Stubbed Toes in the Music

If you stub your toes more than once or twice in the same spot, it’s likely you put the dresser in the wrong place.

Sometimes as conductor you come across spots that your choir just can’t seem to lock.

It’s tempting in those moments to tell your singers to work harder, listen more, fix it! You think, if I were a better conductor, it wouldn’t be an issue. If my singers were better, if they were more diligent, if I taught them more effectively. And on, and on.

But consider – perhaps you’re just stubbing your toes on poorly laid-out furniture. Even in well-written music, you can find chaises that need adjustment. Even in works from compositional masters, you can find out-of-place ottomans.

Don’t neglect all the other reasons why a trouble spot exists, but also don’t ignore the fact that it might be inherent in the music. (Or due to a combination of the two, like a basketball player in a room with a low-hanging chandelier.)