Non musicians: you always wondered how the hell an orchesta understands what the conductor means with all his hand movements, amirite?

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Even some musicians don't understand, which I find absolutely absurd. Knowing conducting patterns is quite essential when playing in a concert/marching band or orchestra.

For the most part, they don't mean anything. He is acting as a visual metronome to keep the entire band on beat. Don't get me wrong, there are some gestures but they aren't that hard to interprate. I.e. He may nod or point at a section to qeue them in and if he raises one hand, it means to crescendo (get louder) and to decrescendo(get softer) when he lowers it.

I think they mostly go by pit stains.

It's not too difficult actually.