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Tara's Thoughts on

Kayaking & Conducting


You have to read and anticipate the current and flow of the water, much like thinking ahead in the score.


You have to be with the current.  You exhaust yourself if you try to struggle against the current.


There is no time to get nervous.


The current and whitewater can push you around a lot, but ultimately, if you are confident, you are in control.


When approaching a hole (i.e. a rapid) you cannot fear.  You must trust yourself and keep paddling forward with clear intent.  In conducting, you must always have trust and intent.


If a current pulls you under, just stay calm, roll up, and keep paddling.


The success of your paddling is a result of how much discipline, study, and focus you put into your practice, as is the case with conducting.


Solid technique is a great place to start and a great place to go when you really need it.


You have to be at one with your boat and the water, just as you have to be at one with the orchestra.


Even in the most treacherous places you can find the most overwhelming beauty, as long as you take in the entire landscape.


You have to be nuts to throw yourself at the mercy of nature while in a very little boat, just as you have to be a little crazy to throw yourself at the mercy of a bunch of fellow musicians armed only with a little baton!



The water won’t judge or critique you.  It is just doing its thing.


The current or rapid may pull you under and slam you into a rock, and while it may be unforgiving, it is never personal.

A boat, paddle, and gear costs more than a year’s worth of purchasing scores, a baton, and performance attire.  You do, however, make more purchases from year to year with conducting.


A big hole is a lot less intimidating than facing a new orchestra for the first time.


A kayak floats on water.  An orchestra will not, unless it is on a seaworthy barge.

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