When JoAnn Falletta was a kid, her parents took her to hear an orchestra play. "This is fantastic," she remembers thinking. "I have to be involved in it." She decided that one day, she would lead an orchestra. She would become a conductor.
Falletta was born in 1954. When she was growing up, there were few women conductors. But that did not stop her from chasing her dream.
Big Dreams, Hard Work
Falletta spent long hours practicing guitar. Later, she went to music school. She wanted to study conducting. But some of her teachers worried she would not find a job.
"We don't want you to aim for this difficult profession and not have opportunities simply because you're a woman," she remembers their saying. Eventually, she convinced them that she should have a chance. She now leads three of the world's top orchestras.
Falletta says her parents are a big part of her success. They encouraged her. They never had ideas about what men and women should or should not do for work, she says.
When Falletta became a conductor, she was one of the first women in the world to hold that job. Now there are several women conductors. They have Falletta to thank for leading the way.
A Conductor's Job
A conductor leads the musicians in an orchestra. He or she helps everyone work together to make beautiful music.
Some conductors use a BATON. This makes it easier for musicians to see the conductor's directions.
The conductor's RIGHT HAND is used for keeping time. The conductor waves her hand to the beat in order to keep the musicians playing all together.
The LEFT HAND is used to show other qualities of the music. A conductor can use this hand to tell the musicians that the music should be loud or soft, or that the notes should be long or short.