it helps my learning process. So the form especially as a choral conductor, that also involves texts, and thinking about how the texts impact the form. From there, I probably I begin to identify the salient characteristics of the music, usually from the piano. And then I just work in smaller sections, I find it helpful to make a chart of the form which I use, also as a log, to remind me of observations that I might have made or even as a mark of, of what I’ve really gotten to spend a lot of time on and what I still need to do, it just helps keep me organized. And then I also use that log in a notes as sort of throughout the rehearsal process as I need. Or if I’m having difficulty teaching a concept. Sometimes I’m going back and I’m looking at that log and trying to sort of take myself back into the big picture and figure out another way to approach it from my teaching perspective.

Chaowen: 23:02
The next few are here from Margaret Flood, she is the founder of the Frost Young Women Conductors Symposium.

Margaret: 23:09
So create a big picture or map first, whatever works best for you. I’m very detail oriented, so I have to train myself not to dive into the details right away. Sometimes I start from the back end of a piece and go to the front, especially looking at middle school band music. And during my PhD I spent a lot of time actually playing every line on my clarinet because I needed to improve my sight transcription skills. And that actually all improved my conducting because I was able to hear the line and I’ve a big weakness and automation. So they hear it all on an instrument I’ve played for 30 years was super easy for me.

Margaret: 23:49
My next guest answering this question is Susie Seiter. She is a film conductor and also a conductor specializing in the caucus ripoffs genre. And her episode 29 was a really awesome one, if you haven’t heard it yet, where we talked about systematic racism and also gender bias in the industry.

Margaret: 24:13
I practice a lot, I mark it up, I usually have recordings and I mark phrases really well in for six or eight bar phrases so that I don’t get distracted when I hear a wrong note and then I can kind of go back to where I am.

Chaowen: 24:30
That’s really helpful. Coming up next, Dr. Kira Omelchenko who is the conductor of the Wilfrid Laurier University Symphony Orchestra in Canada, and she was also my guest and episode number 22, where she talked about techniques for working with string players.

Kira: 24:50
So with scores today, especially a piece they’ve never studied before or heard before, it’s very tempting to try to listen to it online or trying to find recordings of it but actually for me I recommend not doing that at all. Like I recommend, the first thing I do is just I go through the score and just get like a visualization of what the entire picture might look like, or what the entire, the entire sound might look like. So even before just singing anything, or studying each single line, I just do kind of several passes, like just looking at the score, just overall, just getting a sense of, you know, what the, how many instruments are involved, what the composer style might look like, where it’s heavy on the strings, winds, brass, all that. So the scoring process for me is layers, its layers, like a, I don’t want to say again, because no onions are not delicious. So maybe like layers of Jawbreaker, you know, of candy. So something that is delicious, that you want to keep, you want to keep licking the Jawbreaker, even though it hurts your tongue, you know, it’s painful, but it’s delicious at the same time. So the way I treat score, score study process like that, like it’s very tough at times, but also rewarding.

Kira: 25:59
So I looked at the score, and not even looking at listening to any records or anything, but just seeing how much can I get out of the score? How much can I learn about the composer, just by the score itself. And the score is very telling you they can find different notations and perhaps habits that the composer has or stylistic hints to give you an idea of the writing of the composer, but a lot of it is I think just score setting should be a process where it should be fun, you know, in a way I want to test myself, I want to test my ears, I want to test my inner ear and all that oral training that we have, that we have from way back from skills class or from you know, music fundamentals, like why not apply it and test it and see how much of it we can hear in our head. So this process of ideation of can I hear the music in my head, because that will tell me, I think my strengths and weaknesses as a conductor, you know, and areas to grow. So continuing to obviate the music to go through, after looking at the score at this macro level, then I’ll go in and look at each part at a micro level and seeing through each part. I mean, even though my singing is not the most beautiful thing in the world, which is okay, you know, at least we have a voice that we have a voice. And if we can sing aloud each part, we can get a sense of the contour of the line, the sense of the melodic direction, the sense of, you know, how you want articulations to sound. So, a lot of times my score study process is not quiet, I’m making noises I’m studying the score on I’m envisioning, I’m imagining, and I’m hearing in my head, the different articulations I want from from the ensemble from instruments, so sing a lot. And if singing is not in your wheelhouse, you know, play an instrument, you know, if you’re a violinist play every part on a violin to get a sense of you know, the notes and the sound, pay on the piano, you know, test your or work on your score reading skills, even if it’s slow, who says that score study process, it has to be in the tempo of your ideal performance speed score study process, I love it. Because you can slow things down, you can hit the rewind button, you can hop from place to place and try to find those similarities from like, the exposition to the recovery could read the recap and all that.

Kira: 28:21
I think just being experimental and being creative and how you study the score and not feel like it has to go from beginning to end all the time. But perhaps one session, start in the middle, you know, or start at the end go backwards, I think one score when I was studying to because I wanted to memorize one of the scores and to conduct it, I studied it from backwards, there was a French placement and it for me it made sense to kind of study it backwards and see, okay, how much do I have memorized from the end and then work myself backwards until I could go from the beginning to the end that way. So just you know, do what works to make, I think to make our minds flexible, to get the music in our bodies in our head and our ears, but also in our heart so that we’re almost training ourselves as conductors to be ready for anything when it comes to the rehearsal process when it comes to the performance, all that so kind of taking it from the macro approach to the micro. So looking at every individual part, dissecting it, finding the trouble spots, all that and then going back to the macro. And then after I’ve done that deep dive, then that’s where I listened to various recordings. You know, of course, we all do the we need to do the research on the composer, if it’s a living composer, reach out to them. You know, that’s what I was suggested to the composer who’s living reach out to them, ask them questions, have a conversation with them, get to know who they are, and you know what inspires them what inspired the piece and that way we can make a more I think honest interpretation of the music itself. Hope that helps.

Chaowen: 29:54
Dr. Anna Edwards is the next guest sharing with us her experiences. And she is the music director of the Seattle collaborative orchestra and Saratoga orchestra. Her episode is upcoming in May. So just stay tuned.

Anna: 30:11
So I just read it like a book, I go through the beginning to the end. And then I imagine what is happening in the music. And you know, as silly as it sounds, I try to get a feel for what the composer wants. And I’ve tried to find what the architecture is, and the character.

Chaowen: 30:28
Last but not least, is my dear friend, Michelle Rofrano. If you’ve been listening to the podcast, you know her, and she’s conductor, mostly working in the opera field. But then she’s also founder of PROTESTRA, which is an orchestra based in New York, which gives performances for social cost event. And she was my guest and episode number three, when she talked about how to program for a specific cause.

Michelle: 30:59
So first up, if there is a recording, I always love to listen to it. If there are multiple recordings, you know, it’s more well known frequently performed work. I like to listen to multiple recordings, so that I can start to get a feel for you know, even just as an audience member for the very first time, like what affects me like what’s the really exciting part of it, what I like about the pacing, like you can start to hear that after a few different interpretations of a work. So I love to start thinking about that interpretation element of it to begin with. But then in my score, what I do first is I mark sections. So if it’s an opera, or Mozart opera will already have the sections numbered, so I’ll put a post it in each section, I’ll draw my lines between sections. If it’s a Puccini opera, there won’t be you’ll have the X will all be marked in the score. But the different kind of sections like each reo, or ensemble in the score won’t necessarily have a divider. So I will draw big lines and pencil between my sections. But I will also mark the sections like that posted at the top of the page. And that comes in handy in rehearsals if I want to jump around.

Michelle: 31:56
But from the very beginning, it just helps me organize my studying. So I know like I did that section this day, I did this section that day, and I can just open to the page I need and like continue my score study. So that’s really big for me, then if it’s an opera, I translate it the very first thing if it’s not in English, and if it’s in a language, I don’t know the pronunciation Well, I’ll try to also start to include some pronunciation. But for me, I can’t, I can’t learn an opera until I just know exactly what’s being said, because you know, a good opera composer, composes music to directly support the exact texts. So just from the very beginning, I always want to know like exactly what the characters are saying and like, why they’re saying it and how it all fits together. So I’ll write in my translation.

Michelle: 32:34
And then what I always do is I’m really big on color coding. So I color code my singers like first thing, especially if it’s a big full score, if it’s an opera I’m not very familiar with, I always pick a color that I think sort of suits each character. And then like in a colored pencil and I take my ruler and I have a little art project of I underline each one. And then visually as I continue to go through the score, it just mentally reminds me and helps me learn like Oh, cue for this person that’s coming up. But then actually, it comes in handy too, because then as I’m flipping through my score in rehearsal, like oh, we want to go to Rodolfo’s aria, if I flip back and then I see the several pages that are all underlined in light blue light blue is my color for Rodolfo and La Boheme, then I know where the aria is, you know, it’s kind of easy to find the ways around the score that way. So I caught up with my singers. And then whether it’s orchestral music or opera, I also always marked my tempo changes because that is just usually honestly the number one thing a conductor is needed for is clear tempo changes.

Michelle: 33:26
Like if we have one job, it’s to clearly help everyone navigate fermatas and tempo changes. And so I also have colors for those I mark tempo changes for slower in purple. So I’ll have like little squiggly line if we slow down but then if it’s like a section, that’s a new section of music starts that slower, like my vertical line in the score will be purple. And then going forward or accelerando going faster is green. So if it’s accelerando I’ll have a forward arrow and if it’s a subito piu mosso, so I will draw long green line down the staff in my score. So just really big on colors, it really helps me and then I get into the smaller details from there.

Michelle: 34:01
Then I get into the actually playing through and the learning notes and the harmonic analysis and writing and my instrument cues. But all of these big benchmarks and all the colors helped me just organize the score in my mind, and then it helps me organize my study.

Chaowen: 34:13
Here you go, and I hope you’ve loved what my friends and I had to share. And if you have any topic or a question that you want me to ask my table, please feel free to send me a pm a DM on social media or send me an email to theconductorspodcast@gmail.com Just one word, theconductorspodcast@gmail.com And I always love to hear from you. Thank you so much again for spending time with me and I will see you next month for this wisdom series. Bye for now. If you haven’t already, I would really encourage you to check out the website of Girls Who Conduct and a lot of great organizations working towards more diverse

Chaowen: 35:00
Also the inclusion and equity in the field, including the one that Julia is involved with the Women Band Directors International. Again, I’ll put everything in the show notes and you can find things at chaowenting.com/31 and I will see you next week at the same time, same place. If you’re loving this show, please don’t forget to subscribe and or leave a review on Apple podcast and that will be the best encouragement for me. Thank you and bye for now.