PT102: How to be the Most Positive, Encouraging, and Supportive Person in the Room, with Kensho Watanabe

How do we become better conductors? How do we become better people? And how can we be sure that we’re ready to make the most of every lucky chance that we get?

These are the questions we discuss and answer in this interview with conductor Kensho Watanabe. We talk about the most important lessons about music and life that Kensho learned from working under Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and how to apply them to build the habits of excellence and connection in everything that we do.

This week we discuss:

  • Kensho’s path to becoming a conductor, and how having a solid support system is critical when you take the step into a career that’s not guaranteed (02:48)
  • The “lucky breaks” that Kensho took advantage of and how his hard work helped introduce him to Yannick Nézet-Séguin (18:33)
  • How Kensho came to play violin with the Philadelphia Orchestra before he was the assistant conductor, and how much you learn from playing under a conductor rather than just observing (30:15)
  • Lessons about music and having the courage to make your concerts bloom, rather than just confirming the rehearsals (40:23)
  • How Kensho learned from Yannick to be the most positive, encouraging, and supportive person in the room (45:11)
  • How to become better at talking and connecting with people (53:30)
  • Identifying the students that are worth investing in, and how to truly become a better conductor (1:08:25)
  • Hidden Gem and Final Advice (1:24:09)
  • Kensho’s podcast, the Classical Gabfest (1:26:45)

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