Phase 1

"A truly inspiring course that provided a great starting point for my conducting studies."
Felicity Cliffe, participant

Led by Alice Farnham, this 2-day course is aimed at encouraging female music students aged 16 and over, as well as individuals who have recently completed their studies and are embarking on a career in music (as performers or educators), to pick up the baton and take to the conductor's podium for the very first time. You may be an absolute beginner or have a little experience on which you'd now like to build.

The course is usually for 12 participants. They explore some of the principles of conducting with Alice then have the chance to work with professional performers: initially two pianists and then a five-strong string ensemble. Throughout, Alice offers guidance and encouragement. They will also work with specialist coach Alma Sheehan on physicality, posture and confidently making an impression on your fellow performers and audience.

Following each course, participants are sent footage of themselves in action to review at home, and are invited to join the RPS’ social network for all our course participants and leaders where they can seek encouragement, ask questions and establish helpful contacts for the future.

Upcoming Courses

The next Phase 1 course will take place at City of London School for Girls on 7 and 8 December.

    Applications for this course are now closed. If you play a stringed instrument at Grade 7-8 standard and are interested to volunteer for the course ensemble, please get in touch with YeYe Xu to express your interest.

    Who is eligible to apply?

    Phase 1 courses are tailored to women aged 16 and over, completely new to conducting and interested in trying it, as well as those with very elemental conducting experience who would like to build on their skills. You may be a music student at A-Level, undergraduate or postgraduate level; you may be embarking on your career in music, or midway through a musical career and contemplating how to further your musical skills. All applicants should have a fundamental understanding of what conductors do, as well as – naturally – the ability to read music including a basic musical score. Those granted places will be asked to familiarise themselves with several short pieces prior to attending.

    How can I apply?

    Applicants must complete an online application by the closing date. You will find these on the dedicated page for each course (see ‘Upcoming Courses’ above). Places are subject to availability and applications are assessed before your place is confirmed.

    A limited number of places are available for people with dedicated musical interests to observe part of the course rather than fully participate in it. This may interest you if you are contemplating a course like this in future but aren’t sure if it’s right for you now, or would like to learn more generally about the principles of conducting, or if the course was oversubscribed and we could not grant you a place as a participant.

    How much does it cost

    For participants, Phase 1 is £200, covering two complete days of specialist coaching and practical sessions with performing musicians. Basic refreshments are also provided. Payment is only requested on confirmation of your place on the course. Candidates facing financial difficulties may indicate in their application that they would like to be considered for a bursary: a limited number of these can be granted to those most in need, constituting a discount on the full fee.

    Friends and family of the participants are welcome to attend the final afternoon session at no cost and should let us know in advance if they would like to reserve a place.

    Any further questions?

    If you have any queries about Phase 1 courses or are not sure whether it’s right for you, please feel free to contact us.


    Bob Lockyer: Seeing and hearing new dance with a specially composed score is exciting. That's why I asked the RPS to look after the Drummond Fund.


    In 1824 the Philharmonic Society paid Beethoven 50 pounds to commission his 9th Symphony.