in the2006 International Saito Conducting workshop
began to develop the extraordinary technique which
enables them to express their musical ideas with clarity
The workshop used compositions which are rich with
conducting challenges. From the first lesson, students
learned how the motion of their arm elicits sounds.
here to see the first exercise.
of the arm began with a swinging motion to improve
precision and to indicate internal rhythms and subdivision.
Students were taught to make "Into-point"
and "From-point" motions to expand their
technical and expressive capabilities. Training of
the arm was always accomplished in a musical context.
Demonstrations and descriptions facilitated and accelerated
The method provides a comprehensive study of all major
aspects of conducting as a foundation for further
study. Students were challenged to express their own
interpretations and empowered to apply gestural concepts
to new music. Students learned how to make the eight
types of gestures and how to choose those which best
expressed their ideas.
Students received group and individual instruction
from Wayne Toews and Morihiro Okabe. The students
followed a detailed course of study, based upon the
Saito Conducting method textbook, and each was given
a block of time to work with the teachers. Students
also had the opportunity to observe during the lessons
of other students. During the lessons, students conducted
duo pianists who act as the "ensemble" and
who respond accurately and sensitively to the conductor's
gestures. Dianne Gryba and Bonnie Nicholson, who are
two of the finest pianists you will find anywhere,
participated in the workshop. Because of their previous
work with the method they were able to assist in giving
musical and verbal feedback.
recordings were made of all sessions on MiniDV tape
and digitized to produce a DVD for each participant.
workshop began at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 23, 2006
and ended at 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 29, 2006
with a party hosted by Judy and Wayne Toews.
the first evening, participants were treated to
a welcome reception with local musical dinitaries
and members of the Japanese community. Dr. Doug
Thorpe made a presentation to Prof. Okabe on behalf
of the Saskatchewan Orchestral Association.
class viewed video recordings of Joseph Rosenstock,
Hideo Saito and Kazuyoshi Akiyama.
to the co-operation of the Saskatoon Concert Band,
George Charpentier, Director and to local musicians
from the university and the Saskatoon Youth Orchestra
the participants had the opportunity to conduct
a large group.
participants were housed in the Lutheran Seminary,
University of Saskatchewan. The classes were held
in the chapel and a classroom in the Seminary.
Toews and Morihiro Okabe were instructors
were assisted by Kenneth Hsieh who translated for
Prof. Okabe and elaborated on his ideas.
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