Dear Maestro Cooper,

Dear Maestro Cooper,

Asked by the Kindergarten class of Ruffner Elementary.

1. Can I be in your band?

Maestro Cooper’s answer:  Anyone who is able to work legally in the US and is a member of the American Federation of Musicians is eligible to try out for the West Virginia Symphony whenever we have a position available. The auditions are always very competitive, often with over 20 very fine players auditioning for a single position.  I also had to audition for my position and I was chosen from among almost 200 conductors who applied.

2. Can I wave your baton?

Maestro’s answer: Waving the baton is not as important as “how” you wave it :-). Some conductors use only their hands, while others have made do substituting a pencil for the baton.

3. Do your arms get tired?

Maestro’s Answer: My arms used to get tired when I first started conducting, although it’s a little like running; you feel much more tired (achy) the day after, than you do while actually doing the activity.  But, just like running, the more you train and practice, the easier it becomes, from a physical point of view. The hardest part of conducting is developing a relationship with the music. This involves a lifetime of study and never feels easy.  But it does become enjoyable and one never gets “tired” of it!