Conducting for Community and Youth Ensembles

The RNCM’s Masters and Junior Fellow programmes are globally recognised as being at the forefront of the conductor training.

However, we are very aware that the elite and extremely competitive nature of these full-time courses places them out of reach for many who are actively involved with conducting and would like to develop their skills in a more formal manner than that afforded by our programme of external masterclasses. 

We are delighted to be able to launch a Conducting for Community and Youth Ensembles course, as a discrete pathway within the RNCM’s new Master of Education programme.  

We anticipate interest from:  

  • those working in music education who regularly conduct as part of their job, or aspire to do so 
  • those who conduct amateur orchestras, bands, choirs, and other ensembles 
  • military musicians seeking to enhance their career prospects 
  • professional musicians who may be considering making conducting part of their future career plans  

Three levels of qualification are available, all at FHEQ level 7: 

  • Master of Education (180 credits) 
  • Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits) 
  • Postgraduate Certificate (90 credits) 

Studies can be full-time over 1 year, or part-time over 2 years. In all cases, students are required to have access to their own orchestra, band, choir, or other suitable ensemble. 

For the Postgraduate Certificate, the focus in almost entirely on the practical aspects of conducting and the following modules are taken: 

Conducting Elective (30 credits)
The focus of this elective is the development of score study, technique, and rehearsal skills. Delivery is flexible, but it is envisaged there will be 18 hours of contact time taught in 3 single-day visits to the RNCM. Delivery is a mixture of 1-1 lessons and classes with pianists and/or small ensembles. In some circumstances, it may be possible to arrange for this teaching to be delivered at a different location if suitable resources in the form of musical ensembles are available. In that case, students would be responsible for tutor’s travel and accommodation costs. 

Placement Module (60 credits)
Through your work with your own ensemble, you will receive around 10 hours of mentoring and support aimed at supporting the development of your conducting, rehearsal and pedagogical skills; group management and leadership techniques; and associated skills such as programming. Assessment is via a Portfolio containing background context, critical self-reflection, and supporting evidence such as videos of rehearsals and performances undertaken. 

For the Postgraduate Diploma, you would take the Conducting Elective and Placement Module as outlined above plus: 

Music Education: Philosophy, Theory and Practice Module (30 credits)
This module explores relevant and current theories and principles of pedagogy in Music Education. Delivered flexibly through lectures and tutorials, assessment is via a presentation or essay, and a short Viva Voce. 

For the Master of Education, you would take the Conducting Elective, Placement Module, and Music Education: Philosophy, Theory and Practice Module as above plus: 

Research Methods in Music Education (30 credits)
This module is preparation for research-level study by introducing students to historical and theoretical research in Music Education, and the methods used by researchers in the field. Delivered flexibly through lectures and tutorials, assessment is via the submission of two research project proposals.  

Minor Dissertation (30 credits)
A 5,000-word dissertation in the field of music education allowing you to reflect on your conducting practice. Delivered flexibly with appropriate tutor support.  

  Conducting Elective
(30 credits) 
(60 credits) 
(30 credits) 
(30 credits) 
(30 credits) 
PG Dip           
PG Cert           

In addition to the formal teaching, students will be able to attend other RNCM Conducting events as observers, including Masterclasses with leading conductors, and professional rehearsals. 

Details about the full Master of Education programme, including fees and application information, are available here.

If you would like to discuss this programme further, please contract Mark Heron, Head of Conducting, at [email protected].