During the first full week of January, I had a wonderful time of taking a week long module conducting class for my masters program in music. The class was taught by the distinguished Dr. David Brown, and the week was packed with tons of learning.

The class was scheduled from 8:30 AM to between 4:30 and 5:00 PM most days. On Tuesday, class was let out about 2:40 which gave us a welcome head start to plunge into working on homework. After class each day, there was a boatload of homework which kept me up until two or three in the morning. The homework included watching recordings of master conductors including Robert Shaw, Mack Wilberg, Leonard Bernstein, Anton Armstrong, Gustavo Dudamel, and many others. Most of the recordings were at least thirty minutes with several being closer to one and a half hours long, and one was even two and a half hours. With each of the recordings, we were to write detailed reports on what the conductor did and how it was accomplished. It was fascinating to see how each conductor’s personality shown through, and how each one was able to draw so much out of their choir and/or orchestra.

Each day, we also practiced conducting the pieces we were working on during the week. Another beneficial assignment was reading and summarizing articles on topics such as vocal health and rehearsal techniques. Another assignment that will prove to be greatly beneficial in the future was introducing us to choralnet.org where we were able to ask questions concerning the choir world and receive magnificent advice and tips from other conductors. During the week, Dr. Brown helped us improve our conducting via private lessons as well as having us direct in front of the class followed by a group discussion.

The climax of the week was when we recording ourselves conducing the following pieces:

“Symphony no. 6,” movement 1, by Beethoven

“Zadok the Priest,” by George Frederic Handel

“The Eyes of All Wait Upon Thee,” by Jean Berger

“Locus Iste,” by Anton Bruckner

“Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich,” (from Cantata 150), by J. S. Bach

“Halleluiah Chorus,” from Messiah, by G. F. Handel.

We did not have live choirs and orchestras to conduct so we used recordings. However, with the next conducting module this summer, we will have a live choir and orchestra to conduct and that will be very exciting. I am looking forward to learning even more as I continue to work on my music masters program.

Here are some recordings of the work I did in the conducting module plus a couple of recordings from a similar project completed in the Advanced Conducting class in my undergrad. Some of the pieces were quite lengthy so I will only show portions of the pieces.




Answer to the previous blog post’s question:

Towards the end of the 1700’s, sailors from Portugal first brought the ukulele to Hawaii, and now Hawaii is an island often associated with ukuleles.