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.

Classes & activities

The Academy’s Professional Diploma is a one-of-a-kind programme for students who are looking for a specially tailored extra year of study to provide a competitive edge in building a career.

It is a highly focused combination of one-to-one tuition and professional development activity built around the needs of each individual student in consultation with the ProfDip Programme Tutor and the relevant Head of Department. Applicants will normally have completed a master’s degree but the programme is available to all applicants of the appropriate standard.

The programme uses a range of teaching methods to ensure that students’ learning processes are stimulating, challenging, diverse and complementary. The principal modes of teaching are summarised below::

  • Individual lessons for Principal Study

    Regular one-to-one work with a Principal Study teacher underpins the core aims of the programme. This working environment (which is a defining feature of specialist conservatoire training) is designed to foster the passing on of discipline-specific professional/artistic practices, and to enable students to develop key professional skills that relate directly to their individual abilities and artistry: musical technique, interpretation skills, repertoire building, programme/portfolio building; audition techniques, and so on. Principal Study accounts for 100% of the degree for Prof Dip.

  • Performance classes

    These classes provide a bridge between one-to-one tuition, masterclasses, and concert performances. They allow students to present work-in-progress and receive informal feedback from departmental staff and from their peers.

  • Masterclasses

    Masterclasses provide students with opportunities to present work to students and members of the public). Like performance classes, masterclasses complement one-to-one tuition by widening the range of interpretative judgment to which the students are subject. They are designed to expose students to the very highest international professional standards and provide additional high-profile performance opportunities.

  • Lectures

    Ensemble and Directed Ensemble coaching is the means by which small or large groups of performers receive one-to-one tuition in preparation for concert performances.

  • Seminars

    Seminars are designed to encourage the sharing of ideas and the development of structured arguments and debating skills.

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 (Fernside Head of Choral Conducting) where you have a chance to gain experience in choral repertoire and conducting.

Artistic Excellence

We welcome the finest students from around the world to learn and perform alongside globally renowned artists, ensuring they benefit from a music-making environment of the highest quality.

Discover more here.