Advanced Course: Aims, Delivery and Repertoire

The Advanced Course enables participants to develop their skills significantly in a wide range of choral and orchestral situations. Conductors are encouraged to broaden their knowledge and application of complex musical ideas and idioms. This course is designed for those who have successfully completed all previous Sing for Pleasure courses; occasionally, conductors with appropriate experience are accepted at this level at the discretion of the Head of Conductor Training.

Aims

By the end of the course, participants should be able to:

  • prepare the score, the rehearsal plan and their gesture thoroughly
  • use their voice confidently and accurately, obtaining a wide palette of choral sound combined with awareness of good vocal technique
  • teach the music effectively, optimising rehearsal time
  • use a variety of expressive conducting gestures with good flow and clarity
  • demonstrate stylistic awareness and good musicianship consistent with the repertoire conducted
  • establish appropriate authority, whilst creating a good rapport and gaining the respect of their singers
  • analyse their own achievements, and the work of others, in a constructive way

Delivery

The course is delivered in a variety of ways – there are technical sessions including practical demonstrations and exercises to introduce advanced aspects of conducting, and the workshop sessions that follow give participants an enviable amount of podium time to put into practice what they have learnt.  Taking a holistic approach to development, participants also work on leadership skills and career development tools.

Repertoire

Repertoire at this level is more technically and musically challenging than at Intermediate 2 in a way that gives participants every opportunity to build on their existing skills. It is designed to meet the training needs of those conducting a large choral society, a fairly competent chamber choir and possibly an orchestra too. Repertoire is a mixture of accompanied and a cappella works from a variety of periods. Recent examples include motets by Monteverdi, Gesualdo, Byrd, Tallis and Victoria. Secular works by composers like Bob Chilcott often feature, including his work The Making of the Drum. At Summer School, our Advanced level conductors will conclude the end of course concert with a whole course choir, accompanied by a semi-professional orchestra. Recent works have included Mozart Requiem, Oliver Tarney Magnificat (specially commissioned for our Golden Jubilee year in 2014), Handel Utrecht Te Deum, Haydn Maria Theresa and Nelson masses, Rutter Magnificat and Requiem, Faure and Durufle Requiems.