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MUSIC 3O03 Conducting

Academic Year: Fall 2015

Term: 1

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Keith Kinder



Phone: 905-525-9140 x

Office Hours: Mon 1:30-2:20; Thurs 1:30-2:20

Course Objectives:

I. Objectives

i) to develop the fundamentals of conducting technique

ii) to learn the basics of score reading

iii) to establish an approach to score analysis and marking 

II. Topics

i) baton grip and placement, beat patterns, preparatory beats, releases, fermatas, cuing, conducting musical style

ii) preparing a score for conducting

iii) analysis and score marking systems for conductors

III. Course Structure

This course will employ a combined lecture/laboratory format. Lectures will normally occur at the beginning of class sessions and deliver technical information. The majority of class time will be in laboratory format. The members of the class will form a laboratory ensemble with which each participant will learn, in real time, 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 session. Those students who prepare carefully for each class, whether or not they expect to conduct, will benefit most from the course. Preparation must include technical considerations (planning 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 knowledge a student can expect to derive from the course, since course materials are cumulative over the entire course.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

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

i) Labuta, Joseph. Basic Conducting Techniques (with media disc), Prentice Hall

ii) A baton

iii) Erasable coloured score marking pencils (blue, red, yellow, green, light green, black)

iv) Please bring your instrument to every class

v) VHS video-cassette (optional)

II. Supplementary (on reserve)

i) Pearson, Bruce. Best in Class Showcase - Score (call no M 1200 P43 1989)

ii) O'Reilly, John. Yamaha Band Ensembles - Book 3 - Score (M1200 O74 1992)

iii) Pearson, Bruce, Chuck Elledge, Dean Sorenson. Festival Ensembles 2 - Score (M1200 P44 2008)

Method of Assessment:

I. Conducting Projects (50%)

i) Project 1: Conduct three of the musical excerpts from the Labuta book, one in each of the conducting patterns 2, 3, 4. Students are expected to show proficiency and clarity 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 29, Oct 1, 2015

ii) Project 2: 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 must include at least one fermata and an exercise in "slow" 6/8 meter. Students are expected to show proficiency and clarity with all the conducting fundamentals, and also to reflect a musical interpretation in each of the examples. ("If you're not interpreting, you're not conducting"). These projects will take place Nov. 24, 26, 2015

note bene: A randonized list of the order in which these projects will be performed will be posted in TSH B124 aprroximately one week before each project. Students who may have difficulty with their assigned times, must consult with the instructor prior to the day on which they are expected to perform. Any project that is postponed without prior consultation will be penalized 10% per week until completed.

II. Analysis (25%)

Analyze the provided movement of Symphony No. 27 by Mozart following the guidelines specified in Chapter 12 of the Labuta book. Part 1 (Acquire a conception) may be presented in point form, as a chart, or written directly onto the score. Any unique symbols used will need to be explained. Part 2 ("Anticipate problems of conducting) and Part 3 (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 with all bars numbered. Due: anytime, but not later than Oct 22, 2015

note bene: Students are expected to plan their work in order to meet this deadline. Late assignments will be penalized 2% per day (10% per week) until submitted, unless prior arrangements have been made with the instructor.

III. Classwork (25%)

Grade will be based on:

  • Participation - performance in the laboratory ensemble, contribution to discussions, attendance
  • Preparation - knowledge of the score demonstrated when on the podium, appropriateness to the music of gestures being used, familiarity with the material as illustrated by the ability to provide informed responses in class discussions
  • Progress - improvement in skills over the duration of the course


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:

Supplemantary Reference Materials

i) Green, Elizabeth, Mark Gibson. (2004) The Modern Conductor 7th.ed. (or any edition) Englewood Cliffes, NJ: Prentice Hall

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

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

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

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

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