3 Motion, Downbeats
I. Posture, Hand and Arm position
1. Stand upright with good singer's posture. Feet shoulder width apart and parallel with each other.
2. Let your arms hand relaxed beside your body then lift them so that the elbows form a 90-degree angle.
3. Next, go to a table or flat surface. Rest your arm on the surface with the palm of the hand facing the surface but not flat. The hand should have the normal slight arch observable when you naturally place your relaxed arm and hand on a table. That is your conducting hand position. Now adopt that hand position as you stand and raise your arms to the 90-degree conducting position. If you are wearing a shirt with buttons make the hand be just to the right of the line of buttons, not directly centered but slightly to the right of center.
The Fingers of the hand should be together but not tightly held together. Again, it should look as relaxed as it did on the table top.
II. Preparatory Beat (visual breath)
1. Adopt good tall conducting posture, raise your right arm to the 90-degree position with the palm of the right hand facing the floor mimicking the slight arch you have when the arm and hand are resting on a table. Make sure the arm/elbow make a 90-degree angle and place the hand slightly right of the center line of your body.
Think of a song that starts on beat one (any meter). Think of the tempo of the song. Prepare to sing the first note. As you take your breath for the first note, raise your arm to shoulder height in tempo and descend back down to the 90-degree point as you sing the first note. Remember the tennis ball exercise to get the even feel of moving the hand and arm at different but smooth speeds. Do this several times at the tempo you chose. Next, change the tempo to a much faster one then a much slower one all the while altering the speed at which your hand rises and falls.
Watch the following videos demonstrating an optimal timing of the preparatory beat:
Watch the following videos demonstrating mistimed preparatory beats:
III. Four, Three and Two Patterns
1. Supple wrist: On each beat, the wrist should be supple- slightly flexible but not floppy. You should feel as if the longest finger is a marker drawing the patterns on a board. If your wrist is locked it becomes almost as difficult to follow as a floppy wrist is. Practice beat one until the beat looks relaxed but still clear.
See the following video on the hand: