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The Department of Liturgical Music of the Orthodox Church in America again will be offering an on-line course, “Choral Conducting for Beginners,” beginning September 16, 2019.

“The class sessions are devoted to demonstrating basic conducting technique, beginning with elementary conducting patterns and concluding with an emphasis on conducting liturgical chant. The course will be limited to twelve participants.” said Prof. David Drillock, department chair, who will teach the course.

The course will consist of 12 sessions, covered over a period of 13 weeks.

The first half of the course concentrates on the relationship between text and music, accented and non-accented syllables, and in the first six sessions the practical exercises are focused on learning the basic beat patterns, conducting within the conducting plane, various forms of cutoffs, use of the left hand, basic dynamics, and analysis of the music used in the exercises and assignments.

Prof. Drillock added.  “The second half of the course will concentrate on techniques of conducting chant, singing in phrases, analyzing specific examples of both metered and unmetered music, and preparing music for conducting.”

Choral Conducting for Beginners is an on-line course with class sessions posted at weekly intervals on the course web site (OCA Moodle). Once the session is posted on the website, students in the class can access the course at any time of the day.  The learner is expected to have completed the weekly assignments and be proficient in the conducting exercises by Friday of the week in which each session has been posted.  The learner should plan on spending at least an hour per day practicing the conducting exercises assigned in each session.

Each learner is required to meet interactively with the instructor via Skype for a 30-minute session each week.  These sessions provide an opportunity for each individual learner to demonstrate his or her comprehension of each session and the ability to perform the conducting exercises correctly.  At these interactive meetings, the learner will receive necessary feedback from the instructor together with helpful suggestions for improvement.  Such one-on-one real time Skype sessions also will enable the instructor to provide extra help and answer specific questions.  Following each Skype session, written evaluations are provided to each participant.

The instructor for the course, Prof. Drillock, is Professor Emeritus of Liturgical Music at Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, Yonkers, NY.  Dr Mark Pearson, who designed the on-line course format, will provide technical support and program assistance.  Dr. Pearson has recently retired from Earlham College, where he was Instructional Technologist and Course Designer managing all aspects of the college’s Moodle Learning Management System. 

Directions for submitting the course fee of $275.00, made payable to the Orthodox Church in America, are included on the registration form.  The on-line course is limited to 12 students on a first come first served basis, and registration will be closed on August 25, 2019. 

Participants will need a laptop or desktop computer (the course may not work with ipad or iphone type devices), together with an internet connection, and be prepared to install the Skype application (which is free), and create a user account if they do not already have one.