Conducting vs. Mixing

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I’m in the middle of two big projects right now.

First, RAMChoir – a large, multi-generational, unauditioned TTBB choir that will perform in June after five 90-minute rehearsals.

Second, mixing The Rockford Aces’ fourth album, Get Ready – the culmination of two years of recording with many hours of session and overdub time, and many more hours of rehearsal.

In conducting the RAMChoir, I’m required to be immediately responsive to what I hear – providing feedback and eliciting results quickly and efficiently so that we can stay on track. (There’s never enough rehearsal time, is there?)

In mixing the album, my job is to be equally efficient, but in a more refined way. Mixing errors can be fixed through iteration, and no one gets tired (except me and the engineer) as we pursue the perfect mix.

To me, these represent the perfect yin-yang of experiences. In one, I have to react at once. In the other, I have to constantly refine.

I think all conductors would learn a few things from spending a while in the recording studio. Conversely, all producers could stand to spend a couple of hours running a live rehearsal.

Both will drive you to enhance your ears and your musical skills, but in profoundly different ways. I feel a more complete musician for having both experiences.

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