Conducting Courses

New for 2019: Pathway to Conducting

Get up-and-running with conducting in about 10 weeks!

I am now offering a package to learn the basics of conducting in an intensive periof of about 10 weeks. It consists of 8 one-hour private lessons (based around Max Rudolf's 'The Grammar of Conducting'), all three of the Foundation one-day courses plus a full weekend course (Beethoven 7 or 8 or equivalent in 2020 - not one of the Beethoven 9 courses).  It's suitable for anyone who is a complete beginner to conducting (or is at an elementary stage) but you do need something of a musical background (e.g. the ability to read music is necessary). Get in touch (using the Application Form) if you want to find out more or would like to book a place.  

The cost will be £1300 (or £1150 if you are not in employment).  That is a saving of £190 (£215) from the normal cost of the individual elements of the Pathway.

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To make an application please click the link below:-

Application Form

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Dates

Here is a list of all currently planned dates. 
All courses are at easily accessible venues in London, England.
If you are interested but cannot make the given dates please get in touch - you will be informed when further dates have been organised. 

For information about each course go to Four Types of Course below.

2020
Sun 19 Jan:                          Foundational Course Level 1
Sat 1 Feb:                            Foundational Course Level 2
Sat 29 Feb:                          Foundational Course Level 3
Fri-Sun 13-15 Mar:             Weekend Workshop (Beethoven 9 movs 1-3)
Sat 25 Apr:                          Foundational Course Level 1
Sat 16 May:                         Foundational Course Level 2
Sat 13 Jun:                          Foundational Course Level 3
Fri-Sun 17-19 Jul:             Weekend Workshop (Beethoven 9 mov 4)

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Cost

Foundational Course Level 1: £120 (£100 unwaged)
Foundational Course Level 2: £145 (£120 unwaged)
Foundational Course Level 3: £200 (£170 unwaged)
Beethoven Symphonies 7/8 workshops:  £625 (£575 unwaged, observer on final day only £60)
Beethoven Symphony 9 movs 1-3 workshop:  £700 (£640 unwaged, observer on final day only £70)
Beethoven Symphony 9 final movement workshop:  £1000 (£900 unwaged, observer on final day only £80)

A 50% deposit is required to book a place, the remaining 50% being payable by the (first) day of the course.

Note 1: Each course requires a minimum number of people to make it viable. Courses not reaching that minimum may be postponed or cancelled. A place on the newly scheduled course or a full refund of any deposit will be made.  A Weekend course can be postponed/cancelled up until one month before the start date, one day courses up to two weeks before.
Note 2: The deposit is non-refundable in the case that you cancel (except in the case of illness supported by a written doctor's note, in which case 50% of your deposit will be returned).

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Languages

English and Italian.
It may also be possible to accomodate German and French speakers - please enquire.

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The Fascinating Skill of Conducting

  • Come and spend some time in a positive atmosphere learning more about the skill of conducting.
  • Courses are in London, UK, at easily accessible venues.
  • There are courses suitable for all, whatever your level of experience (including complete beginners).
  • There is no age limit.
  • Peter also teaches conducting privately (including giving a personal Foundation Course Level 1): please enquire about these lessons via the Application Form

NB The weekend course focuses on instrumental or operatic conducting, Foundation 1 & 2 deal with all kinds of conducting (including choral), Foundation 3 is on instrumental conducting.

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Four Types of Course

Click on each course name to see information on that course.

Foundational Course Level 1

NB It is also possible to take this course privately. The cost is the same and it takes one morning or afternoon.  Enquire via the Application Form

Synopsis

Maximum of 10 participants
These are held on Saturdays or Sundays.  Via some further study they could lead on to the other Foundation courses and/or the weekend workshops with orchestra.

Foundational Course 1 is at a beginner - elementary level.  It takes into account both instrumental and choral conducting.  It is suitable for anyone who is interesting in learning about conducting and also acquiring basic conducting skills. This is a very practical day, and no musical expertise or knowledge is assumed (it isn't, for example, necessary to be able to read music).  The only requirement is an interest in the subject of conducting and a willingness to 'give it a go'!

We will look at some video clips of famous conductors and talk about their varying styles.  We will also consider how the role of the conductor has changed over the years.  Beginners will learn the basic skills of holding a baton and beating time patterns; those with some prior conducting experience will be introduced to more advanced techniques.  In other words each person receives help and advice appropriate to their skill and experience.  You will conduct some short pieces with piano, and there will be plenty of opportunities to ask questions.

Preparation

Watch (and study) videos on YouTube of well-known conductors.

Foundational Course Level 2

Synopsis

Maximum of 8 participants
These are held on Saturdays or Sundays.  They could lead on to the weekend workshops with orchestra.

The Foundational Course Level 2 assumes you have done Level 1 or that you are not a complete beginner.  Like Level 1 this is a very practical day. The main requirement is a willingness to 'give it a go'!

We firstly revise some of the work done at Level 1 and expand on this.  Then each person will work for 20-30 minutes with our in-house ensemble of four professional musicians to put the skills learned into action.  Each person receives help and advice appropriate to their skill, experience and situation.  There will be plenty of opportunities to ask questions. 

Preparation

Revise work done at Level 1 (basic patterns etc)

Foundational Course Level 3

Synopsis

Maximum of 8 participants
This is a one-day course held on a Saturday or a Sunday.  It could lead on to the weekend workshops with orchestra.

The Foundational Course Level 3 assumes you have a certain amount of basic conducting skill/experience, it is not suitable for beginners.  

We use the morning to delve into the set peice(s), preparing for the ensemble to arrive in the afternoon.  Then, in the afternoon, each person will work for 20-25 minutes with the professional string ensemble.  Each person receives help and advice appropriate to their skill, experience and situation.  There will be plenty of opportunities to ask questions. 

An HD video is made of you conducting the ensemble, this is available, free of charge, after the course.

Preparation

Revise basic skills, study and prepare the set piece(s).

Weekend Workshops

Synopsis

Maximum of 8 
Podium time 60 mins minimum

This course focuses on instrumental conducting.  On the Friday evening we have a session with the score, on Saturday we work with a professional pianist, in preparation for the orchestra day on the Sunday.  The orchestra is South London Sinfonietta - a flexible-sized professional group.  This course is not suitable for beginners, but observers are welcome at a much-reduced rate.  

As on the one-day courses each person receives help and advice appropriate to their skill and experience.  Subjects covered will include technique, musical interpretation, communication, how to manage an orchestra, and conducting psychology. We work in depth.  Towards the end of the Sunday we give a short ‘performance’ where every student conducts (with orchestra) a section of the music studied during the course.  All your work is recorded on HD video, which is available to you, free of charge, after the course.

It may be possible to find cheap accommodation. Please enquire.

Timings

The timings for the two courses on Beethoven 9 are as follows:

Day 1 (Friday): 15:00  - 22:00
Day 2 (Saturday): 10:30  - 18:00
Day 3 (Sunday): 10:30 - 17:30

Preparation

1. Obtain and study score of the repertoire in advance.

2. Watch (and study) videos on YouTube of well-known conductors in the set piece(s).

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To make an application please click the link below:-

Application Form

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Participant comments:

"What you managed to do was to take each of us on from where we were, not forcing us into 'how to conduct like Peter Fender' but rather helping each of us to become better conductors in our own individual and diverse ways."

"You taught me baton technique and musicality ... but most importantly you taught me the inner side that the conductor should have."

"You are able to give helpful support to every course member, no matter which level of experience he or she is. That's why I'm certain that everybody could take something from your course. The amount of podium time is overwhelming ... this is the point which I think really distinguishes your course from other courses (along with your very individual "coaching" and the reasonable cost)."

"I just wanted to thank you for the weekend. It was immensely interesting and instructive.  I believe that I learned a great deal from watching the others and having a go myself.  Your comments were always spot on and very precisely explained. Thank you again for giving me your time and invaluable guidance."

"Thanks again, don't think I've ever managed to get that much podium time on a course before, hugely advantageous."

"Thank you for amost enjoyable and informative day.  The background, analysis, musical insights and conducting tips were well put together and, importantly for me, digestible"

"I got a great deal from it and you are a very generous presenter... It's extremely good value"

"I really appreciated the way you were able to switch so seamlessly between working with [more experienced people] on subtleties and me on a broader level. The whole workshop felt very inclusive and I got as much from watching you work with [others] as I did conducting myself. I thought both days were expertly run and I've come away with a huge amount to think about and work on - really good stuff!"

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English