Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2007-2008 (archived)

Module MUSI40130: Conducting

Department: Music

MUSI40130: Conducting

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2007/08 Module Cap


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • This module provides advanced training in the theory and practice of conducting music ensembles.


  • This module involves the development of both practical and theoretical skills necessary to become a competent conductor. Students will be able to work with a range of ensembles. Specialisation will be encouraged (for example, in the fields of woodwind, brass or percussion). The following areas will be covered:
  • Study of rehearsal and performance techniques (with use of video for feedback)
  • Stick technique and body language
  • Section rehearsal technique
  • The arts of accompaniment and balancing textures
  • Score analysis, preparation and marking-up
  • Critical evaluation of performances (including comparison of live and recorded performances)
  • Communication skills
  • Rehearsal planning and scheduling
  • Writing programme notes
  • Masterclasses will be scheduled at key points during the first two terms. Students are also required to attend a range of concerts.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will understand the practical and creative issues involved in the realisation of ensemble works and acquire the key skills necessary to achieve these outcomes.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will be able to rehearse and perform works for a range of music ensembles, from the initial sages of organisation to their final interpretation in a concert environment or recording studio.
  • The ability to read and prepare scores, plan and arrange rehearsals, and convey creative intentions interactively through stick gestures and verbal communication.
Key Skills:

    Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

    • A range of modes of teaching and learning are required to achieve the learning outcomes. The 'marking' up of scores involves a study of the special techniques that have been developed for conducting through group tutorials and directed study of the available literature.
    • The planning of rehearsals requires the acquisition of practical and theoretical skills in terms of both organisation and delivery through individual instruction and peer observation of live rehearsals in a seminar environment.
    • The art and practice of conducting requires one to one instruction working with a live ensemble, studying hand co-ordination, body language, eye contact and the use of aural perception.
    • The processes of teaching and learning are extended through the use of video recording facilities, allowing the development of conducting techniques to be to be evaluated critically from the viewpoint of the performer.
    • The nature of the module ensures that a significant element of formative feedback is built into the week by week delivery of the module.
    • The summative assessments ensure that the theoretical knowledge and practical skills are assessed, in the case of the former by means of written components and in the case of the latter via a specified rehearsal period and concert performance of set pieces.

    Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

    Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
    Tutorials 9 Fortnightly 1 hour 9
    Seminars 9 Fortnightly 1 hour 9
    Practicals 10 Fortnightly 2 hours 20
    Preparation and Reading 262
    Total 300

    Summative Assessment

    Component: Essay Component Weighting: 25%
    Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
    Essay 2000-2500 words 100%
    Component: Marked-up score with rationale Component Weighting: 25%
    Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
    Marked-up score with rationale 1000 words 100%
    Component: Final Performance Component Weighting: 50%
    Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
    Final Performance 20 minutes 100%

    Formative Assessment:

    Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University