These courses are unique; analysis, communication skills and body use form the foundation of our study. We can help you to get better through clarity and observation!
Courses in ‘The learning Conductor - Silent Conducting Course’. (Limited to 8 students per course, so early booking is advised.) Course dates for 2024: Course 76: 12 - 15 February 2024 Course 77: 2 - 5 September 2024 Course 78: 28 - 31 October 2024 Location: Rockbourne village, Hampshire Peter Stark’s unique courses focus on the individual, with an emphasis on observing and discussing skills and difficulties. The class is small, with a maximum of only ten students. Communication, body use (with emphasis on Alexander Technique) and baton skills are investigated in great depth. Discussion sessions are analytical and critical but given within a supportive environment. Every member of the course should go away with a clear idea of how he/she comes across, and how to proceed towards further development in their own surroundings. 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 physical awareness is also investigated, the latter under the watchful eye of Rachel Erdos, our ‘resident’ Alexander Technique teacher. The 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. Much is made of how silence can be used to create effect and message. This radical approach is the heart of our work; conducting is essentially a silent activity, but one that always practises with sound. Strip away the noise and the conductor’s ability to communicate becomes clear. Courses are aimed at anyone from students to professionals. They cater for those who have purpose and vision, rather than conducting experience. As there is no music to work with we can preserve the privacy that is necessary to foster in-depth criticism. Peter Stark’s wealth of experience provides a background where each and every participant cannot fail to learn and improve. Most teachers pass their knowledge on to the next generation; Peter’s reason for teaching is to feed his own learning.
A note from Peter - Exploring the silent conducting course
Many of you have asked about my new silent conducting courses; ‘The Learning Conductor’.
I have always found that the traditional way of teaching and learning conducting is flawed by the music-making; whether two pianos, orchestral masterclass or making a little ensemble from the members of the course it is always somehow unsatisfactory. There is obviously some benefit from the experience of standing in front of a group, but the learning that goes on is always second-rate. Even if you have an orchestra there, you cannot learn whilst you are being overshadowed by a teacher who simply tells you not to do it like that! You are not in charge of the orchestra, so you are not conducting.
Conducting in its basic form is a silent activity, so we should learn to be able to do it without players there in order to delve more deeply. This means learning how to do it before anything else. Just because there is no sound doesn’t mean there is no music!
Most young conductors crave a better technique, but few actually make themselves learn one; few really know the score they are conducting because they don’t know how to learn one, and most have a real lack of understanding of physiology, psychology or body use.
This is a fairly radical way of studying this wonderful art. It is designed to appeal to those who are desperate to learn rather than those who just desire the podium time. How do you learn a score? How much do you about how your body is designed? How much are you aware of the psychology of the professional musician? This explains something of my change of focus, and therefore why courses are now silent. I am thrilled to follow this new direction!