MusB Music / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:

Course unit fact file
Unit code MUSC20670
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Full year
Offered by Music
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course offers a choice of two options for level 2 students who want to develop their conducting skills. Please note that in the event of Covid-related restrictions, content and assessment may need to be adapted. Students taking this course will choose one of the following:

  • Orchestral and Choral Conducting
  • Conducting in Education and Community Music

Orchestral and Choral Conducting

This option provides a firm technical grounding in conducting, focussing on building students’ skills working with large ensembles, orchestras and choirs. This encompasses rehearsal skills, preparation of scores, as well as building the techniques of conducting: developing and communicating an interpretation of a score to ensembles, and using precise physical gestures not only to keep musicians in time, but to steer them through an interpretation. Teaching takes place through regular workshops, and is supplemented where possible through opportunities to conduct MUMS ensembles. This option will be taught by Robert Guy.

Conducting in Education and Community Music

This option is aimed at students who are interested in working in music education at schools and music hubs, as well as community music making. It has a particular focus on equipping aspiring music teachers and community based leaders. The course aims to provide confidence and skill set to lead youth orchestras, bands, choirs and ensembles. Teaching will take place through a series of workshops, and will be focused around skills and approaches that will help with specific scenarios, for example leading a school choir or orchestra, working with community or amateur groups, people with disabilities, Dalcroze Eurhythmics, etc. This option will be taught by Robert Guy.


  • To expand upon skills already established in MUSC 10600 by confronting performance contexts involving collaboration with other musicians.
  • To facilitate the development of students’ creative imagination and skills of critical self-awareness when working in a collaborative performance context.
  • To lead through example, and facilitate other musicians in bringing their best to ensemble performance

Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate increased understanding of how music works and the contexts in which it is performed.
  • Agree on an interpretation or arrangement with other performers, and apply an informed understanding of musical style and structure in order to realise that interpretation.

Intellectual skills

  • Show an enhanced ability to understand and apply analytical skills to music, and convey that understanding to other musicians.
  • Engage with other musicians in meaningful dialogue about music and its interpretation.  

Practical skills

  • Demonstrate enhanced performance abilities in the skill areas cultivated by the chosen sub-unit.
  • Respond to and collaborate with other musicians whilst performing.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Demonstrate enhanced skills in problem-solving, interpersonal communication, rehearsal techniques and the practical application of analytical and interpretative insights. 
  • Demonstrate the confidence and interpersonal skills required to work effectively in groups, showing skills relating to teamwork, negotiation, decision-making and leadership.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Surveying repertoire, analysing and showing understanding of the repertoire you are performing; Innovation/creativity: Initiative in inventing a creative concept and putting it into motion, coming up with your own ideas, and not relying on your teacher to do the thinking for you;
Initiative in inventing a creative concept and putting it into motion, coming up with your own ideas, and not relying on your teacher to do the thinking for you
Being responsible for overseeing a creative product from inception through to final performance;
Project management
Developing time-management skills, developing effective and efficient practising habits, setting and achieving goals, and collaborating effectively with other musicians as appropriate
Self-awareness: knowing your strengths and skills and having the confidence to put these across through performance; Willingness to learn: being inquisitive about such issues as repertoire and performance practice, being enthusiastic and open to new ideas, making decisions, assessing progress and making changes if necessary

Assessment methods

Student take one of:

Orchestral and Choral Conducting 100%

Conducting in Education and Community Music 100%

Feedback methods


Workshops/coaching sessions; group discussion; individual discussion with tutor; reflection on informal performances.


Written feedback on final assessed performance    

Recommended reading

  • Barenboim, D. (2008) Everything is Connected – The Power of Music. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. 
  • Bowen, J. (ed). (2003) The Cambridge Companion to Conducting. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Del Mar, N. (1987)Anatomy of the Orchestra. Berkeley: University of California Press. 
  • Durrant, C.(2003) Choral Conducting: philosophy and practice. London: Routledge. 
  • Jordan, J.    (1996)    Evoking Sound: fundamentals of choral conducting and rehearsing New York: GIA Publications.
  • Seaman, C.(2013) Inside Conducting. Rochester NY: Rochester University Press.
  • Service, T. (2012) Music as Alchemy: Journeys with Great Conductors and their Orchestras. London: Faber & Faber.
  • Wigglesworth, M. (2018) The Silent Musician. Faber & Faber
  • Wittry, D.(2007) Beyond the Baton: what every conductor needs to know. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 48
Independent study hours
Independent study 52

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Alexander Gagatsis Unit coordinator

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