Phase 1.5

“I came away from the workshop with new techniques, ideas and more confidence. I rediscovered the enjoyment of learning something new – of reaching out of my comfort zone.” Kirsty Devaney, participant

Led by Alice Farnham, this 1-day workshop is aimed at female music professionals with little experience in conducting who would like to achieve greater proficiency at it, either as a principal focus or as part of a varied musical career.

The workshop is usually for eight participants. They explore some basic philosophies and techniques of conducting with Alice then have the chance to work with a professional five-strong string ensemble. Throughout, Alice offers guidance and encouragement.

Following each workshop, 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 Workshops

Who is eligible to apply?

Phase 1.5 workshops are tailored to women, aged 18 and over, pursuing a career in music (as performers, educators or composers). Optimally you should have some elemental experience of conducting, even in a purely amateur setting. Nonetheless, you should now be keen to make this a more significant part of your career, either outright or complementing your other musical endeavours. In your application, you should tell us why you would value this experience at this particular moment in your career and how it may help your longer term aspirations. All applicants must be familiar with the basic principles of beating time and be able to read a five-part musical score. Those granted places will be asked to familiarise themselves with several short pieces prior to attending.

In exceptional circumstances, we may consider candidates who have not been able till now to try their hand at conducting but have exceptional musical proficiencies otherwise, but usually they should seek a place on a Phase 1 workshop.

How can I apply?

Applicants must complete an online application by the closing date. You will find these on the dedicated page for each workshop (see ‘Upcoming Workshops’ 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 workshop 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 1.5 is £125, covering a full day 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 workshop. 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.

For observers, tickets are usually £15 per session (usually the first session of each workshop is closed for participants only: see the dedicated page for each workshop to find out which sessions may be observed and how to request a place.)

Any further questions?

If you have any queries about Phase 1 workshops or are not sure if it’s right for you, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Sir Nicholas Kenyon, Managing Director, Barbican Centre: The Royal Philharmonic Society has been a revolutionary force for good in my musical life.


Before there were traffic lights: coachmen delivering audience members to Philharmonic Society concerts at the Harmonic Institution were asked to ‘set down and take up with their horses’ heads facing Piccadilly’.