Advanced Patterns

Many of these patterns can be used with the basic patterns to help with phrasing and/or dynamics. These patterns are all based on the four beat pattern, however they place less importance on the focal point, the rebound and other proper conducting guidelines. We've taught you the basic rules; here is how to bend them.

In the Flash movies below, the patterns are shown slowed down to make them easier to follow.

The Down-Down-Reverse-Around Pattern

The down-down-reverse-around pattern.

This is the 'down-down-reverse-around' pattern. The first two beats are simple downbeats, but the third beat rebounds in a circle towards the outside. The circle continues around until beat four. At beat four, give a flick of the wrist at the focal point (your hand should be there) and rebound up.

This pattern has a weak fourth beat. It is very useful in conducting the last half note on the last two beats of a measure. This pattern is good for building up to a new phrase or as part of a dynamic change. This pattern is generally not used over and over, but instead only as needed.

This movie shows the pattern described above.

The Down-In-Out-Up Pattern

The down-in-out-up pattern.

The' down-in-out-up' pattern is a variation on the four pattern. The first beat is a normal down beat. The second beat comes down, hits the focal point and goes across the chest at a 45 degree angle. The third beat retraces the second beat's path across the chest, hits the focal point and veers out at another 45 degree angle, this time away from the body. The fourth beat come back to the focal point and rebounds up. The pattern looks like a down pointed arrow .Be mindful of keeping the focal point and using your arm rather than the wrist.

Softening the sharp arrow into more free swinging pattern is great for just that: swing beats. This can be done by turning the 45 degree angles into slight curves (the arrow will look more like an anchor).

This is a difficult pattern to mirror the hands on since the hands would both come in towards the chest on beat two and possibly hit each other. Even if they don't touch, the proximity of the two hands could cause the conductor to slow beat two and speed up beat three to compensate, and thus mess up the tempo.

Watch Kate doing a down-in-out-up pattern! Notice how she accents the last beat with her left hand.
Down-in-out-up pattern

This is the 'down-in-out-up' pattern.

The Thump Pattern

The thump pattern.

The 'thump' pattern is good for very fast music. The first beat comes to the focal point at an angle. The second beat slides in on a plane with the focal point. The third beat slides back across the focal plane to where the first beat ended. The fourth beat retraces the first beat back up. The pattern doesn't rebound, but still accentuates all the beats, hitting the first beat especially strongly (freeze on beat 1 for a moment).

This pattern is mostly wrist movement (because of the fast speed). Because your hands go in, watch out that your arms stay apart (or your hands will run together and mess up the tempo).

Never use this pattern to change tempo.

This is the 'thump' pattern illustrated above.

Moving Focal Points

In these next patterns, the focal point moves. These patterns are very expressive in nature, serving to not only keep time but to also guide the musicians through phrasing. They are good patterns for conducting musical ensembles other than a marching band. They can be used in that capacity, however due to the nature of the marching band and marching band music, rarely will a drum major or field commander find these patterns as useful, or as effective as another more structured pattern.

Moving focal point pattern

This is another four pattern. This is a larger pattern, one good for moderate and slow music. Beat one comes down and, instead of rebounding up, goes across the chest, curving up (think 'over a hill' ) and down (think 'into a valley') then hangs a bit at beat two. The right hand then slides in a long curve into beat three which is out, away from the body on the other side of the conductor. Beat four slides in and up to prepare for beat one.

DO NOT MIRROR HANDS, at least for the entire pattern. (Crossing hands is a no-no.)

If you want to use the left hand, only use it for beats three and four. After beat four drop the left hand to your side or stomach to leave room for the right hand, which will shortly be crossing your body.

This is a pattern good for more formal groups, orchestras, choirs, and symphonic bands. This pattern can be used in marching band for, say, a ballad.

Legato pattern

The legato pattern is another four pattern. It is good for legato music with soaring phrases.

When conducting, this expressive pattern uses only the right hand (don't mirror). The pattern is similar to the above pattern in that it crosses the body for beat two and extends away from the body on beat three.

The wrist is much more relaxed for this pattern. From beats two to three the wrist leads, 'pulling' the pattern out. The wrist leads again from three to four, 'pulling' the pattern up.

The size of the pattern is fairly large since most legato music has a slow or moderate tempo.

A marching band conductor would most likely never use this pattern on the field. This is another pattern which is suited better for symphonic bands, vocal groups and orchestras.

Watch Kate doing a legato pattern!
Legato pattern

This movie shows the above four pattern variation in action.