by Peter Stark

Instrumental Conducting Courses

Peter Stark’s courses are short, intensive and focus on the individual. By operating in small groups (maximum eight students), emphasis is placed on observing and discussing skills and difficulties, as demonstrated in workshop sessions. Communication, baton technique and posture (Alexander Technique included) are at the heart of the work.

Courses in ‘Instrumental Conducting’. (Limited to 8 students per course, so early booking is advised.)

  • Course 55: April 10 – 12 (currently fully subbed)
  • Course 56: July 3 – 5
  • Course 57: September 4 – 6

There are a number of very fine conducting courses available throughout the world. Those at senior conservatoire level provide focused individual tuition combined with opportunities to conduct orches-tras and ensembles but obviously require a commitment to full time study for a number of years. Various summer schools and other courses operate on a much shorter time scale so are more ap-plicable to those students who cannot invest such a commitment of time, but by their nature can use students in large and even unwieldy numbers, thereby reducing the individual focus that is so often critical to the participant.

Peter Stark’s courses focus on the individual, with emphasis on observing and discussing skills and difficulties. Groups are small, with a maximum of eight students. Communication, baton technique and posture (with emphasis on Alexander Technique) are investigated. Discussion sessions are an-alytical and critical, but offered within a supportive context. Every member of the course should go away with a clear idea of how he/she comes across in a working situation, and how to proceed to-wards further development in their own environment.

Baton technique is discussed in detail, but as a means to an end rather than an end in itself. The communication of body language, rehearsal technique and posture are also investigated, the latter under the watchful eye of Rachel Erdos, our ‘resident’ Alexander Technique teacher. Technique is viewed as a way of communicating advanced musical ideas – phrasing, balance, architecture etc. – and as a language by which one communicates concepts and thoughts. Practical sessions are video recorded, the results being made available at cost price to each participant at the end of the course.

The courses are aimed at anyone from advanced student to professional. They cater for those who have purpose and vision, rather than just conducting experience. There is no orchestra to work with; instead the class forms an ad hoc ensemble for practical sessions. This preserves the privacy that is necessary to foster in-depth criticism, but also allows constructive help to whoever is directing. Each course focuses on 2-3 study works, which are chosen to provide challenges for the director rather than to intimidate the players.


The one-day seminars run from 10.00 until 18.00 each day, and are aimed at those who want a comprehensive introduction to the art of conducting. Basic techniques are investigated, together with an investigation into the importance of posture and psychology. Light-hearted but informative the seminar is designed to help those who have to direct ensembles and choirs, but who have had little or no training.


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Daniel Elms, Composer

I can happily say that your course is, quite simply, one of the best things I have ever done and I thank you for sharing your wisdom and support with all of us. I feel like I have come away with an addiction and I am longing to stand in front of a group of musicians and feel 'that' feeling again — what a glorious thing!


Daniel Elms Composer 29/10/2015

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