16 steps to being an absolutely epic conductor

Would you like to impress with baton-wielding virtuosity? You could spend years training in a conservatory - or you could give our online cheat-sheet a go, and be a maestro in minutes.

Want to be a conductor? Want to be able to wield immense power with just your facial expression?...
Leonard Bernstein proved you only need a spectacular pair of eyebrows to conduct Haydn.


First of all, get the look

1. You must have amazing curly hair
Epic ringlets look best on the podium. Fact. (Especially when flung around in a scherzo.)

2. Seriously, your hair can't be curly enough

Ladies and gentlemen, get those curlers and blowdryers ready… Mahler 5 is about to begin.

Sir Simon Rattle 

3. The maestro garb

Ill-fitting white tie and tails, concert blacks, or Hillary-Clinton-in-mourning-pant-suit? The sartorial choice is yours... (but shoes are mandatory, sorry Sir Roger).

You're looking good - it's time to practice the moves...

4. It's all about the expressive gestures

Imagine you're regaling friends with a tale about a triumphant day's fishing.

5. Then take it up a notch

The wine glass sniffer - a classic conductor move. Give it a swirl.

6. And finally: eating the intense burrito 

Karajan loved his Mexican food, and this was a typical pose in the Adagio.

 It's time to move this to the concert hall...

7. Know how to make an entrance

Want to look as cool as Jordi Savall? Trumpet, drums, a 17th-century baroque fanfare, cape. And strut.

8. Remember you're the boss

If the audience is talking, just turn off the lights and go for it (it will look very cool).

9. Make sure you point a lot

"I say, you over there, play more music. Jolly good."

10. Choose a section of the orchestra to be disappointed in

It's the trombones. It's usually the trombones.

11. Consider throwing an on-stage tantrum

The quality of stage lighting, coughing in the audience, or the beep of a mobile phone will be good bets.


And now for the fun part: the loud bit at the end.

12. It's the fortissimo finale
This what you've worked so hard for. Arms up, and shout.

Sir Colin Davis (1927-2013): A Life In Pictures 

13. And louder still

Like you've got an urgent message for the trombones.

Gustavo Dudamel 

14. Seriously, scream at the top of your lungs
There are V-I chords everywhere and it's marked ƒƒƒ. Lenny shows us how it's done. 



15. Now comes the applause. The thunderous ovation

They love you. Turn around to bow and acknowledge the ovation in the appropriate manner. 


16. And finally... remember that it's not always a serious job

The Florida Orchestra welcomed their new British conductor with a very special rendition of the US National Anthem...