Twelve quotations attributed to Robert Shaw

1. I am amazed again and again how the mastery of successive minute technical details releases floods of spiritual understanding.

2. Bad rhythm is as bad as bad pitch. No amount of good will can substitute for good sense.

3. Forte singing wipes out the work on detail.

4. There is no such thing as being 5% flat. You are either right or wrong. It’s like a pregnancy test.

5. A diminuendo should include a marked increase in psychological tension.

6. When you crescendo, begin quietly. Learn to crescendo without change of color. Change dynamic without changing the tempo.

7. Make every departure from tempo conscious and unanimous.

8. Crescendo the phrase, not just the note. You must either crescendo or diminuendo; never remain static.

9. There is nothing but fundamentals, so we all learn to block and tackle.

10. Be careful of intonation on a descending line.

11. The arts, like sex, are too important to leave to the professionals.

12. In a time when religious and political institutions have denied themselves or lost the capacity to motivate people to mankind’s advancement, the arts remain the greatest heritage and stimulus to an advancement of the human species, to further generations of evolution.

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