Orchestral Conducting Course: Aims, Delivery and Repertoire

This course, which usually runs at our Bolton Weekend training event in the Autumn, enables participants who have successfully completed the Intermediate 2 or Advanced Courses to develop their skills in the field of orchestral conducting. Conductors are introduced to those elements of orchestral conducting technique that are common with choral conducting, and those elements that differ. It is designed for those who have successfully completed previous Sing for Pleasure courses but, occasionally, experienced conductors are accepted at this level at the discretion of the Head of Conductor Training.


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

  • prepare the score, the rehearsal plan and their gesture thoroughly
  • use a baton effectively, confidently and with flow and clarity
  • teach the music effectively, optimising rehearsal time
  • 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 and players
  • demonstrate awareness of the orchestra and of historically informed performance style
  • analyse their own achievements, and the work of others, in a constructive way


The course is delivered in two ways – there are technical sessions on score preparation and aspects of instrumental technique, plus practical sessions with piano that allow participants to prepare their repertoire ready to meet the orchestra; the course gives participants an enviable amount of podium time to put into practice what they have learnt.  


Repertoire for this course is simple enough to not get in the way of learning but challenging enough to give participants a worthwhile musical experience. Recent examples include Grieg – Holberg Suite, Mozart Divertimenti including Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Dvorak – Serenade for Strings, Warlock – Capriol Suite, Elgar – Serenade for Strings, Corelli and Handel – Concerti Grossi, Bach – Suite No 2, Wagner – Siegfried Idyll (arr for strings) Mahler – Adagietto from Symphony No 5, Mendelssohn – String Symphony No 4.