The conducting programme at the Academy provides a comprehensive and integrated programme for you to examine the art of conducting and the role and responsibilities of the professional conductor.


Below you will find a list of the types of classes and modules that have been on offer at the Academy.

Core Modules

The CPDDip in Conducting is an intensive course over one year. Applicants are encouraged to take full advantage of their time at the Academy by being available for as much of the year as possible. The course contents can be flexible, particularly in terms two and three, during which it can be shaped and directed, in consultation with the Head of Conducting, to suit the applicant and their specific development goals. We understand that applicants will have a variety of professional backgrounds and prior experiences (and flexibility will be given, wherever possible in terms of external and internal opportunities) but it is essential that applicants will be comfortable studying in a class setting where the other students may be considerably younger, as this is where the majority of the practical training takes place. In our experience, the combination of experienced professionals and younger students is mutually beneficial.

Areas covered by the programme include:

· Detailed technical training in weekly classes with two professional pianists, working mainly on symphonic repertoire

· Masterclasses with visiting professional conductors and teachers

· Fortnightly one-to-one tutorials

· Guided ensemble and orchestral sessions, with post-session video analysis

· Regular aural training

Additional skills include:

· Collective sessions with the choral conducting class on shared repertoire

· Assessed accompaniment session with soloists and orchestra

· Collaborations with composers

· Participation with singers on opera scenes

Theoretical underpinning

· A wide range of Professional Skills sessions are available that run parallel to the Principal Study

· Seminars on score study and analysis

· Access to all ‘open’ masterclasses at the Academy

· Support for project and programme planning

· Reflective practice and evaluation


In the second term, students plan their own creative project, which will usually be performed at the Academy* early in the third term. This project is observed and informally assessed. Students also keep a reflective journal over the course of the programme, using it to produce a written portfolio. The practical project and the portfolio provide material for a viva voce (pass/fail only). The core aim of this programme is to provide opportunities for practical training and personal development. To allow for flexibility and personalisation, this CPD Diploma is not credit-bearing.

*In some cases the performance may need to be booked at an outside venue.

Department Classes
And Activities

In addition to weekly individual lessons, as a conducting student at the Academy you will participate in:

Conducting and Baton Technique

You will learn and practise beating patterns, and the means to communicate your musical intentions through gesture.

Concerts and Collaborations

The Conducting Faculty regularly collaborates with departments across the Academy. You will work with singers from Royal Academy Opera and from the Vocal Faculty. You will work on twentieth-century and twenty-first-century repertoire, and on premieres of new works by Composition students. You will conduct a variety of ensembles in rehearsals, workshops and concerts within the Academy and have opportunities to organise your own projects.

Rehearsal Observation

The Academy regularly invites highly celebrated and famous conductors from all over the world to conduct orchestral and operatic performances with our students. You will have many opportunities to observe their rehearsals and often the Head of Conducting will organise lessons or discussions with visiting artists, which allows you to meet and interact with leading professionals.

Repertoire classes and Masterclasses

These take place throughout the year and students analyse, discuss and practise core repertoire under the guidance and expertise of Academy professors, Visiting Professors, composers and guest artists. You will study a broad range of styles including contemporary music, early music, concerto and mainstream repertoire.

Aural, Keyboard Skills and Score-reading

In these classes, you will be able to hone some practical skills necessary for good rehearsal technique, such as fluency in instrument transposition and baton technique, as well as studying important sources such as original manuscripts or personal scores belonging to conductors such as Sir Georg Solti, Sir Charles Mackerras and Sir Colin Davis. Keyboard skills are not an essential requirement for entry onto the programme but there are opportunities to develop these should you wish to do so.


In addition to these regular classes and tutorials, a series of ‘professional development’ seminars are arranged, in which Academy professors and outside experts are invited to work with our conductors for example, in history and performance style, for analysis and for programme building and planning. There are also sessions with Patrick Russill (Head of Choral Conducting) where you have a chance to gain experience in choral repertoire and conducting.

Open Days

Open Days are the perfect way to discover more about the Academy and whether it’s the right place for you.

Find out practical information about the application process, finances and career development on the Open Days Home Page.

Woodwind players in a large group rehearsal