In an age where employment is down and jobs are very hard to come by, we are forced to think more about who we really are and what we believe. I have found that sending my own manifesto, or Credo along with my CV, gives the truest and clearest picture of who I am. When I do this, I can feel confident that I am presenting exactly who I am as a musician and that there is much less of a chance for discrepancy on the part of the reader. They know what they are getting if they hire me. I have also found that this greatly increases my confidence level when applying and interviewing for positions. It also helps when you don't get a position because you can go back to it and remind yourself that the most probable reason you didn't get it was simply because your profile was not what they were looking for. It makes that hit feel much less "personal". Here are a few questions to help you create your Credo:
I see the role of the conductor as one that is two-fold. First, the conductor is a collaborator in the sense that he or she must evoke an environment of collaboration during rehearsal and performance. This environment must be one of discovery, of awe and wonder in the music. It is the job of the conductor to invite the singers or players into the music. This is done less from a pedagogical standpoint and more from a standpoint of agreement between the conductor and the players about what the music itself is asking of them. I truly believe that good technique, clarity of sound and intonation and excellent synchronization are all byproducts of an inherent love for and a deeply rooted relationship with whatever piece is at hand. This is to say that the conductor must create this sense of emotion not only in his or her gestures, facial expressions and other body language, but in the way that he or she communicates verbally about the piece as well. If the players or singers love what they are performing, their labors will be ones that are not done for the conductor or for the audience, but for the motivation of sharing what they love in a true and profound way. Particularly in professional situations but also in others, I don’t feel that it is effective for a conductor to begin from a place of “note-accuracy” and pedagogy. This is not to say that I don’t feel these matters are of extreme importance, but rather it is to say that accuracy and precision are born out of the desire on the part of the conductor and (by default) the players or singers to serve the best interests of the music. Although a conductor is a leader by default, he or she is also very much a servant of music and his or her musical choices must be governed by this notion first and foremost.
Secondly, conductors must be chameleons. They must adapt to whatever environment they are working in. Realistically, the world is not full of professional grade top-notch ensembles. Conductors may find themselves in a wide variety of rehearsal and performance situations. Conductors must possess a sixth sense about this which would help them to work in the most efficient way possible while still accomplishing what is outlined above with any ensemble they may stand in front of. Additionally, choral conductors should not be strangers to the orchestra and orchestral conductors should not be strangers to the chorus. I say this because the idea of musicality is universal and separate from the specific pedagogy of instruments versus that of singers. Hearing counterpoint and hearing harmony as a “chance occurrence” in polyphonic texture is paramount to a conductor’s success. Counterpoint is also universal. No matter what situations conductors may find themselves in, they must always present themselves as leaders, but they must always remain involved with the demands of the music. They must place the score at the center of their process. I know from my own experience that all the answers a conductor may search for are found right there.