These days were developed in response to a request from the Head of Wrexham Music Services in North Wales to run a Staff Training Day in conducting for the peripatetic instrumental teachers. The day proved so successful that Nic was immediately engaged for a return visit. Soon afterwards similar days were organised by Flintshire Music Services.
The format of the day is flexible, taking into account factors such as the number of participants and which instruments are available. Advice and instruction are given on:
The importance of good posture and how to foster confidence and convey authority through a core stillness
Basic beating patterns
More advanced baton techniques and how to convey musical ideas through the beat
Learning scores and planning rehearsals
Rehearsing efficiently and in such a way that all the players feel engaged at all times
Typically in the latter part of the day an ensemble is formed by the participants. Sometimes a keyboard player can be asked to fill in any missing parts. Repertoire requiring a variety of styles, tempi and beating patterns is chosen, musically stimulating but not so technically taxing for either players or conductor as to be frustrating. This is often brought specially for the day but occasionally pieces previously formed by staff ensembles have been used successfully. Participants then receive individual instruction conducting the ensemble.
Help is given, often with the aid of demonstration, in all aspects of conducting technique – confidence in giving an up-beat and achieving the desired tempo; rallentando and accelerando; negotiating pauses; cut-offs; changing time-signatures, and so on. For participants with more experience there is time to delve further into such matters as to how to affect the sound by varying the beat. Attention is given at all times to the importance of feeling at ease and confident when standing in front of a group of players, of whatever age.
The workshops take place in a friendly and mutually supportive atmosphere. While the work is serious – and often significant personal transformations can take place in a short space of time – no-one is ever made to feel uncomfortable or pressurised into attempting anything for which they feel unready or unwilling. If you would be interested in organising a Training Day please use the form in Contacts for details of availability, fees etc
...the most useful Training Days that I have had in nineteen years of being a music peripatetic teacher.
I now feel much more confident when standing in front of my string orchestra
The...sessions had been carefully prepared to suit everybody regardless of their current level of expertise
......definitely one of the best...professional development courses I have experienced in my twenty years in education’
[The workshop] has given me so much more confidence when I am in front of an orchestra. I now feel that I have the basis of a technique that helps encourage my students, rather than the opposite!
Nic was always patient and understanding without making me feel in any way inadequate about my lack of expertise and experience.’ ‘The lessons I learnt conducting with Nic have helped me enormously and my pupils are reaping the rewards.