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To Be Out of Control is to be In Control

The Summer Season has arrived and while most conductors rummage through their closets to find their white jackets, I dust off my golf clubs and head to the range!  Having grown up in North Carolina, I held my first golf club at about the time I started piano lessons.  My parents bribed me to go through orthodontic treatment by giving me a series of lessons with Ernie Edwards, the PGA professional at Starmount Country Club, and I have enjoyed the game to varying degrees of success ever since.  My winter season is so intense that I need the release of a summer virtually away from music to recharge my batteries.  This was a method I learned from a teacher of my teacher, Marcel Tabuteau who used to put his oboe in the refrigerator and go fishing for the summer after the Philadelphia Orchestra ended its season.

This GOLF SEASON started with a huge boost, a day long visit with David Armitage at the McLean golf School at the Miami Beach Golf Club.  Barb had a tax seminar in Miami and I went along for the ride.  I literally spent 7 hours with this amazing (and patient!) teacher, working on most aspects of my game.  I came away with any number of things to improve and the results have been most discernable (as in an average of 10 strokes off my score after the several rounds that I have played since this experience).

But one thing David emphasized that I quickly equated to my conducting style was the notion that to be out of control is to be in control.  I have a habit of trying to control every aspect of my swing, when only the first 18 inches of the takeaway are crucial.  From there one really should relax tension and “release.”  As we worked on that concept, I recalled an audition I had lost because the orchestra felt I was trying to control their every move.  Karajan once suggested that conducting a great orchestra is like flying a sophisticated aircraft, “the less you do to disturb it, the better.”  And, apparently, the more one relies on freedom and inertia with one’s golf swing, the better!

“To be out of control is to be in control.”  I like that!  Now I am off to the range to practice