Conductor Rachel Staunton shares 5 leadership tips for in and outside the concert hall.
Thank you to Rachel for sharing these 5 tips.
1. Take a relationship rich approach – We need to call time on the days where the red carpet is laid, maestro waltzes in, may or may not throw a tantrum but generally makes people feel inferior. Let the people you are leading know you care about them as humans, friends, collaborators and colleagues. Conductors need to be flexible, collaborative, inspiring and educating figures whose passion for their art can be shared.
2. There’s no ‘i’ in ‘Choir’- Ok, so actually there is! When you are conducting a choir, you need all the individual voices to feel valued, but your job is also to carefully balance the overall blend and homogeneity of the sound. Remember when you are leading a team that the magic happens when the different voices come together, and the sum of the parts really is greater.
3. The conductor makes no sound – remember that without your team (choir or orchestra) you don’t make a single note.
4. Inclusion starts with you- Up on the podium you have a platform with lots of influential air time. Use your voice and actions to build a better working world for everyone, and work hard to share the power with those whose voices have typically been left out. Your actions and leadership will ripple outwards and can bring about positive change.
5. I’m starting with the (wo)man in the mirror – Musicians intrinsically and naturally mirror a lot of the body language and general vibe of the conductor or leader. Remember to be what you want to see! Happy conductor = happy musicians!
Rachel Staunton is a conductor based in London, UK. She gained a choral scholarship to read music at Royal Holloway, University of London, where she graduated with a first-class honours degree. Since her postgraduate studies in Choral Conducting at London’s Royal Academy of Music, Rachel held the post of vocal director for In Harmony Opera North (Classic FM’s Music Education Project of the Year 2014) and spent several years establishing the Opera North Children’s Chorus. For over a decade Rachel worked as Assistant Director and Conductor with The National Youth Choirs of Great Britain. Something of a choral entrepreneur, Rachel was instrumental in founding the London Youth Choirs (LYC) in 2012. As the Artistic Director of LYC Rachel is passionate about using singing to unlock young people’s potential. She is dedicated to making singing opportunities available to all children, and has a particular passion for working with children who face multiple barriers in life. In 2018 Rachel was made Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, in recognition of her contribution to choral music and work with young people.