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Introduction

Module 4 begins with perhaps the most crucial task a conductor undertakes: score study. Score study is the umbrella term for the process of thoroughly learning a score-- not just knowing how to sing the melody or memorizing phrases and meters--but learning every aspect of the music that may come to bear on our ability to interpret, conduct, rehearse, and perform it. Unlike many grammatical aspects of conducting, score study is a time-consuming, immersive activity for which it is normal to develop one’s own process, assuming the end result is a deep understanding of the work. After score study, Module 4 moves back to the grammar of conducting, particularly technique for conducting articulations. Please note that this week also contains a very brief introduction to the three types of fermatas. In Module 5 we’ll cover them in detail. These are topics for which regular practice and self-evaluation will be necessary to develop gestures that are clear to the ensemble and second-nature to the conductor. Finally, we will return to “The Rehearsal Toolkit” and explore strategies for rehearsing articulation, balance, and tone. This final topic includes a video on using the piano to demonstrate harmonies and other musical features to the ensemble. Particularly in educational settings, it is important for the conductor to do more than treat the ensemble as his personal musical instrument. Instead, find opportunities to lead ensembles to an understanding of the music it is performing, a goal that only score study makes possible.

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