My visitors today

Monday 24 August 2009

Today's starter for ten

"Breakfast in Paris" June 2006, by Susie Mallett

A question at breakfast

I don't know about any of you but I am not used to deep and enquiring questions so soon after leaping out of bed. The questions only start really flowing into my thoughts when I am on the bike, cycling as fast as I can to work.

But when they do turn up, like they did today, it is wonderful.

Today before even a good morning I was greeted by my client with "I have a question: What do conductors need to know?"

This was followed shortly after with "No, I mean: what must they know?"

I was lost for words, again

What should I say? Should I list all the subjects that I had touched on in my training? Or rather should I list all the training I had done before I became a conductor. Or perhaps mention all the books that I have read and all people who I have spoken too. Does being a teacher help, or in the case of some conductors, does being a Mum or a Dad help?

Are any of these essential to being a conductor? Whatever they are, they are far too abstract to be a good answer for the person setting the question this morning.

I suggested that we should start a list of things that we think are essential qualities.

My client began his list with "A conductor must know how to be funny but also able to be strict". His quality number two was "A conductor must be able to paint"!

I started my list with "Conductors need to know how to be flexible and know patience, love and inspiration". (These I certainly needed today, in buckets).

We got a bit distracted for the rest of the day while I was dishing out the buckets-full of conductor essentials, from both my own list and my client's, but the paper and pencil will be on the table again tomorrow at breakfast, to be continued.

I will publish it later here.

What do we need to know?

How about hearing other conductor-client suggestions for the "what a conductor needs to know" list!


Agi said...

What an interesting topic. I wish I had my 'green book' with me to look up, what it says.
All I can remember that when I pulled 'the conductor' topic during CE verbal exam with Mrs Beck, it felt like describing a superhuman..:-)
What I have learnt,that I need to know is how to be open, intuitive and accepting toward others and myself.To see and act according to my values, rather than learnt knowledge only.I have learnt that
-there is no rule, only a guideline
-there is no bad idea, only a bad attitude
-there is no conductive equipment, only lack of resourcefulness
-there is no laziness, only lack of motivation
-there is no useless attempt, only a missed opportunity
-there is no right or wrong, only learning experience
Does anybody feel the same way?

Susie Mallett said...

Thanks for this, Ági

Your wonderful list is almost a copy of the list I have but which circumstances this week have prevented me from posting. Thanks for doing it for me.

I totally agree with each and every point you make, but especially this one:
"there is no conductive equipment, only lack of resourcefulness."

I will publish a posting, hopefully tonight,with which I will illustrate this.

One of the qualities that a 19 year old client suggested yesterday was bravery!

I thought this was very observant of him.

The important qualities of my day so far are communication skills, inner strength, a healthy soul, spontaneity and very quick thinking.

Just one question Ági: "Do we know each other?"


Andrew said...


I for one feel the same way. What you describe are most excellent pedagogic lessons for any pedagogue to have learned from practice..

I just wish that I had written this.

I will, very soon, and I will dearly wish to credit you with having derived and stated them in the form that you do.

So, like Susie, I ask: Do I know you? I think that perhaps I do.

Whoever you are, please don't cover yourself in semi-anonymity. Come out of the shadows so that I and others can offer you the credit that you deserve, not just for those principles themselves but for the humble yet so convincing way in which you put them.