The identification of conductor-distinguished functions of conducting

Sharyn L Battersby, Kathryn L Simon, Andrew E Shankles, Alan J Gumm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of the present study was to identify whether conductors distinguish functions of conducting similarly to functions implied in previous research. A sample of 84 conductors with a full range of experience levels, large ensemble types, and ensemble age levels rated how much they pay attention to 82 research-derived conducting considerations as they conduct. The subject-to-variable ratio was smaller than advisable for factor analysis, yet the representatively diverse sample provided reliable ratings (α=.95) and factor results that corroborate traditional music-related functions—Mechanical Precision Function and Expressive Function—and nontraditional musician-oriented functions—Motivational Function, Physical Technique Function, Psychosocial Function, and Unrestrained Tone Function. Functions were discovered to divide based on opposing aims to control precise mechanics, musician attention, and musician energy and range of motion versus to release expression, tension and control of tone and tempo, and control of musicians in favor of sharing control with musicians. The six functions bring new clarity to the trends of conducting research and establish a potential new standard for conducting. Future research is needed to evaluate construct validity and determine reliable and valid measures of these six conducting functions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch and Issues in Music Education
Issue number1
StateAccepted/In press - 2011


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