In this chapter you will learn to lead the group through gradual and sudden tempo modifications while maintaining ensemble unity and precision. A famous conductor once quipped that his job was really not too difficult: “You must give a good preparatory beat to get the musicians started together, and then be sure you stop when they do!” The humor contains an element of truth from the musicians’ viewpoint: a conductor is hardly needed in many compositions after he or she establishes the tempo. For example, once you start a march, you can stop conducting altogether without harming the performance too much. However, players depend most on a conductor’s strong leadership when the tempo changes suddenly or fluctuates gradually, as in transitional passages and accompaniments.