tai chi for conductors?

Today is my last day at Omega at the Tai Chi workshop, and I’d like to take this chance to ask for some input.

I’ll be running a session at the March 2011 ACDA national conference at 7 a.m. Friday morning on Tai Chi for conductors.  I’ve been studying Tai Chi for a while and definitely think it has already helped my conducting, and think it will continue to help.  But when I got the e-mail telling me they wanted me to run the session, the author of the e-mail said “we all see the connection between Tai Chi and conducting” and that surprised me.  Is the connection that obvious?  I mean, it seems obvious to me, just as it seems obvious to my Tai Chi teacher; but neither of us has, so far, been able to pin point exactly what the connection is.  As you can tell from my blog, I’m very interested in making connections between conducting and the rest of life.  So I’m fascinated to explore it, and thrilled to have the chance to share this particular connection with some convention-goers.

So I’m not going to give you my explanation yet.  Today, I’ll just ask you for your input to see how obvious it is.  I’m looking for feedback from conductors, other musicians, and anyone with an opinion.  Feel free, as you usually do, to post on Facebook or e-mail me, but I also encourage you to post comments here (which fewer of you seem comfortable doing) so that the process can be more inclusive.  

I have to write a session description to be included in the conference program.  Is this description compelling?  Thorough?  Comprehensible?  In short, whaddaya think of this?

Tai Chi for Conductors

In this session, participants will follow a Tai Chi practice session, including a set of movements derived from Tai Chi forms designed to maximize the benefit for conductors.  Each slow movement will provide an opportunity to move energy and examine its effect on the body.  This examination has the potential to create an immediate sense of buoyancy and balance, leaving participants calm and vibrant at the end of the session.  Beyond the convention, regular practice naturally guides towards centering, grounding, and freeing.   The slow, easy movements can be performed in any attire, and participants will be invited to remove their shoes.

Next week, after I get some feedback from you, I’ll post more background to explain and maybe another draft if this one is less than ideal.  

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4 Responses to tai chi for conductors?

  1. enagoski says:

    I know nothing about either conducting or tai chi, but it seems they both are about gesture, posture, and paying attention to what's going on right now.

  2. Amelia NP says:

    Yep, body, breath, and brain. Same combination everything is about.

  3. Steve says:

    Tai Chi's slow, purposeful, meditative movements and its body/mind meld would seem helpful to the physical expression of emotion in conducting. (I am neither a musician nor a conductor but I did study Tai Chi in college in the early 70's.)

  4. Tom Carter says:

    Sounds great, Amelia. I like the description and the generous (and potentially very helpful) process you're going to be sharing.

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