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ConductorSchool.com
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Orchestras, Choirs & Bands

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Welcome to the ConductorSchool website

This site provides information about the Saito Conducting Method and conducting workshops given by Wayne Toews.  You will also find resources for instrumental and choral conductors and music teachers .

Authorized copies of the Saito textbook are available. Order your copy now.

Why Study the Saito Conducting Method?

2014 SOA International Saito Conducting workshop information HERE

Click here to contact Conductorschool

Note: I do my best to respond promptly.  If you haven't received a reply within 48 hours please send another message.  Check carefully the E-mail address to which you want me to respond. Recently, several of my responses have bounced back.

Scrapbooks of previous workshops
Click location for photos and information

Click here to read comments from participants in previous workshops

With respect and appreciation we remember Prof. Morihiro Okabe (1922-2008), a great musician and a much loved and admired teacher who, while teaching music, taught us to be better human beings.

The Saito conducting method was developed by Hideo Saito after he analysed the gestures of outstanding conductors in Europe and Japan in the 1920s and 30s.

Saito was a cellist who studied in Germany where he observed the outstanding conductors of that time. He became principal cellist of the new NHK orchestra under founding conductor Joseph Rosenstock. The new orchestra was conducted by famous guest conductors from all over the world. Saito was left wondering why it was easier to follow and make music with some of the conductors and more difficult with others.

Rosenstock, who had admirable technique, became Saito's conducting teacher. Saito came to understand the ways by which gestures elicit and shape music.

Saito was one of the founders of the Toho Gakuen School of Music where he taught the method. Morihiro Okabe, who was in the first conducting class, became Saito's teaching assistant and helped to create a textbook from Saito's teaching notes. Seiji Ozawa and Kazuyoshi Akiyama were early graduates of the conducting program. The method has been refined by Messrs. Okabe and Akiyama. The original text was translated into English by Fumihiko Torigai and edited to include Okabe's revisions by Wayne Toews.  It was published in Tokyo in 1988.

After first studying the method in 1974 in Courtenay, B.C. Wayne Toews traveled to Tokyo in 1983 to study with Morihiro Okabe. Toews used Saito's method in his daily work for more than 40 years and taught it at national and international conventions, in university classes and to private students. He enjoys the reputation as a first rate musician and teacher. He has broad experience with orchestras, choirs, wind ensembles and jazz groups.

 

The animation below demonstrates a fundamental gesture in the Saito method called Shakui (Shah-kwee).

Notice how this swinging motion shows a precise beat point making each beat clear and allowing each to be anticipated with ease. It is an example of an into-point motion. It is made by controlling the acceleration and deceleration of the arm. This gesture can be varied to show different articulations, timbres, subdivisions, and dynamics. In combination with from-point motions it provides conductors with the means to shape musical phrases.

The gesture is predictable, clear and precise at the various tempi. Try it by clicking on the words slow, medium or fast under the diagram.

You can explore other animated gestures by clicking the Resources button in the menu above.

Click here to get the details about the workshops for orchestral, choral and band conductors. The annual workshops that began in 2006 have been outstanding successes. Read HERE.  Join others who want to communicate clearly and musically.

Empower your gestures with clarity and artistry.

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2005 Wayne Toews. All rights reserved.

 

Page revised 11 December 2013