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Academic Year: Fall/Winter 2014/2015

Term: 1

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Keith Kinder



Phone: 905-525-9140 x

Office Hours: as requested

Course Objectives:

I. Objectives:

                1.             to develop the fundamentals of conducting technique;

                2.             to learn the basics of score-reading;

                3.             to establish an approach to score analysis and marking.

II. Topics:

                1.             Baton grip and placement, beat patterns, preparatory beats, releases, fermatas, cuing, conducting musical styles;

                2.             Preparing a score for conducting;

                3.             Score marking systems, analysis for conductors;


III. Course Structure:

                The course will employ a combined lecture/laboratory format.  Lectures will normally occur at the beginning of class sessions and present technical information. The majority of class time will be in laboratory format. The members of the class will provide an ensemble with which each participant will learn the gestures necessary for effective conducting. 

                Students are advised that this course is taught as a master class. Not everyone will have the opportunity to conduct during each class. Those students who carefully prepare for each class, whether or not they expect to conduct, will benefit most from the course. Preparation must involve technical considerations (planning and practising 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 knowledge a student can expect to acquire from this course, since course materials are cumulative over the entire course.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

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

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

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.

5.             VHS video-cassette (optional)

II. Supplementary: (on reserve)

1.             Pearson, Bruce. (1989) Best in Class Showcase - Score. (call no. M1200 P43 1989)

2.             O'Reilly, John. (1992) Yamaha Band Ensembles - Bk. 3 - Score. (call no. M1200 O74 1992)

3.             Pearson, Bruce, Chuck Elledge, Dean Sorenson. (2008) Festival Ensembles 2 - Score. (call no. M1200 P44 2008)

Method of Assessment:


A.            Conducting Projects:  (50%)

a) Project 1: (20%) Conduct three of the Musical Excerpts from Chapter 2 of the Labuta book, one in each of the conducting patterns 2, 3, and 4. Students are expected to show proficiency with preparatory beats, beat patterns and releases, and to confidently lead the ensemble in each of the above meters. These projects will take place on Sept 25, 29 and October 1, 2014.               

b) Project 2: (30%) Conduct two of the Musical Excerpts from Chapters 5, 6, 7 and/or 8 of the Labuta book, AND one complete piece from either Best in Class Showcase, Yamaha Band Ensembles - Bk. 3, or Festival Ensembles 2. The Excerpts/piece chosen must include at least one fermata and an exercise in "slow" 6/8 meter. Students are expected to show proficiency with all of the conducting fundamentals, and also to reflect an interpretation in each of the examples. These projects will take place on November 19, 20, 24, 2014.

B.            Analysis: (25%)

Analyse the provided movement from Symphony No. 27 by Mozart following the guidelines specified in Chapter 12 of the text. Part 1 (“Acquire a conception”) may be presented in point form, as a chart, or written directly onto the score. Any symbols used will need to be explained. Parts 2 & 3 (“Anticipate problems of conducting” and “Anticipate problems of ensemble and rehearsal”) are better presented separately from the score, but may be in point form. Include a copy of the score.

                                Due: anytime, but not later than Oct. 23, 2014.

C.            Classwork:  (25%)

                Grade will be based on:

a) Participation - performance in the laboratory ensemble, and willingness to contribute to discussions.

 b) Preparation - knowledge of the score demonstrated when on the podium, appropriateness of gestures being used to the music being conducted, familiarity with the material being used as illustrated by the ability to provide informed responses in class discussions.

c) Progress - improvement in skills over the duration of the course.


Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

This is a self-reporting tool for undergraduate students to report absences DUE TO MINOR MEDICAL SITUATIONS that last up to 5 days and provides the ability to request accommodation for any missed academic work. Please note, this tool cannot be used during any final examination period. You may submit a maximum of 1 Academic Work Missed request per term. It is YOUR responsibility to follow up with your Instructor immediately (NORMALLY WITHIN TWO WORKING DAYS) regarding the nature of the accommodation. If you are absent for reasons other than medical reasons, for more than 5 days, or exceed 1 request per term, you MUST visit your Associate Dean's Office/Faculty Office). You may be required to provide supporting documentation. This form should be filled out immediately when you are about to return to class after your absence.

Note bene: 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.

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.

Other Course Information:

Supplementary Reference Materials: 

1.             Green, Elizabeth, and Mark Gibson. (2004)  The Modern Conductor (7th ed.).  Englewood Cliffs, NJ:  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 Shaw Corp.

4.             McElheran, Brock. (1992) Conducting Technique (2nd ed.)  London:  Oxford University Press.

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

6.             Green, Elizabeth, and Nicolai Malko. (1975) The Conductor and His Score. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.