Conductors share reasons for pursuing profession

Posted on: July 22, 2009

In Tuesday’s (7/21) edition of the online magazine Miller-McCune , Tom Jacobs writes, “In movies, orchestra conductors tend to be portrayed as egomaniacs. But a new study of why certain musicians gravitate to the podium suggests a very different set of motivations are at play. In an article just published in the journal Psychology of Music, Ioannis Makris of the School of Higher Pedagogical and Technological Education in Greece reports on a survey of 101 orchestral conductors. They were presented with 92 possible motives for entering their profession and asked which of them reflected their own views. ‘The motives most strongly evoked were the ones linked with emotions and emotional needs,’ Makris reports. Of 24 potential motives published in the paper (a representative sample), the one most enthusiastically endorsed was: ‘One of the reasons for which I am an orchestra conductor is that it allows me to feel as one with my orchestra.’ Also rating very high were ‘it allows me to make the audience feel strong emotions’; ‘it allows me to feel the composer’s feelings’; ‘it is a permanent challenge’; and ‘it gives me intense joy.’ On the other hand, statements such as ‘it gives me an important social position’ and ‘it allows me to meet important people’ were at the bottom of the list.”

Posted July 22, 2009