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TRUST: The Relationship between the Conductor and the Ensemble

Re-published from 2014

I recently came across this video featuring Alya Titarenko and Gael Ouisse, two dancers from Cirque du Soleil. I was amazed at the beauty these two shared in their movements. I was mesmerized by the grace and fluidity with which they anticipated and responded to each other’s subtle nuances. The narration speaks of their trust and the need for them to completely rely on one another as they quite literally put their lives in each other’s hands on a regular basis. As I watched (for about the 4th time…), I began to think about the trust between a conductor and his or her ensemble. A teacher and his or her students. Beauty in artistry is not an accident. Beauty in artistry requires hard work, time, and dedication.

In the case of these dancers, it most definitely requires trust.

In our classrooms, trust is equally important. The students must trust their conductor. They must have confidence that their teacher and conductor is prepared and knows the repertoire. They must be confident that the conductor knows them, knows their abilities and knows their potential. The student must also trust that the conductor/teacher has prepared them to successfully execute everything they have rehearsed.

However, trust is never one-sided.

We, as educators and conductors, must put our trust in our students.

We must be confident that they will respond to the baton.

We must believe fully that they will execute what we have taught them.

We must be confident that we have prepared them to create something beautiful.

It is not enough for our students to simply trust us; we, too, must trust our students.

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