Instrumental Conducting

Course Details

Course Number
MUSC 4853
Section Number
MUSC 4853
Fall 2014
Fain Instrumental Music Hall
Classroom Number
Days & Times

Tuesday, Thursday 9:30 - 10:50 AM

Dr. Matthew David Luttrell (view Profile)

Course Attachments


Course Objectives


Instrumental Conducting is designed as a “capstone” course to provide students with a continuing study of artistic and professional issues related to three main areas: Music Education, Music Performance, and Music Administration. The design of the course allows the instructor as well as the students to progress in an environment that cultivates personal, social, and musical growth. Within this design, assignments are given in two main forms: Online Assignments (specifically completed online) and Classroom Assignments (work completed for in-class assessment). Assignments for this class reflect each of the three main areas, broken down into the following categories:

Music Performance (approximately 60% of the course load)

·       Continued Development of characteristic individual conducting skills as well as higher level psychological conducting

·       Performance Practice for Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Instrumental Ensemble (including Symphony Orchestra)

·       Rehearsal Techniques

·       Podium Leadership

·       Music Phrasology, Instrument Comprehension, and Transposition

·       Score Analysis

·       Listening Analysis

Music Education (approximately 20% of the course load)

·       Selection and Review of Quality Literature

·       Developing Lesson and Rehearsal Plans

·       Curriculum

·       Program Leadership Off the Podium

Music Administration (approximately 20% of the course load)

·        Contests and festivals

·        Budgeting

·        Music handbooks


Upon successful completion of MUSC 4853 the student will be able to:

·       Possess and utilize a complete repertoire of gestures, movements, and facial expressions designed to enhance ensemble preparation in rehearsal and performance.

·       Write a daily rehearsal schedule.

·       Discuss the contents of a program handbook.

·       Create a grading system for instrumental music.

·       Explain the development of budgets.

·       Locate music web quests and describe their application to secondary instrumental instruction.

·       Select concert, solo, and ensemble literature that is the appropriate level of difficulty for secondary music students.

·       Complete adjudication forms for ensemble auditions.

·       Create a concert program, including instructions regarding audience etiquette and advertisements.

·       Create a unified and systematic rehearsal plan for a large ensemble concert cycle.

·       Synthesize multiple approaches to the rehearsal process relating to large ensemble practice and performance.

Course Expectations



Assignments and Tests (50%)

Students are expected to turn in all assignments on time.  Assignments are due at the beginning of class.  Late assignments will only be accepted in the event of an excused absence. Assignments will be handed out prior no closer than one week to the date due.

Score Evaluations and Analyses

  1. Title:  Title, with opus or number; composer information; nationality and date; other information
  2. Information about this work: Background information; arranger, editor, transcriber; grade; duration; publisher; score type (full, condensed, compressed); and publication quality (score and parts)
  3. Other band compositions by this composer:  List title, year, and grade for each.
  4. Score review:  Instrumentation, scoring, form, and other observations
  5. General impressions.
  6. Composition resources:  Print and recordings.
  7. Composer resources:  Print and recordings.

Listening Assignments

Each week you will have two pieces of music for study. All of these pieces of literature can be found (quite easily) on Naxos through your MSU account. The list includes one piece of exceptional value. Each listening assignment shall include a one-page form (provided by the instructor) on the piece, describing in full detail the sounds that you hear. This assignment is due the Monday of each given week. These are graded on a completed/not-completed basis. They will not be handed back.

Midterm Exam (20%)

The midterm exam will be a comprehensive written test based on the material covered during the semester, including listening. A review guide will be provided no less than one week before the exam. This will reflect all of the work you have put in over the course of the semester (MUSC 4853).

Final Exam (20%)

The final exam will be a comprehensive written test based on the material covered during the semester, including listening. It will also include conducting a group of ensemble members. Ensemble(s) will be assigned by date of availability and literature selection is done in conjunction with the student and instructor.

Grading Standards


Recommended Materials


Battisti, F. (1995).  The twentieth century American wind/band ensemble:  History, development and literature.  Fort Lauderdale, FL: Meredith Music.

Battisti, F. (2002).  The winds of change.  Galesville, MD: Meredith Publications.

Cooper, L. G. (2004). Teaching band and orchestra. Chicago, IL: GIA Publications, Inc.

Fennell, F. (1954).  Time and the winds.  Kenosha, WI: LeBlanc Publications, Inc.

Whitwell, D. (1985).  A concise history of the wind band.  St. Louis, MO: Shattinger Music.

Various. Teaching Music through Performance. (Series) Chicago, IL: GIA Publications, Inc.

Bailey, W. (2009) Conducting: The Art of Communication. Oxford University Press.

This list could go on ……and on!


The grading will be represented by the following formula:

10% Attendance/Active Discussion/Participation                  

50% Listening Assignments and Conducting Examples                                             

20% Midterm Exam (w/ listening exam)

20% Final Exam (w/ listening exam)         


Grading Scale: Refer to University Code regarding + and – grading scale.


A = 90 – 100      B = 80 – 89       C = 70 – 79       D = 60 – 69       F = 0 – 59 

Final Exam

12/09/2014 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Submission Format Policy

Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.

Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception.

Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters.

We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student.

We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed.

Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, (940) 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement

The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor

All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Attendance Requirements


Attendance/Active Discussion/Participation (10%)

Students are expected to attend the class sessions and participate actively in discussions and presentations. 

Attendance Policy:  2 unexcused absences will result in the maximum grade of a B, 3 unexcused-maximum grade of C, 4 unexcused-maximum grade of D, any more and you should probably drop the class. This is your career. Make the most of it!

Excused absences are defined as illness (with a physician’s note), family emergency (with a release from the Dean of Students), or a University related event or activity (with prior approval).

This grade also includes all participation in large ensemble rehearsal. Everyone is expected to perform in the ensemble (as needed).

All students will be required to bring their instruments to class (this will be discussed in class). Your participation will be highly important to the structure of the class.


Other Policies


TENTATIVE LECTURE/TOPIC SCHEDULE                                                       

8/27          Syllabus review/Music Education: Buzz Words: Educator – Teacher – Musician – Conductor                                     

8/29          Personal Philosophy of Conducting/Diagnostic Exam (given three times, you must pass this to pass the course)   

9/3            Score Study: Overview                                                                                                                                        1

9/5            Transposition                                                                                                                                                        

9/10         Macro-Micro-Macro                                                                                                                                              2

9/12         Teaching the Elements of Music                                                                                                                       

9/17         The Basics of Conducting                                                                                                                                   3                                                                     

9/19         Preparatory Gestures                                                                                                                                           

9/24         Expression in Conducting                                                                                                                                   4                                                                     

9/26         Expression in Conducting                                                                                                                                 

10/1         Basic Releases                                                                                                                                                     5

10/3         Left Hand Releases                                                                                                                                                                 

10/8         Subdivision                                                                                                                                                            6               

10/10       Laban Technique and its applications to conducting movement                                                           

10/15       Midterm Examination                                                                                                                                           7

10/17       Advanced Techniques                                                                                                                                         

10/22       Articulations and Style                                                                                                                                         8                                                                     

10/24       Dynamics                                                                                                                                                                

10/29       Accented Pitches, Cues, Fermata                                                                                                                     9                                                                     

10/31       Tenuto                                                                                                                                                                      

11/5         Tempo Fluctuations and Maintenance                                                                                                             10                                                                  

11/7         Prep Beats for Syncopated Entrances                                                                                                             

11/12       Mixed Patterns, Unmetered, and Timed Measures                                                                                        11                              

11/14       Use of the Left Hand                                                                                                                                            

11/19       Error Detection – Rhythm/Articulation/Style                                                                                                    12

11/21       Error Detection – Rhythm/Articulation/Style                                                                                             

11/26       Error Detection – Pitch/Intonation/Dynamics/Balance                                                                                  13                                                                  

11/28       NO CLASS - Thanksgiving

12/3         Error Detection – Pitch/Intonation/Dynamics/Balance                                                                                   14                                                                                                                                          

12/5         Final Wrap Up                                                                                                                                                      


12/10       FINAL EXAM (8:00-10:00 AM)

Writing Proficiency Requirement

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