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This book is the best resource on conducting. You must have a small knowledge of technique, but thankfully this book is not about that. It's about how to interpret, prepare, and rehearse scores like a pro in the most efficient way possible. Meier has an extensive system of shorthand notation that occur throughout the book. These notations can be applied to any score you are going to conduct, and if you gain familiarity with his notation, you will be able to save hours of time in rehearsal and also in independent practice. The amount of time it takes to learn the shorthand is very minimal, and it will save you maximal amounts of time. Here are the best sections of the book in my opinion and why:
Preparatory Beats - while anyone who has studied conducting technique will find this trivial, there are example preparatory beats of almost every type, from recitative, to huge orchestral tutti, to solo instruments. This book has them all written out in score form, cited, and explained. Meier explains why the passages are prepped the way they are, and additional suggestions on certain passages. His system of notating how to beat these passages is confusing at first, but if you use your logic, you will begin to understand very quickly that it is a very efficient and helpful notation. These notations can even be marked in the score.
Score Preparation - This is the most important activity a conductor can spend his/her time on. Meier has an entire method on how to mark scores with regard to phrasings, orchestration, important parts, which instruments should be cued and which ones can function on their own. If you follow his advice, you will be able to conduct some of the more difficult scores in a fraction of the time you would have spend trying to memorize these things. He shows you how to look through the score and pick out what is worthy of marking. and how to gain familiarity with any score. Score prep saves so much time in rehearsal, and also is the quickest way to memorize the piece.
Cues - This book is worth buying just from the section on cuing. Meier has a system of diagrams that will tell you as the conductor what instrument should be cued at a certain time. Once you mark these in the score, you will have no problem cuing instruments at the perfect time. Please study his shorthand diagrams, they will help you power through a score and they will make marking new scores so much easier.
Rehearsal - The section on "The Zig Zag Way" is also a great chapter, and has more Meier shorthand for ease of use. This section is the only section that requires external information, as it outlines how pieces should be conducted. To get the most out of this chapter, I recommend buying one of the scores from Dover publications. Meier covers Beethoven Symphony #2, Beethoven's Eggmont Overture, Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, Bartok's Concerto for ORchestra, Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet Overture, and Copland's Appalachian Spring Suite. Meier shows you how these scores should be marked up, conducted, and rehearsed. It's a great section if you have the score to even one of the pieces.
All in all this book is great to improve the efficiency of your time spent in front of the orchestra. It is NOT a substitue for a private teacher, or any amount of orchestral rehearsal sessions. It is a supplement that will allow you to make the most of your home practice and study. If you mark up your scores with Meier's shorthand, and learn them by heart with this book, when you step in front of the orchestra, you will feel more confident and will have a way more efficient rehearsal.