Conducting the Music, Not the Musicians
Conducting the Music, Not the Musicians by Jerry Nowak and Henry Nowak

Published 2002 by Carl Fischer, New York, NY; 269 pp.
ISBN 0-8258-4244-1 ($75.00)

Available at all print music retailers.

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Jerry and Henry Nowak’s
Conducting the Music, Not the Musicians is designed to focus on musical expression as
it introduces basic technique through the concept of phrase conducting.  In addition, cueing within the beat pattern
is examined in detail.  The examples and exercises progress to guided practice,  chorales, and etudes, and finally
to full score rehearsal and guided performance.  Many of the concepts conveyed in the text are directly from the  
teachings of Pablo Casals (Henry Nowak) and Lucien Cailliet (Jerry Nowak).  The emphasis is always on the
conducting gestures as a way to reflect and convey an understanding of the music.  Our internal imagery of the
music should have all the appropriate phrase inflection needed for an expressive performance.  That way, singing
and playing of the music, and the conducting gestures will all be meaningful.
The concepts and teaching methods in this text have been used and optimized in over twenty years of conducting instruction by Jerry Nowak.  Jerry has
taught conducting at the undergraduate level (Bucks County Community College) and the master level at universities in the U.S. and Australia.   He has
taught for many years at the
Villanova Summer Music Institute (second only to the Vandercook College of Music as the largest provider of graduate
music training courses for educators) and at the Australian Band and Orchestra Directors’ Association, where in 2003 the
Jerry Nowak Conducting
Summer School
was named in his honor.


"Using the Nowak brothers’ conducting book was a real boon to me and my conducting students.  They raved about the wealth of information and the
logic of the presentation.  I know of no other conducting method that transcends basic material and stick technique as this does.  The musical examples
gave an overview of all styles.  Most importantly, this book offers the student an understanding of the elements of style, phrasing and interpretation like
no other conducting manual.”

---Lawrence Wagner (Professor Emeritus, Temple University and former member, Philadelphia Orchestra)

"I highly recommend the book by Jerry and Henry Nowak.  It is much more than just another ‘conducting’ text.  It covers in great depth all the subjects with
which a conductor needs to be conversant and it does so in a way that makes the book suitable as a group text while at the same time being a
magnificent resource for an individual.”

--Russell G. Hammon (President and Musical Director, The Australian Winds)

“Jerry and Henry Nowak’s new conducting book is the first book to begin with the concept of ‘conducting the music…’ from the very first exercises.  Even
though basic beat patterns are a foundation, conducting phrase, dead beats and musical nuance are the priority.  The exercises and etudes can be
used in any size and combination of vocal/instrumental conducting classes.  I highly recommend a look into what this book has to offer.”

--Dr. Michael P. Schaff (Associate Professor of Music, The Crane School of Music, State University of New York at Potsdam)

“I have found the Nowak brothers’ approach to be extremely practical and eminently useful for us in virtually any school music ensemble setting from
beginning ensembles through high school.  Their approach focuses on the artistic nature of conducting and allows conductors to develop their craft in a
way that more clearly conveys the style and structure of the musical line to the students in the ensemble.  I find this text and the approach used in it to be
the best that I have seen.”

--Dominic Ferrara IV (Director of Bands, Lenape Valley Regional High School, Stanhope, New Jersey)

“It wasn’t until your class that I was given the correct tools and techniques for conducting at the level I desired.  It’s not just about the pattern and beating
time.  The Nowak brothers’ book gave me the knowledge to express the music and convey it in the manner in which I would play my own instrument.  I
feel very confident now and conducting is one of my favorite events of the day, even with ninety seventh graders in front of me.  This book is essential for
all college students entering the field of music education.”

--Stephanie Gralow (Band Director, Northport-East Northport School District, Northport, New York)

"I attended the Jerry Nowak Conducting Summer School in 2006 and view the experience as one of the most rewarding, satisfying and inspiring musical
highlights of my life.  I learned more in the introduction day than I did in two years of conducting studies during my music degree!  As someone with
previous conducting experience, I was amazed how much Jerry's course was able to cater to my development alongside people who had never held a
baton before. The two week course was extremely intensive and exhausting, however, amid all our homework I had time to make many lifelong friends,
network with other musicians/conductors, and create opportunities beyond the course.  Since completing the course, I have implemented the new skills
and ideas into my current bands and ensembles and have a new conducting job with Canberra Youth Music.  Jerry and the amazing ABODA staff have
inspired my passion for conducting, which I will continue to pursue in my musical career."

--Wyana Etherington (Ensemble and Band Director, Canberra Combined Grammar Schools Co-Curricular Program; Director, Canberra Youth Music
Concert Band)

"I have been rehearsing my bands since attending your course and have noticed a huge difference in the music.  I don't stop for wrong notes anymore
but stop to fix phrasing ideas, pulse, note groupings, dynamic range and contrast etc.  I have found this keeps the whole band more interested and
focused while still letting them correct those wrong notes.  They have also started watching because I learned to demand that I lead and they follow. It
took some practice but they don't go anywhere until that baton moves.  It's awesome when you stretch beats and bring emotion to the music, especially
in legato sections and they actually do it, lately without even rehearsing it!  The best thing is that they actually notice it too and realise they are making a
massive difference.  Thanks Jerry, I grew significantly as a musician in the two weeks I spent with you."

--Andre Bourgault (St Stephen's School, Duncraig, Perth, Western Australia)

"Jerry Nowak's summer conducting course in Sydney was the best thing that ever happened to my conducting.  In a short amount of time, he was able to
bring out the musician in me, through my hands; it's heartening to know that I am now showing in my conducting what I've always wanted to show.  I am
involved with strings, 3rd Grade through 12th, and have found that I am applying Jerry's ideas continually.  All ages are interested in a phrase when it has
direction and musicality.  Jerry and ABODA members work most effectively together as a team, because they encourage, support, help teach and most
importantly, are fun, too. This is a course I hope to be able to take again."

--Suzanne Reeves (Strings Teacher, Grade 3 - 12, Taiwan)


Excerpted from “Strings Magazine”, August/September 2002, No. 104

“Passing the Baton…New textbook brings clarity to the art of conducting” By Gabe Sakakeeny

“Conducting has become a lost art.  Most lay people and, surprisingly, even most musicians are at a loss when asked to describe the characteristics of
good conducting.  Beyond vague comments about "good stick technique" and mystical attributes like musical authority, vision, charisma, élan, and
gravitas, there is little that even experienced musicians can say about the source of the effectiveness of good conductors.  Even master conductors have
a difficult time explaining what is at the source of their effectiveness.  This fundamental ignorance has led to charlatanism among conductors, cynicism
and resignation among players, and really bad decisions in the boardrooms of orchestras.”

“Conducting the Music, Not the Musicians (Carl Fischer, 2002) is a college-level textbook that brings clarity to the art of conducting.  The authors, Jerry
and Henry Nowak, provide a step-by-step approach to learning the elements of the conductor's art that actually make a difference on the podium.  Unlike
Max Rudolf's classic The Grammar of Conducting: A Comprehensive Guide to Baton Technique and Interpretation (Schirmer, 1993), which focuses on
the gestural lexicon of conducting, or Eric Leinsdorf's The Composer's Advocate (New Haven; 1981; out-of-print), which advocates the establishment of
musical authority through superior knowledge and discipline, the Nowaks take the point of view that the conductor's job is to 'motivate and inspire the
members of the ensemble to strive for the highest level of musical performance that is possible at their current level of ability.'
“This philosophy places motivation and inspiration at the source of effectiveness.”

“The path to motivation and inspiration, say the brothers Nowak, is through clearly and eloquently conducting the phrases of the music.  This perspective
stems from their teachers, Pablo Casals and Lucien Cailliet, both proponents of using the power of internal imagery to shape the external performance
gestures needed for an expressive performance.  This approach is distinct from influencing musicians through domination, demonstration of
consummate musicianship, telling clever and engaging stories, or employing other purely verbal means.  Said another way, we work on being and
expressing the musical phrases so clearly that the musicians find themselves naturally creating the phrases with us.”

“Hence the title Conducting the Music, Not the Musicians.”

“This teaching method introduces a series of clear linguistic and musical distinctions that give a contextual framework for talking about and learning the
conductor's art.  The book is organized as a curriculum of graded lessons consisting of concepts, technical information, and ensemble application
exercises.  The authors have composed or arranged instrumental and vocal chorales and etudes that provide musical examples for the student to use
in practicing and executing the concepts and skills being taught.  These short examples accompany each unit of study and are appropriate for beginning
and high-school orchestra, band, and chorus. Transpositions and orchestrations are supplied to allow any combination of instruments to realize the
score, making these exercises perfect for use in conducting classes.”

“In addition to the expected and well-designed units on beat patterns, dynamics, articulations, asymmetric meters, left-hand basics, and so on—each
with their own ensemble applications of chorales and etudes—the authors provide insightful materials for studying a wide range of topics germane to
the working conductor.  Over 100 pages of the 480 in the book are devoted to aesthetic perception, imagery, phrasing models, score preparation,
ensemble balance, aleatory music (music that incorporates elements of chance in its structure), jazz, and rehearsal technique.”

“What is not dealt with, except tangentially, are the skills, perspectives, and abilities in the area of leadership, management, and self-mastery that are
essential for a conductor to function at a professional level.  A master teacher will be required to learn the art of conducting, as in any other instrument.
This book is designed primarily for music-school graduates who are training themselves to work with students in primary- and secondary-school
educational ensembles.”

Excerpted the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE) Newsletter, Volume XVII, Number 4:

Leon J. Bly’s Review of Conducting the Music, Not the Musicians

"This is a most extensive one volume text designed for teaching classes of conducting students. The aim is on musical expression and presents
technique through the concept of conducting phrases.  Many of the ideas conveyed in the text are derived from the teachings of Pablo Casals, with whom
Henry Nowak worked extensively for several years, and Lucien Cailliet, one of Jerry Nowak's teachers.  The emphasis in the text is always on the
conducting gestures as a means of reflecting and conveying the music.  One the most important concepts here is having the student conductor develop
an internal imagery of the music.”

"The text is divided into three sections - phrase conducting, study materials, and two page instrumental etudes. It is the second part, which is studied
simultaneously with the first, that is particularly unique to this book with chapters on such concepts as aesthetic perception, imagery, phrasing, jazz
styling, aleatoric music, and preparing the score.  Because Jerry Nowak is a composer of over eight hundred compositions, the text is full of excellent
conducting exercises intended to deal with every type of problem.  The exercises, which progress from  simple one line phrases to full score etudes, can
be performed with any size and combinations of instruments. Anyone looking for a new approach to teaching a class of conducting students, or simply
seeking a more comprehensive text, should seriously consider this book.”                
Copyright © 2005 Jerry Nowak.  All rights reserved.