Could you be a conductor?

By Lev Parikian  -  23 April 2015


You’ve always wanted to do it. Be honest.


If you’re in the least bit musical and haven’t ever, at some stage in your life, felt the uncontrollable urge to accompany the Mozart/Beethoven/Tchaikovsky/Wagner/Mahler (oh yes, especially Mahler) playing on your generic MP3 player with a surreptitious waft and an irrepressible sotto voce “daaa-da-da-dummm!”, then I put it to you that you’re an over-firm denier of the first order.

We’ve all done it. You, me, even the Queen. Probably.


But if only there were some sort of test you could take to find out if you’re made of the right stuff, something to help you cut out all those thousands of hours in front of a mirror, sorry I mean years of hard study and just get up there and waggle your magic music-producing arms in time with the sounds emanating from those funnily-dressed people sitting in front of you and looking up at you with rapt attention.

Well now you can. Just take this short quiz to find out where you are on the spectrum:


1. Do you like the sound of your own voice?

A. Of course, and I have many interesting things to say.

B. Well actually it's a bit embarrassing, but the more I talk the more I get used to it.

C. Ugh. I sound awful.

D. I am too important to answer this question.



2. Were people mean to you as a child, and do you like taking it out on large groups?

A. Yes indeed, and it jolly well serves them right.

B. It makes me feel bad, but it's cheaper than therapy.

C. sob How could you be so cruel?

D. I am too important to answer this question.



3. Do you look good in black?

A. Absolutely. Especially silk.

B. I find it slightly unflattering, but am fond of my silver cummerbund.

C. I dislike ostentatious behaviour in all its forms.

D. I am too important to answer this question.



4. Do you like standing on boxes?

A. Yes. A disgusted sneer is so much more effective when delivered from an elevated position.

B. Yes. It helps me overcome my innate feelings of inadequacy caused by my lack of inches.

C. I'd rather hide inside one.

D. I am too important to answer this question. Your impertinence is tending towards the irksome.



5. Can you sing the first movement of Beethoven's Eroica Symphony all the way through from memory?

A. Of course I can. And all the other movements as well.

B. Yes, but you probably don't want to hear it.

C. Errm. Is that the one that goes "da-da-da-daaaaa"?

D. I am too important to answer this question, as I have told you before. My patience is wearing thin.



6. Do you canvass other people's opinions before making a decision?

A. Other people's opinions are mere background noise to be ignored as much as possible.

B. It can be useful to hear other people's points of view, but I like to think I can make the tough calls myself.

C. I prefer to be told what to do.

D. You ask this question of me? Enough! You will talk henceforth to my agent.



7. Do you feel fundamentally superior to other people?

A. What a ridiculous question. Of course I do.

B. I try to give that impression.

C. Oh no. I am of no account whatsoever.

D. Begone, worm!



8. Do you have a large CD collection and a full-length mirror?

A. I have devoted the top two floors of my New York house to them.

B. I do my best on a limited budget.

C. Oh no. I prefer Radio 4, and hate my appearance.

D. Another question? Guards, seize him!



So, how did you do?

Mostly A: Budding Wagger. You show some promise, but need to learn that there's a big difference between talking the talk and actually delivering the goods.

Mostly B: Wannabe Carver. You sort of like the idea, but deep down you know there's no hope.

Mostly C: Hopeless Loser. What are you thinking? Get back to the 2nd violins immediately!

Mostly D: Great Maestro. You've already got it all. Grab your baton and start bossing people around.

PS: If you're a conductor already, don't worry - this was about all the other conductors, not you. You're different.


Read more by Lev here 

About Lev Parikian

Conductor of many orchestras throughout the UK, Lev is also well known as a writer of his blog 'Runny Thoughts' and his hit novel 'Waving not drowning'

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