Ted Wilson Reviews the World: Orchestra Conductors
★★☆☆☆ (2 out of 5)
Hello, and welcome to my week-by-week review of the world. Today I am reviewing orchestra conductors.
If you’ve ever been to an orchestra, or seen one in a cartoon, you’ve probably wondered who that guy is rudely standing with his back to the audience, waving his arms, and blocking your view of the musicians. He’s the conductor. Sometimes he’s a she, but very rarely. Men make up a disproportionately large number of existing conductors.
A lot of people wonder what conductors actually do. The truth is, no one really knows. Musicians can still play the music without a conductor, and frankly it seems like a distraction to have someone standing in front of you and waving their arms wildly, vying for your attention. “Hey look at me, look at me!” It’s a bit desperate.
I don’t begrudge the conductors having jobs. Everyone needs a job even if it’s just busy work, like a crossing guard or a doula. I just wish the conductors could do their job off to the side so I could see all the musicians.
And musicians shouldn’t be obligated to look at the conductor. It should be an optional thing. If they want to look at someone gesticulating wildly, there’s one over on the side of the stage. If not, go on about your business playing beautiful music.
Orchestra conductors should not to be confused with train conductors, who only wave their arms when they’re trying to warn someone to get out of the way of the train. If you ever see that happening, look down to make sure you’re not standing on train tracks.
I plan to get a job as a conductor, and for my first performance — right when it’s time for me to start waving my arms around — I’ll instead whip out a tiny folding chair from underneath my tuxedo, sit down, and let the orchestra do their thing while I sit back and watch from the best seat in the house with no one blocking my view.
BEST FEATURE: They wear tuxedos.
WORST FEATURE: They don’t even sing. If you’re going to stand in front of a bunch of musicians on a stage you should be singing.
Please join me next week when I’ll be reviewing botox.