External Masterclass and Short Courses

The RNCM operates an extremely popular programme of external conducting courses, which are open to all and attract applicants from all over the world. 

A conductor stands in front of a orchestra.

These courses are usually led by RNCM Professors Mark Heron, Clark Rundell, David Hill and Stuart Overington and are aimed at a very broad range of applicants. You may be a young conductor considering full time study; a graduate looking to brush up your skills or receive a fresh perspective from a different teacher; a professional performer or educator for whom conducting is part of a wider portfolio of activities; or an amateur musician wishing to develop your skills. 

A feature of all these courses is the absolute focus on the practical experience of conducting real live musicians. RNCM orchestras, bands, and ensembles play for the bulk of the sessions, and in Masterclass 4 there is significant opportunity to conduct and receive feedback from professional musicians thanks to the involvement of Manchester Camerata. We are also delighted to welcome KNDS Fairey Band who will join us for Masterclass 1 for the first time. 

Interest in these events is extremely high so please take care to provide the requested information. For the Masterclasses, you can submit your application at any time, but active participants are not selected until after the closing date. For the Music Educators course, places are confirmed on receipt so early application is recommended. 

Observers are invited to watch all sessions in person. This opportunity will be of interest to conductors of any level or to anyone who is interested in how gesture and body language can be used in leadership. You can register as an observer at any time. 

Masterclass 1: Wind and Brass with KNDS Fairey Band

Summary: Aimed at conductors specialising in wind & brass bands and ensembles, or those wishing to focus on improving their skills and knowledge of working with wind and brass instruments.
Date: 9 & 10 November 2024
Cost: £430
Closing date: 4 October 2024
Repertoire: Gorb – Yiddish Dances; Mozart – Serenade in C minor, K388; Heaton – Contest Music; Stravinsky – Octet for Wind Instruments, Vaughan Williams – Variations for Brass Band; Wilby – Paganini Variations
Faculty: Mark Heron
Ensembles: KNDS Fairey Band, RNCM bands and ensembles
Application: please fill in this Wind and Brass with KNDS Fairey Band online form

Masterclass 2: Orchestral

Summary: 2 days working with RNCM Chamber Orchestra on these core repertoire pieces.
Date: 10 & 11 February 2025
Cost: £430
Closing date: 6 December 2024
Repertoire: Sibelius (arr. Farrington) – Symphony No.2, Wagner (arr. Farrington) – Prelude & Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde
Faculty: Mark Heron
Ensembles: RNCM ensembles
Application: please fill in this Orchestral online form

Masterclass 3: Choral

Summary: working with David Hill and Stuart Overington on a capella and chorus plus orchestra repertoire.
Date: 15 & 16 February 2025
Cost: £430
Closing date: 6 December 2024
Repertoire: Haydn – Nelson Mass, Vaughan-Williams – Mass in G minor
Faculty: David Hill, Stuart Overington
Ensembles: RNCM Chamber Choir, University of Manchester Chamber Choir
Application: please fill in this Choral online form

Masterclass 4: Orchestral with Manchester Camerata

Summary: our highest-level course benefits from the involvement of Manchester Camerata
Date: 25, 26, 27 April 2025
Cost: £725
Closing date: 7 February 2025
Repertoire: Beethoven – Symphony No.5; Stravinsky – Petrouchka
Faculty: Mark Heron, Nicolás Pasquet
Ensembles: Manchester Camerata, RNCM orchestras and ensembles
Application: please fill in this Orchestral with Manchester Camerata online form

Music Educators Conducting Course

Date: 27 & 28 October 2024 (in Lichfield, Staffordshire); 19 January 2025 (at RNCM); April/ May date tbc (in Manchester)
Cost: £625
Closing date: open until all places filled
Repertoire will be confirmed after acceptance of place
Faculty: Mark Heron, Melvin Tay
Ensembles: Derbyshire City & County Youth Wind Band, RNCM ensembles
Application: please fill in this Music Educators Conducting Course online form


Conducting is unique in that the benefits of watching others being taught can be incredibly helpful to one’s own development. If you are thinking of starting to conduct, observing one of these courses can be a great first step and the chance to meet and chat with our conducting tutors. We welcome U-18s as observers but do require them to be accompanied by an adult. Costs: £60 per day.

You can register as an observer at any time up to the day before a particular course by completing the observers online form at.


If you have any further queries about these courses, please email us at [email protected].