This post was written by Julius Williams, Professor of Composition and Conducting at Berklee, Artistic Director of the Berklee International Composers Institute, and Music Director of the Trilogy Opera Company. He is an internationally acclaimed, award-winning composer and conductor. He has conducted countless orchestras around the globe, and his compositions have been written for and performed by major symphonies, opera companies, film, and musical theater. He is also a recording artist, educator, author, and pianist. His career has taken him from his native New York to musical venues around the globe, and he has been involved in virtually every musical genre.
I started using Google Hangouts for the first time this semester as a way to teach conducting class COND-212-W001 Conducting 2 to students who were not on campus. It has been an interesting learning experience to use a web conferencing tool to teach an art form that always has seemed to require the physical touch of the teacher and student. To learn the art form of conducting, students need to look at and mimic movements. They need to learn how to listen to breathing, and also understand the sense of collaboration and energy of the music that is being made. Learning to conduct with a teacher is a sometimes an intimate experience. Conducting students have to learn leadership: they have to simultaneously find that inner sense of being connected to the music and have an understanding of what they need to do to conduct an ensemble.