MW 11:30a.m. – 12:20p.m.
Syllabus and Course Outline Fall 2018
Instructor: Brent Chancellor
Office: Chapin Hall 228
Phone: 917 239-7007
Office Hours: By Appointment
Classroom: Chapin Hall G01
Website and Nest
Course materials such as syllabus, handouts, notes, assignment instructions, etc. will be communicated through Montclair State University Nest. You are responsible for regularly checking email to learn any updates.
- Text: Wittry, Diane. Baton Basics: Communicating Music through Gestures. Oxford University Press; 1 edition. ISBN-13: 978-0199354160
- Online Packet: Conducting materials and parts.
- Conducting Baton: 12’-14″ long. There are many styles of baton. Ultimately, it depends on what is comfortable for you to maintain a relaxed grip. I recommend King David tapered or pear shaped cork handle, Sound Harbor or similar to start with.
- Your instrument: When not conducting, you will be playing. Please bring it to every class unless instructed not to.
Development of basic conducting technique. Through developing basic conducting technique, students will begin to learn the relationship between gesture and sound.
Course Goals and Student Learning Objectives
The ultimate goal of the conductor is to lead and inspire an ensemble through non-verbal communication. The objective is for each student to demonstrate musical ideas clearly and efficiently through fundamental conducting gesture including; appropriate posture, use of the baton, expressive and independent use of both hands, beat patterns, cueing, and control of tempo, dynamics and phrase shaping. Students are also expected to study and review instrument transposition, clefs and musical terminology.
In this course, we will be primarily concerned with three aspects of conducting:
- Practical aspects of conducting:
- Basic conducting technique (giving beats with correct proportions)
- Independence of hands
- Conducting fermatas, mixed meter, dynamics, articulations, changes in tempi, cueing
- Conducting recitatives in opera
- Musical aspects of conducting ie. how to be expressive and, ultimately, become the music that we are conducting.
- The human aspects of conducting. Dealing with the ensemble as a group of living human beings.
Although the focus of this course is not on score study or rehearsal technique, we will likely touch on these topics as part of the general discussion. Students are expected to study and know the material they will be conducting for each session.
Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to:
- Explain and demonstrate proper posture for the conductor.
- Explain and demonstrate appropriate use of the baton, hand position, conducting plane and beat proportions.
- Demonstrate expressive use of both hands as related to the musical ideas in the score.
- Demonstrate professional stage presence and emotional communication.
- Conduct in a variety of articulations including legato, marcato, staccato, etc.
- Conduct selected beat patterns and mixed meters.
- Effectively cue parts of the ensemble.
- Define musical terms as appropriate to the knowledge of a conductor.
- Understand the transpositions of instruments as related to the score.
- Describe the role of the conductor.
Course Requirements and Assignments
Participation is essential for success in this course. Students must conduct and critique each session in order to earn full credit for participation. When not conducting, the student serves in the “performing ensemble.”
Grades are based upon the following formula. In order to receive a passing grade for this course, the student must satisfactorily complete each of the constituent parts.
Grading is Based on 100 Points
a. 50% Class participation, weekly conducting, conducting performance exams
b. 10% Mid-term conducting exam
c. 40% Final conducting exam
(A 90-100, B 80-89, C 70-79, D 60-69, F 59 and lower )
Penalty for Late or Missed Work
Assignments are due on the dates stated in the Course Schedule. Students may not make up a missed test or assignment due to an unexcused absence. Missed tests or assignments due to excused absences can only be made up at a time appointed by the instructor. You must notify the instructor of an excused absence before the absence occurs.
Class participation is essential. Students will be involved not only as conductors but as attentive and encouraging ensemble members. When we are conducting vocal music, you are expected to sing. When we are conducting instrumental music, you are expected to bring your instrument and play (if you are an instrumental major) or sing one of the assigned instrumental parts. Cell phones and other electronic devices should be turned off.
- Attendance is REQUIRED as your presence as a performer is crucial in order for your colleagues to be successful. HALF A GRADE WILL BE DEDUCTED FOR EACH UNEXCUSED ABSENCE. If you must be absent for any important reason, see your instructor prior to the absence. In emergency situations where the above is not possible, see the instructor as soon as possible. Punctuality is also graded. Students arriving after 11:30 a.m. will be marked late. Three late marks will count as an unexcused absence. Class attendance will be recorded – it is your responsibility to ensure that you sign in at the beginning of each class. Failure to sign in will count as an unexcused absence.
- In-class conducting assignments will be evaluated by means of oral comments.
- Students are expected to bring their instruments to every class and play in an ad hoc ensemble that will serve as our lab orchestra.
- Since this is a practical course, every student can expect to conduct at least every other class.
- There will be two practical exams – a mid-term exam on conducting technique and a final exam on the following aspects of conducting:
- Mixed meters (10%)
- Recitative conducting (10%)
- Conducting an excerpt (10%)
- Fermatas (10%)
Consent for Recording of Class and Public Sharing of Instructor Material
Recording requires students to obtain instructor’s permission to record the course.
Course material developed by the instructor is the intellectual property of the instructor and cannot be shared publicly without his/her approval. You may not publicly share or upload instructor generated material for this course such as exam questions, lecture notes, or homework solutions without instructor consent.
Instances of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Cheating on exams or plagiarism (presenting the work of another as your own, or the use of another person’s ideas without giving proper credit) will result in a failing grade and sanctions by the University. For this class, all assignments are to be completed by the individual student unless otherwise specified.
Schedule is subject to change. Changes will be sent via Nest email.
WEEK ONE: September 5 – INTRODUCTION
Wednesday: Course Introduction, Choosing a Baton, Role of Conductor, Basic Pulse, Connection to Breath, Terms, Intro to Patterns
Assignments: Purchase Baton and text book Baton Basics
WEEK TWO: September 10, 12 – BODY & POSTURE
Monday: The Body: Posture, Space, Presence
Wednesday: The Body: Feet, Arms, Shoulders
Exercises: Lift Arms/Drop Arms
Readings: Baton Basics, Chapter 1 (pg.1-21)
WEEK THREE: September 17, 19 – BEAT & PROPORTION
Monday: Single Beat and Beat Proportion
Wednesday: The Baton and Creating Motion and Gesture
Exercises: Single Beat, Various Tempi, Duple/Triple Proportions
Readings: Baton Basics, Chapter 1 (pg.22-38)
Assignments: Prepare Beethoven Symphony 5 excerpt (1-Beat/Duple)
WEEK FOUR: September 24, 26 – CONDUCT BEETHOVEN 5
Monday: Conduct: Beethoven Symphony 5 excerpt
Wednesday: NO CLASS
Exercises: Baton: Single Beat, Various Tempi, Duple/Triple Proportions
Readings: Baton Basics, Chapter 2
Assignments: Practice in mirror
WEEK FIVE: October 1, 3 – BASIC PATTERNS 1-4
Monday: Beat Patterns: 1, 2, 3, 4
Wednesday: NO CLASS
Exercises: 1-4 Beat Patterns, Various Tempi, Duple/Triple Proportions
Readings: Review Baton Basics, Chapter 2
Assignments: Practice in mirror
WEEK SIX: October 8, 10 – MOTION AND GESTURE AND SOUND
Monday: Connecting to Sound – Motion and Gesture: staccato/legato
Wednesday: NO CLASS
Readings: Baton Basics, Chapter 3
Assignments: Prepare Tchaikovsky Symph. 4 Scherzo/Bach Orch. Suite 1 Forlane
WEEK SEVEN: October 15, 17 – BEAT PREPARATION
Monday: Conduct: Tchaikovsky Symph. 4 Scherzo & Beat Preparation
Wednesday: Conduct: Bach Orch. Suite 1 Forlane & The Left Hand
Exercises: Independence Exercises/Prep Exercises
Readings: Review Baton Basics, Chapter 3
Assignments: Prepare Bach Jesus Joy of Mans Desiring/ Handel Water Music Suite 2
WEEK EIGHT: October 22, 24 – EVALUATION I
Monday: Conduct: Bach Jesus Joy of Mans Desiring
Wednesday: CONDUCTING EVALUATION I:
Conduct: Handel Water Music Suite 2 “Hornpipe”
Exercises: 1-4 Beat Patterns – left hand independence
Readings: Baton Basics, Chapter 4
Assignments: Clefs and Transposition Hand-out
WEEK NINE: October 29, 31 – COMBINING GESTURES
Monday: Accents & Syncopations
Wednesday: Cues & Cut-offs
Exercises: Accents, Syncopations, Cues, Cut-offs on all beats & patterns 1-4
Readings: Review Baton Basics, Chapter 4
Assignments: Prepare Beethoven Symphony 6 mvnt. II
WEEK TEN: November 5, 7 – BEETHOVEN 6
Monday: NO CLASS
Wednesday: Conduct: Beethoven 6 mvnt. II
Exercises: Practice staccato/legato in patterns 1-4 with (duple/triple)
Readings: Baton Basics, Chapter 5
Assignments: Prepare Beethoven 5 Finale excerpt
WEEK ELEVEN: November 12, 14 – CONTROLLNG TEMPO & FERMATAS
Monday: Changing tempo (Accel./Rit.) & Fermatas
Wednesday: Conduct: Beethoven 5 Finale excerpt (accelerando)
Exercises: staccato/legato, patterns 1-4 with accel./rit. & fermatas (all beats)
Readings: Review Baton Basics, Chapter 5
Assignments: Prepare Dvorak 8 Finale excerpt
WEEK TWELVE: November 19, 21 – IRREGULAR METERS
Monday: Conduct: Dvorak Symphony 8 Finale excerpt (ritardando)
Wednesday: Irregular Meters 6, 8, 9, 12 & Odd Meters 5, 7
Exercises: Beat Patterns 5-12 (Duple/Triple Proportions)
Readings: Baton Basics, Chapter 6
Assignments: Score Study Handout
WEEK THIRTEEN: November 26, 28 – ACCOMPANIED RECITATIVE
Monday: What is recit.? Language and listening. Magic Flute
Wednesday: Conduct: Magic Flute exerpt Die Weisheitslehere (Tamino)
Exercises: Listen to multiple recordings.
Assignments: Prepare Magic Flute excerpt
WEEK FOURTEEN: December 3, 5 – MIXED METERS
Monday: Mixed Meters. Discus Samarov excerpt
Wednesday: Conduct: Samarov excerpt (mixed meter)
Exercises: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 Beat Patterns
Readings: Baton Basics, Chapter 7
Assignments: Prepare for Final: Elgar Enigma Theme and Variation I
WEEK FIFTEEN: December 10 – PRACTICE FOR FINAL
Monday: Conduct: Elgar Enigma Theme and Variation I
Wednesday: NO CLASS
Assignments: Practice for Final
WEEK SIXTEEN: December 19
Wednesday, December 19, 1:00pm-3:00pm
Final Conducting Evaluation and Exam
Conduct: Elgar Enigma Theme and Variation I