Welcome to ConductIT MOOC!

This short course is designed as a free-standing introduction to the art of conducting. You do not need to have conducted any kind of ensemble to be able to complete the course, although you will have to be familiar with music notation in order to engage fully with the technical and analytical aspects of the course.

As you are studying this MOOC you probably already know that a conductor is the person who stands and waves his or her arms around in front of a choir, band or orchestra, but what does a conductor really do? How do they prepare for a concert? What are the fundamental skills and techniques of a conductor? Why do we need a conductor and who thought conducting was a good idea and started doing it in the first place? These basic questions are the starting point for this MOOC.

In each section, you will be introduced to some essential elements of conducting, both practical and theoretical. However, there are opportunities to follow each strand in greater depth as there are links to much more detailed information as well as to a library of videos on the main ConductIT website. Each of these resources offers insights into the philosophy and psychology of conducting as well as practical elements of rehearsal techniques and analysing scores.

How to study this MOOC 

This course has four main sections. First, click on CONTENT on the top menu to get access to the area you would like to explore. A contents menu will appear on your left-hand side with all the sections listed. You can move around freely between the sections using this menu, or from page to page via the blue arrow buttons at the bottom of each page. 

On many pages, you will see tabs across the top with activities and discussions. Make sure you read each of these tabs before progressing to the next page. If you want to move quickly to the next section, click the arrow at the bottom of the page.  

The course contains the following content: 

Texts, films, music scores and interactions like drag-and-drop tasks and multiple-choice quizzes. There are also other tasks for practice and reflection and a feedback questionnaire in the end.


  • To introduce basic techniques including correct posture, use of the baton and beat patterns
  • To demonstrate principles of effective rehearsal 
  • To understand key theoretical concepts in score analysis
  • To identify some of the qualities of leadership required of a conductor

How much time will the course take?

This MOOC works on a flexible model and you can spend as much or as little time on it as you like, depending on what you want to achieve. Some activities can be done on screen as you read though, other activities are most effective is also practised by working with other musicians. Score preparation may be done with a printed copy of a score away from the computer, or you can work through the analysis online. We have suggested some minimum time to spend on each activity, but this is not prescriptive, and it is up to the individual to choose how long to work on each one. With this in mind, you can work through the MOOC in several ways.

  1. If you are just curious about conducting, you can read through this MOOC without engaging with the practical or analytical activities. This will take 6-8 hours of study time.
  2. If, on the other hand you are already an aspiring conductor, you can choose to spend time working on specific elements. Each additional activity will add to the length of time you will spend studying.
  3. For committed conducting students, there are points throughout the course where you will be directed to more detailed information and resources for in-depth study elsewhere on the ConductIT website.

If you spend time on each technique, reflecting on your own practice and absorbing advice through listening to and observing some of the leading conductors in the world represented in the library of videos, you may spend many hours.

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