Top critical review
8 people found this helpful
There are better book on conducting.
on August 25, 2006
Informative value: 2 out of 5
Musical excerpts help improve this otherwise over priced text.
You can easily find books that are much more helpful than this one. Brock McElheran's Conducting technique for beginners is much more relevant and informative, not to mention way cheaper. Anything by Elizabeth Green would also be great. I believe the problem with the book is that it relies too much on defining gesture. Whenever gesture rather than music is the source of information for your conducting, you will have problems. The irony is that people (conductors and performers alike) become so concerned with maintaining a clear beat pattern and that everything is 'correct' that they disregard the music.
One good thing in the book is the large number of musical examples and excerpts. Over half of the book is dedicated to excerpts of good music that present a variety of challenges. This does raise one large question, though. Why not just have the students buy the McElheran and use scores that they bought and can later use in their own classroom or with their own ensemble? It seems that many people find the collection of excerpts helpful, though. It would be ridiculous to require students to buy even half of the score that are represented in this book.
The challenge in writing a text on conducting is that it needs to be helpful to all sorts of people. Different people will need different help, and the book attempts to cater to this variety. However, Labuta's attempt to inform the least knowledgeable people brings the level of the book so far down that it looses meaning after you can conduct a six pattern.