Graham Nasby's Online Resources


Ten Golden Rules for Conducting

Ten Golden Rules For the Album of a Young Conductor

  1. Remember that you are making music not to amuse yourself, but to delight your audience.
  2. You should not perspire when conducting: only the audience should get warm.
  3. Conduct Salome and Elektra as if they wer ebe Mendelssohn: Fairy Music.
  4. Never look encouragingly at the brass, except with a brief glance to give an important cue.
  5. But never let the horns and woodwinds out of your sight. If you can hear them at all they are still too strong.
  6. If you think that the brass is now blowing hard enough, tone it down another shade or two.
  7. It is not enough that you yourself should hear every word the soloist sings. You should know it by heard anyway. The audience must be able to follow without effort. If they do not understand the words they will go to sleep.
  8. Always accompany the singer in such a way that he can sing without effort.
  9. When you thin you have reached the limits of prestissimo, double the pace.
  10. If you follow these rules carefully you will, with your fine gifts and your great accomplishments, always be the darling of your listeners.


  • This page originally existed as part of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra website (, sometime from 1995-2001?. However the site went offline sometime after that.
  • This text was originally written by Richard Strauss around 1922 as "Tne Golden Rules for the Album of a Young Conductor". Since then it has been published in numerous books, including Harold Schonberg's "The Great Conductors"s in the Strauss chapter.

Last updated: January 14, 2006