Orphy Robinson ran a performance workshop on Sunday 30th July during the SaM Summer School. It was about the ‘Art of Conduction’ – a process in which a conductor directs a musical ensemble who are simply reacting through improvisation to his/her gestures. I didn’t know what to expect from the workshop as I’d never done anything similar to it before, and at first it did seem a very strange concept. However, I was surprised at how engaging it became and how clearly the conductors ideas could be portrayed through simple gestures.

I enjoyed working in smaller groups during the workshop as each individual instrument could be heard much more clearly. The interactions between each of the smaller groups when they came together in the larger ensemble at the end of the evening were very interesting to listen to as well. However, I think the size of the ensemble made it difficult for some of the contrasts in the music to be made clear, so if it was to be done again maybe the group size could be smaller. The workshop taught me how easily simple gestures can be turned into music, and how likeminded and accurate the performers can be in interpreting the gestures.

Make sure to check out the blog post for Orphy’s session here!