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Leonard Slatkin will teach you to be a conductor, for free

Slatkin is the music director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
Leonard Slatkin
Slatkin is the music director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

If you've ever looked at a symphony conductor waving their arms around and thought, "I could do that," here's your shot.

World-renowned conductor and Detroit Symphony music director Leonard Slatkin will teach a free, monthly conducting course on YouTube and his website.

“You’ve been driving along in the car,” Slatkin says in the trailer. “A tune comes on. You start tapping your fingers against the steering wheel. Maybe you start humming along. And some of you might actually start doing this,” he says, gently waving his right hand, holding an imaginary baton. “You’re conducting. You didn’t know it, but that’s what you’re doing. What I’m going to do is teach you how to do this."


“No, it’s not rocket science. In some ways, it’s harder. But in some ways, the basics are understood by everyone. I think this series will be educational, entertaining, fun, and instructional.

“And I hope by the time we finish, you will all be seasoned conductors, each capable of becoming honorary music directors of the Detroit Symphony.”

According to his website, Slatkin’s courses will cover “the history of the baton, to explaining how to beat time and what to do with the left hand,” and is “designed to bring you closer to unlocking the secrets of the podium.” 

The first video lesson drops Saturday.

Kate Wells is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently covering public health. She was a 2023 Pulitzer Prize finalist for her abortion coverage.
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