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Academic Year: Fall/Winter 2013/2014

Term: 2

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Keith Kinder



Phone: 905-525-9140 x

Office Hours: by appointment

Course Objectives:


               a) to refine and develop baton technique.

               b) to address the issues of score preparation and rehearsal technique.


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

b) Score Preparation:  analysis, marking, interpretation.

c) Inter-hand co-ordination and independence

d) Background:  facial and bodily gesture

               e) Rehearsal technique

Course Structure:

The course will employ a combined lecture/ laboratory format.  Lectures will present technical information; labs will consist of the members of the class providing an ensemble with which each participant will practice the clarity and effectiveness of his/her conducting gestures.  It is intended that each participant develop a "repertoire of gestures" applicable to many musical situations, and also to establish gestural flexibility and creativity.

               This course is taught as a masterclass.  Not everyone will have the opportunity to conduct during each teaching unit. Those students who prepare carefully for every class, whether or not they expect to conduct, will benefit most from the course. Preparation must include technical considerations (designing and practicing specific physical gestures) and musical/artistic issues (tempo, style, phrasing, balance, musical direction, etc). Also, because of the masterclass format, irregular attendance will seriously limit the development of the skills necessary for the successful completion of the course.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Required Materials:  (all materials are available from the bookstore)

1.            Labuta, Joseph. (2010) Basic Conducting Techniques. (6th. ed.) Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall.

2.            Erasable coloured score marking pencils: Blue, Red, Green, Yellow (Orange, Light Green, Black).

3.            A baton

4.            Please bring your instrument to every class.

Supplementary Material: (on reserve)


1.            Spencer, Peter, and Peter Temko. (1988) A Practical Approach to the Study of Form in Music. Prospect Hts. Il: Waveland Press, Inc.

2.            Rosen, Charles. (1980) Sonata Forms. New York: W. W. Norton.

Supplementary Reference:  (in our library, but may be on reserve for Music 3003)

1.            Green, Elizabeth and Mark Gibson. (2004) The Modern Conductor (7th ed.).  Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall.

2.            Rudolf, Max. (1993) The Grammar of Conducting (3rd ed.).  New York: Schirmer Books.

3.            Saito, Hideo. (1988) The Saito Conducting Method.  Tokyo: Ongaku No Tomo Sha Corp.

4.            McElheran, Brock. (1989) Conducting Technique. (2nd. ed.) London: Oxford University Press.

5.            Hunsberger, Donald and Ernst, Roy. (1992) The Art of Conducting (2nd ed.).  New York: McGraw-Hill.

6.            Long, R. Gerry. (1971) The Conductor's Workshop. Dubuque, Iowa: Wm. C. Brown Co.

7.            Green, Elizabeth and Nicolai Malko. (1975)  The Conductor and His Score.  Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall.

Method of Assessment:


I - Two Conducting Projects

a)  Left-Hand Project - (20%) - This will involve conducting a taped performance using the left hand only.  Select a short work, or single movement, of 5-8 minutes duration, and prepare left hand gestures that reflect and enhance the music, avoid repetition, and illustrate a thorough analysis of the score.  Left hand must not keep the beat.  Gestures should enhance phrasing, climatic structure, counterpoint, cuing, and indicators of musical style.  Students may select any work from the orchestral, wind ensemble, or band repertoire.

                              These projects will take place on January 24, 28, 2014.

b)  Final Project - (30%). Select and conduct four (4) excerpts from the Labuta book according to the following formula:

               1) an excerpt in an odd meter

               2) an excerpt in shifting meter

               3) an excerpt involving a tempo change

               4) an own-choice excerpt

               Grading will be based on:  score preparation, depth of analysis, gestural variety and clarity, musicality, interpretation.

These projects will take place on March 25, 28, 2014.

II             Score Analysis Paper: (25%)

"A theorist or musicologist analyses to reveal the compositional processes of the composer; a conductor analyses to achieve a musical result." (Sir Adrian Boult)  This paper is to present a "conductor's analysis", and may be in the form of a graph or in point form.  Please see the attached graph for guidelines as to approach and content.  In addition to the graph, consider the following:

                              a)  Avoid simply verbalizing the score.  Description is not analysis. 

                              b)  Ask "why?" often.

                              c)  Consider how musical elements are related and/or contrasted.

                              d)  Synthesize - It is not necessary, for example, to describe every instance of imitative counterpoint - make a general statement about the counterpoint, and then describe those instances that do not conform to the norm. 

                              e)  Changes in any musical element (tempo, meter, dynamics, orchestration, rhythm, texture, etc.) are important signals to a conductor.  Study them carefully.  Expect them to be significant.

                              f)  All analysis must help to create an interpretation.

                              "If you're not interpreting, you're not conducting."

a)      Analyse any movement (except a Minuet) from the following:

i)       Mozart: Symphony # 29, 34, 40 or 41

ii)     Haydn: Symphony #88, 92 or 104


b)     Analyse any single movement from:

i)                 Holst: Suite No.1 or Suite No. 2

ii)               Vaughan Williams: English Folk Song Suite

                                             Due: anytime, but not later than Feb 14, 2014.

Please include a copy of the score with all bars numbered.

III           Classwork: (25%) - Grade will be based on:

a) Preparation - knowledge of score demonstrated on the podium through appropriateness of gestures, eye-contact, style.

b) Participation - performance in the laboratory ensemble, contributions to discussions.

c) Progress - improvement shown over the duration of the course, ability to analyse own problems and find solutions.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Please note:

               i) Incorrect grammar, spelling and sentence structure will be graded on all written assignments.

               ii) Due dates are organized to distribute the workload as evenly as possible over the complete course.  Students are required to attend to them carefully.  Late assignments or incomplete projects will not be accepted unless prior arrangements have been made with the instructor.

               iii) The instructor and university reserve the right to modify elements of the course during the term.  The university may change the dates and deadlines for any or all courses in extreme circumstances.  If either type of modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes.  It is the responsibility of the student to check their McMaster email and course websites weekly during the term and to note any changes.

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.