TIPS FOR THE YOUNG COUNDUCTOR, PART IV: Improve your Musicianship.
My own education after my Bachelor’s degree was largely through the groups I started and conducted. While I’ll talk more about finding opportunities to conduct later, the work I did with the Seattle Pro Musica ensembles–first a chamber choir, the 2nd year the Bach Ensemble (with which I did a Bach cantata once a month), and a chamber orchestra the last 3 years of my seven with SPM–preparing this repertoire gave me huge opportunities to improve my musicianship. At that time there were few Bach cantatas recorded so with many of them I needed to learn them from the score alone, figure out everything about how the music sounded, tempi, dynamics, etc. This work–and with the SPM groups I conducted 71 different programs in 7 years–was huge in increasing my level of musicianship. I’ve often said that the work I did with these ensembles was my graduate education. No matter what opportunities you have, use them to increase the level of your musicianship.
I find this to be true. My musicianship has improved considerably by working on choirs and preparing music for rehearsal.