I appreciate that many of us may have had our secret 'armchair conductor' moment. Indeed for me that was where it all started, through a small book with a very cheap wooden baton. (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Armchair-Conductor-Symphony-Orchestra-Privacy/dp/1852865393).
I have been lucky enough to turn my secret passion into a part of my musical life, specializing in working with choral music and choirs (often as a visiting choir trainer/workshop giver). I feel strongly that being a professional singer is an important advantage for a choral conductor. I know what the concerns, expectations and requirements of the performs might be during a concert, whilst being alert and aware to how a performance is unfolding.
I also spent a large amount of my time at school playing the piano and violin, so I have an appreciation of what it is like to lead the second violins just as much as being the dedicated rehearsal pianist.
I have a similar mantra in my conducting (and rehearsing of works) as in my teaching, that is, SIMPLICITY. If I simplify what I am doing and showing to a choir, it stands to reason that a larger proportion of what I am doing will be picked up and acted upon.
'Remember it all starts with an upbeat/breath.' You wouldn't take two breaths to sing, so it stands to reason that there is no need to give two upbeats! Simple principles such as these can easily demystify to the choir member what a conductor is trying to communicate to his/her choir, orchestral players etc.
Clarity of thought during a workshop or regular sessions with a choir that you conduct can easily improve results without talking about all the other 'consequences' of poor preparation. Everything vocally is prepared by the breath and too often, we forget this, yet we don't 'forget' to breathe in our daily lives and can cope with regulating the correct amount of air to speak etc. In the end, it is the stripping away of the superfluous and retaining the essentials which gives us better and more engaging musical performance.
I was Director of Music at St. Mary's College, Durham University from 2009 - 2011, and Chorus Master of Durham University Music Society. I advised choirs across the UK including at Durham University, during my studies at music college. I was appointed to be Musical Director of Parenthesis Choir, Reading in February 2016 and recently completed my time with the choir. I conducted (in addition to singing) at the Grenfell Benefit Concert in 2017 and I recently completed my time as Arts & Community Outreach Fellow at Van Mildert College, Durham University, where I was the Musical Director of Opera by the Lake featuring Sir Thomas Allen. I continue to actively advise, mentor and direct groups across the UK.
For further information about my conducting, to book me for a workshop or any other queries please do not hesitate to contact me.