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By Bruce Hangen

Learn the essential practices of contemporary conducting. This book will teach you to use the motions, cues, patterns, and practices used to lead ensembles, whether for orchestra, band, musical theater, opera, film orchestra, or other type of ensemble. You will learn techniques for keeping time, signaling musicians, and crafting your unique interpretation of the score, as well as how to command the stage presence necessary to lead a large ensemble—whether for concert performances or synching live performers to other media, such as film, recordings, musical theater, and dance.

Video demonstrations and annotated scores of orchestral excerpts from Beethoven, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and others illustrate and let you practice various conducting challenges, such as cadenzas, rubato, and quickly changing time signatures. Also included are interviews with some of the most accomplished conductors of our time, such as John Williams, Lalo Schifrin, JoAnn Falletta, John Morris Russell, and others, providing perspective from the concert hall podium to the Broadway pit to the Hollywood sound stage.

You will learn to:

  • Conduct in a way that gives your ensemble the support and clarity they need while permitting the necessary freedom required for them to be as expressive as possible

  • Understand your role as a conductor and communicate effectively with your ensemble—during rehearsals, during performance, and generally as their leader

  • Keep effective conducting posture to help you communicate clearly while referencing the score, using an effective field of motion, and maintaining healthy body ergonomics

  • Perform standard beat patterns and their variations, and understand when and how to use them effectively—and when to move beyond standard patterns

  • Run effective rehearsals

  • Analyze scores to develop your own interpretations, and annotate them for easy reference

With his accustomed brilliance, Bruce Hangen has created, in Conducting Music Today, an extremely fresh and illuminating book on the sometimes-mysterious art of orchestral conducting.  Within these pages, in altogether enjoyable prose, lies an invaluable education both for eager beginners as well as tested veterans.

John Williams

Composer/Conductor/Pianist, George and Roberta Berry Boston Pops Conductor Laureate

Bruce Hangen’s astonishing Conducting Music Today is destined to become the single most important conducting manual in the history of our profession. To say it is the most comprehensive study of the art of conducting to date does not do justice to the amazing breadth of Mr. Hangen’s knowledge and experience. With wisdom, humor, humility, and profound insight, the author explores technique, leadership, psychology, repertoire, style, presence, and so much more, ‘demystifying’  the complex and almost inexplicable role of the conductor in a manual that will be of great interest to all musicians. A noble mission, beautifully and compellingly realized!

—JoAnn Falletta

Music Director, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Virginia Symphony; Principal Guest Conductor, Brevard Music Center

Bruce Hangen’s new book about the art of conducting is a valuable down-to-earth common sense guide for all conductors, performers. composers and listeners. Rather than being a guide of how to get the job, it shows the basics of how to do the job!!

Every time Bruce has conducted my music, I have learned something new about how to do it better myself. Now his generosity in sharing his knowledge is reflected for everyone who reads this valuable new book.

—David Amram


Musicianship, technique, leadership/empowerment and successful communication to both ensemble and audience are amongst the most important responsibilities of every conductor. I have observed Bruce Hangen embody this in his own career as a conductor over four decades.  That which he developed through hours of practice and study, resulting in what we might observe as instinctive or natural, has now been set down in Conducting Music Today as a text that will help anyone who aspires to developing those abilities.  This is the best text I have seen on the subject, and it is a measure of Hangen’s dedication to continuing our Art, in an inspiring and informative way.

—Ken Radnofsky

Professor, New England Conservatory; President, Boston Woodwind Society; Founder, Worldwide Concurrent Premieres and Commissioning Fund

Bruce Hangen has written a comprehensive and inspiring guide for conductors of all levels. Not only is he a superb conductor and teacher, he is also a wonderful writer. Maestro Hangen’s book should be required reading at all music schools and conservatories.

—David Kim

Concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra

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