PT5: Study, Singing, and Sincerity, with Gerrit Scheepers

What we intended to be a light conversation about score study quickly turned into a full interview with one of our best choral conductor buddies, in which we explore what we are doing with our lives and our music. Gerrit Scheepers is currently working towards his doctorate at Washington State, and we were so glad that he could take some time to talk with us about singing, study, sincerity, and what he has learned in his time as a conductor. In this episode, we discuss learning from within an ensemble, how to let the music create your gestures, and Luke’s adventures singing Schubert’s 8th Symphony!

Show notes for Episode 5
This week we discuss:

  • Gerrit’s old Skype picture
  • Pamela, our beloved recording software
  • About Gerrit
    • And how to pronounce his name
  • Score Study, regardless of the ensemble
    • Building an aural concept
    • Finding obstacles for the conductor
    • Finding obstacles for the performers
  • Understanding what the ensemble is experiencing
    • “Knowing what are some of the possible sensations that the singers might experience helps a lot in determining what gesture I might be using, or what vocabulary I might be using, or what words I might be using to express what I want or to convey the mood, or what we want as an ensemble from this section.
  • What orchestral conductors may not consider when approaching a score with voices
  • James Jordan’s Evoking Sound
  • Learning from Within the ensemble
    • “Some of the most important things that I’ve learned as a choral conductor is just by watching my mentors; singing in a group, or in a choir, or an ensemble and just watching what works and what does not work.”
  • Luke’s adventures singing Schubert 8
    • “Has anyone ever told you that you have a nice voice?”
  • Sing Everything. Sing the cello part. Sing the oboe line.
    • Internalize the music and how you want it to sound
    • It’s easier to sing than to tell or show them what you want
  • How to let the music create your gestures
    • “Without thinking or telling your body ‘this is how I need to conduct,’ you just naturally conduct what your body was feeling when you were singing.”
    • “The music should be completely part of you…and then from the inside outwards it needs to go to your gesture.”
  • Gerrits score marking
    • Marking the score with purpose and consistency
  • What does it mean to “practice” as a conductor?
    • “Is this relevant?”
  • Conducting lessons vs applied lessons
  • Some wisdom bombs from Gerrit.
  • Pacific, Mountain, Central: Spanning the (Podium) Time Zones
  • Choral conductors looking at an orchestral score

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