Conducting Skills For Composers

Conducting Skills For Composers

Benjamin Northey
Melbourne, Australia

Conducting Skills For Composers

Question: 

I'm an aspiring film composer living in Melbourne. My first instrument is the drum kit, however I also play guitar, sax and piano to an intermediate level. I am currently studying a post grad dip. in orchestration (by correspondence) through the University of Chichester, UK, but also want to develop my conducting skills. I've recently been arranging music for the College Orchestra where I teach, and I run various ensembles there, however I'm not quite sure where to look to work on improving my conducting skills specifically. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks very much!

Answer:

Hi, and thanks for the question.  There a few opportunities to hone conducting skills, but outside a full-blown tertiary course there are some short intensive courses out there. Melbourne Youth Music for example hold a conducting course as part of their annual summer school in January.  Melbourne Symphony have some professional development classes, mainly for teachers, but I think they are open to a wide range of people.  There is The Beat Starts Here run by Symphony Services International which is open to all and I took that this year.  I’m sure there are other classes out there, but of course you are doing the right thing by conducting your own arrangements.  There is no substitute for doing it!  Make a video of some of these and send them in - I’d be happy to provide some feedback.  All best with your composition too. Ben