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 time for a new conductor
Author: Roxann 
Date:   2022-11-23 06:19

When a band begins to suffer, quality-wise, because of the conductor's hearing loss and inability to see even enlarged scores, how can we go about gently convincing the conductor that it's time to hang up the baton?

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 Re: time for a new conductor
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2022-11-23 11:53

Hi Roxann,

If you pm me, I can help a bit with this. I look after a lot of older people in my day-to-day life. I'm a stay-at-home Mum, and just a very amateur clarinetist.


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 Re: time for a new conductor
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2022-11-23 21:55

Does the conductor wear hearing aids? Or does he just deny that he has a hearing problem. I've played for many conductors who wore hearing aids and they functioned very well.

I've also played for perfectly wonderful conductors who couldn't see the scores very well. If they know the music thoroughly, the score can become a side issue on the podium - they don't really need it except perhaps to find rehearsal letters or numbers or to read specific notes for troubleshooting purposes during rehearsals.

Toscanini was notoriously poor-sighted. Ormandy couldn't see his scores, either, without the glasses he never wore during performances nor very often at rehearsals. They conducted from memory. On the other hand, some of the most mediocre conductors I've played for conducted with their heads buried in the score in front of them, almost never even glancing at players. They could see, and probably hear, but they were incompetent.

It really depends, then, on how effective the conductor is at getting the best effort from the band members and what kind of rapport he has with them. Is there an executive board of some kind that runs the band? If poor hearing and eyesight are interfering badly enough, the executive board has the power to suggest that he either remediate the problems or step down. If he is the founder and music director for life, it will be hard on everyone. But, eventually, players will start dropping out and finding more rewarding places to play.


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 Re: time for a new conductor
Author: Tom H 
Date:   2022-11-23 23:06

This is a tough situation. Back in the late '90s our band's principal clarinetist was in the early stages of Alzheimers. As is got worse, the conductor knew a change had to be made, and he featured me as a soloist and began referring to me as co-principal. When the change was made, she was now 3rd chair but noted on the program as Secretary. Perhaps having an Assistant Conductor gradually take over more of the conducting may be a way to ease things over. That is assuming kdk's thoughts won't solve the situation, which they very well may.

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