Conducting Minor

The conducting minor is an organized program of courses for students interested in conducting. The minor in conducting will consist of 12 credit hours, including core courses in conducting, orchestration, and specialized advanced electives, as well as opportunities for individual instruction (Directed Study in Conducting). Students will decide on one of three tracks: contemporary conducting, music education, or choral conducting.

Through study within the conducting minor, students will develop strong technical and experiential conducting training in preparation for the concert stage, recording studio, scoring stage (film), orchestra pit (Broadway shows), and/or education profession. They will acquire specific baton/hand expression and vocal communication skills and techniques relevant to instrumental ensembles, choral ensembles, or music educators while also gaining a podium presence of assured, confident poise that inspires efficient cooperation among instrumental and vocal performers. The minor includes increased score reading and preparation skills in addition to enhanced orchestration study. Effective and efficient rehearsal techniques will prepare the student to successfully present public and/or recorded performances of a composer's work. Choral and music education tracks will teach effective vocal warm-up.

The conducting minor provides a powerful accompaniment to any Berklee student's degree major, leading to more complete musicians. Professional writing majors will benefit greatly from a high level of competency in conducting, as it is a natural component in a composer's arsenal of abilities, necessary to add more flexibility in professional endeavors.

Contemporary Conducting Track

The contemporary conducting track provides the broadest, overall preparation for both instrumental and choral conductors. The techniques presented will provide the general principals for use for the concert stage, recording studio, scoring stage (film), orchestra pit (Broadway shows) and other situations. Students will have the opportunity for experience in dealing with the diversity of musicians in mixed ensembles, such as classical, jazz, and rock, as well as musicians in other stylistic genres. Repertoire in this track will be representative of these many diverse areas. Students in this track will take specific conducting classes as well as additional studies in style analysis and orchestration.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of a minor in conducting - contemporary conducting track, students will:

  • Analyze and transcribe music scores in a variety of styles for a variety of ensembles (e.g. chamber orchestra, chorus)
  • Demonstrate the ability to prepare a score for rehearsal
  • Demonstrate the ability to rehearse musicians in preparation for a public performance or recording session
  • Conduct public performances and recording sessions
  • Synthesize and apply knowledge of repertory in developing concert programs
  • Synthesize and apply knowledge of orchestration techniques to score preparation, rehearsal, and performance

Music Education Track

The music education track is focused specifically for students who plan to be music educators as conductors of secondary school concert bands, orchestras, and choruses. Many of the courses will be taken through the Music Education Department. Repertoire studied will be appropriate to secondary school levels. Students will learn the accepted international standard of grading literature by difficulty in order to prepare future teachers appropriate repertoire selection. Specific conducting techniques in preparing young musicians in ensembles such as preparation, rehearsal etiquette, stage presence, and sectional and private practice routines, etc. will be addressed. Students in this track will take specific conducting classes as well as additional studies in instrumentation and scoring for strings.

Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of a minor in conducting - music education track, students will:

  • Analyze and transcribe music scores in a variety of styles for a variety of ensembles (e.g. chamber orchestra, chorus)
  • Demonstrate the ability to prepare a score for rehearsal
  • Demonstrate the ability to rehearse common secondary school ensembles (e.g. wind ensemble, jazz ensemble, chorus, marching band)
  • Conduct public performances and recording sessions
  • Develop concert programs of appropriate difficulty for secondary school students
  • Synthesize and apply knowledge of orchestration techniques to score preparation, rehearsal, and performance
  • Teach concert etiquette, rehearsal technique (individual and sectional), and other performance skills to secondary school students

Choral Conducting Track

The choral conducting track is focused specifically for students who are more interested in choral conducting rather than instrumental conducting. Repertoire studied will focus on the choral literature through all major style periods. Techniques specific to vocal conducting such as vocal warm-up, concert planning for choruses, accompanying, and choral voicing will be presented. Students will learn conducting both accompanied as well as a cappella choruses. Students in this track will take specific conducting classes as well as additional studies in style analysis and choral composition.

Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of a minor in conducting - choral conducting track, students will:

  • Analyze and transcribe music scores in a variety of styles for a variety of ensembles (e.g. chamber orchestra, chorus)
  • Demonstrate the ability to prepare a score for rehearsal
  • Demonstrate the ability to rehearse vocal ensembles of varying size 
  • Conduct public performances and recording sessions of vocal ensembles
  • Develop concert programs commensurate with the skill level, size, and composition of a vocal ensemble
  • Synthesize and apply knowledge of orchestration techniques to score preparation, rehearsal, and performance

Contemporary Conducting Track

Required Courses

  • COND-211 Conducting 1 or COND-216 Conducting 1 with Live Keyboard Ensemble (1 credit)
  • COND-212 Conducting 2 or COND-217 Conducting 2 with Live Keyboard Ensemble (1 credit)
  • LHAN-311 Style Analysis of Classical and Romantic Music (2 credits)
  • COND-498 Directed Study in Conducting (2 credits)

Required Orchestration Course (choose one from the following)

  • CM-231 Instrumentation and Score Preparation (2 credits)
  • CM-341 Scoring for Strings (2 credits)
  • CW-445 Contemporary Orchestration (2 credits)
  • FS-340 Dramatic Orchestration for Film (2 credits)

Elective Courses (choose two from the following)

  • COND-221 Choral Conducting for Music Education Majors (2 credits)
  • COND-222 Instrumental Conducting for Music Education Majors (2 credits)
  • COND-311 Advanced Conducting Seminar with Live Orchestra (2 credits)
  • COND-321 Choral Rehearsal Techniques for Music Education Majors (2 credits)
  • COND-322 Instrumental Rehearsal Techniques for Music Education Majors (2 credits)
  • COND-351 Advanced Conductor's Workshop with Live Keyboard Ensemble (2 credits)
  • COND-355 Conducting Small Ensembles (2 credits)
  • COND-361 Conducting for Film and TV Production (2 credits)
  • COND-421 Advanced Rehearsal Techniques (2 credits)

Seven courses required for completion of the minor.

Music Education Conducting Track

Core Courses

  • COND-221 Choral Conducting for Music Education Majors (2 credits)
  • COND-222 Instrumental Conducting for Music Education Majors (2 credits)
  • COND-321 Choral Rehearsal Techniques for Music Education Majors (2 credits)
  • COND-322 Instrumental Rehearsal Techniques for Music Education Majors (2 credits)

Required Courses

  • CM-231 Instrumentation and Score Preparation (2 credits)
  • CM-341 Scoring for Strings (2 credits)

Six courses required for completion of the minor.

Choral Conducting Track

Required Courses

  • COND-211 Conducting 1 or COND-216 Conducting 1 with Live Keyboard Ensemble (2 credits)
  • COND-212 Conducting 2 or COND-217 Conducting 2 with Live Keyboard Ensemble (2 credits)
  • COND-221 Choral Conducting for Music Education Majors (2 credits)
  • LHAN-311 Style Analysis of Classical and Romantic Music (2 credits)
  • CM-351 Choral Composition (2 credits)
  • COND-498 Directed Study in Conducting (2 credits)

Elective Courses (choose from one of the following)

  • COND-311 Advanced Conducting Seminar with Live Orchestra
  • COND-321 Choral Rehearsal Techniques for Music Education Majors
  • COND-322 Instrumental Rehearsal Techniques for Music Education Majors
  • COND-355 Conducting Small Ensembles
  • COND-421 Advanced Rehearsal Techniques

Seven courses required for completion of the minor.

For more information, contact:

Composition Department
150 Massachusetts Avenue
617 747-8185
Chair: Arnold Friedman, afriedman@berklee.edu
Assistant Chair: James Smith, jsmith3@berklee.edu

Music Education Department
22 The Fenway
617 747-2425
Chair: Cecil Adderley, cadderley@berklee.edu
Department Coordinator: Bobbi Harman, bharman@berklee.edu