Contact a Humanities Office or Academic unit.
Find your course outlines.

MUSIC 4OI3 Adv Conducting: Instrumental

Academic Year: Winter 2016

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Rachel Rensink-Hoff



Phone: 905-525-9140 x

Office Hours: by appointment

Course Objectives:

Course Objectives

To refine conducting technique;

To develop skills in score preparation and rehearsal technique.


Baton Technique:              clarity and style, odd meters, changing meters and tempi, sub-division.

Score Preparation:              analysis, marking, interpretation.

Right & Left Hand:             co-ordination and independence

Body Language:                          facial and bodily gesture

Rehearsal Technique:            preparation, pedagogy

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Required Course Materials

  • Hunsberger, Donald & Roy Ernst (1991) The Art of Conducting (2nd ed.) New York, N.Y.: McGraw Hill.
  • Labuta, Joseph (2010) Basic Conducting Techniques (6th ed.) Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall.
  • Erasable coloured score marking pencils: Blue, Red, Green, Yellow (Orange, Light Green, Black).
  • A baton
  • An instrument in every class.

Method of Assessment:

Course Details

This course will run primarily as a lab.  Members of the class can expect to conduct almost every week.  Those who prepare thoroughly and attend each class will benefit the most from this hands-on course. Because it is intended that each participant develop a range of gestures that are flexible, creative and applicable to many musical situations, it is expected that you video-record all in-class conducting for purposed of completing self-reflections throughout the term. It is also expected that for ALL conducting assignments, you are working from a marked score.


Evaluation (see dates under "Topics and Readings")

            Conducting (preparation & progress)                                    50% 

            Rehearsal Preparation (marked scores, rehearsal plans)            15%

            Project Score Study                                                            15%

Self Evaluations                                                                        15%

            Active participation as an ensemble member in class                        5%


The evaluation of your conducting will focus on three areas of increasing complexity:

Gestural Technique...that is clear and expressive

Demonstrated Awareness...of dynamics, phrasing, tempo, articulation, texture, accompaniment, tone colour, contrasts the ensemble through active listening and appropriate diagnosis.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Late written assignments will be penalized 20% up to five days, after which the assignment will not be accepted. Any in-class conducting assignment that is missed without prior consultation with and approval of the instructor will be penalized 20% up until the following class, after which the assignment will no longer be able to be completed.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:



Jan. 6        

Body Awareness & Coordination, Baton grip

Preps, Cues, Releases

Review of Patterns (Hunsberger Ch. 1, 2, 3)




Jan. 11, 13, 18

Conducting #1. Entrances on Other Beats

(Hunsberger 6.4, 6.6, 6.9, 6.10 Labuta 4.4, 4.5)

  Record your session. Submit online self-evaluation 1 within one week.



Jan. 20, 25, 27          

Conducting #2. Left & Right-Hand Independence

(Hunsberger 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.5, 4.7 Labuta 9.4, 9.9, 9.10)

Record your session. Submit self-evaluation 2 within one week.



Feb. 1, 3, 8                                   

Conducting #3. Subdivision

(Hunsberger 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 Labuta 5.1, 5.2, 5.5)

Record your session. Submit self-evaluation 3 within one week.



Feb. 10     

Active/Passive Beats, Sustaining Gestures (group work)

(Hunsberger 9.3, 9.4, 9.5)



Feb. 22, 24                

Score Study and Rehearsing (Hunsberger Ch. 5)

Practice rehearsal group work




Feb. 29, Mar. 2, 7, 9, 14                              

Conducting #4 a & b. Tempo & Dynamic Changes: Rehearsals 1 & 2

(Hunsberger 7.9, 7.10, 7.11 Labuta 11.8, M.11)

Submit Score Study 1 at first rehearsal.

Record your session. Submit self-evaluation 4 within one week.



Mar. 16, 21, 23, 28, 30              

Conducting #5 a & b. Asymmetrical Meters: Rehearsals 3 & 4

(Hunsberger 8.2, 8.5, 8.6 Labuta 10.18, 10.20, 10.21, M.15, M. 17)

Submit Score Study 2 at first rehearsal.

Record your session. Submit FINAL REFLECTION before last day of class.



April 4                          

Non-Traditional Notation (Hunsberger Ch. 12)

In-class group work




April 6                         

Catch-up and Wrap-up