Of conducting and communicating

Recently I observed a few minutes of rehearsals and a concert led by a very fine conductor — Dr. Scott A. Jones.  I would say he’s the best conductor I’ve observed in 2-3 years.  He was clearly a good musician, had a pleasing demeanor, and when he addressed the audience of parents, friends, and educators, his words were eloquent, sincere, and gracious.  I admired all of this.

When he conducted, Dr. Jones moved in a way that reflected the musical content.  This holistic kind of communication from the conductor’s podium is surprisingly rare — and something I expend great effort to reflect in my own work.

Yet not everything about Jones’s communication was clear.  The reason?  his attire — which was sharp, but nevertheless a hindrance!  The basic problem was simple:  he wore a white shirt, and the baton shaft was also white.  (Imagine if I used an off-white font color on this blog that has an off-white background!)  It was very difficult to see the baton from some angles, and this factor hindered some of his musical communication.


Dr. Scott A. Jones with Wyoming All-State Band, January 2015


Now, I’ve worn light-colored shirts on the podium before.  Sometimes there are other factors that influence these decisions.  (Am I meeting with an administrator prior to rehearsal?  Attending a funeral?)  Truth be told, the white background was probably less a negative factor for Dr. Jones on the first day of his rehearsals, because many of the students were likely buried in their sheet music instead of focused on the conductor in the early stages.  On the second day of rehearsal, Jones did wear a darker color.  And, at the concert, he wore all black — a better, contrasting choice when one considers the communicative goals of the white-shafted baton.

The point here:   the things we do can get in the way of important communication.

Every time I try to teach something — whether it’s in a college music class or a Bible class or something more mundane than either of those — there’s probably something that keeps my intended message from coming across.

~ ~ ~

Let’s say, for sake of discussion, that God loved the world.

Let’s say, further, that He wanted to communicate that love.  How might God have gone about that?

What would God do with communicative vehicles in order to make the messages come across in the most effective ways?  Would God intentionally insert communication barriers (or allow any such impediments to remain in place), when another way was possible in the human sphere?

Much of this month’s blog material is specifically and directly about scripture — which I take as God’s primary and most reliable (but not only) way of communicating.  It is my sincere hope that you and I will grow together in some way, having some light shed that in a corner that might have been previously dim.

2 thoughts on “Of conducting and communicating

  1. Dad 02/01/2015 / 9:45 pm

    “Leadership,” “direction,” and “conducting”—when combined with “communication” that makes the first three alive, inspiring, and appreciated—are worth writing about. And the writing you did about them is not only appropriate but also equally stimulating.

    Dad, who will follow with a connected message


    • Brian Casey 02/02/2015 / 9:09 am

      This is great to hear, Dad. Of course you know those topics (all related to teaching) are very much related to my aspirations and activities. I also appreciated your private message about Tom’s good leadership, and the good content used as he directed yesterday!


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