Department of Liturgical Music offers on-line directing course

David Drillock

The Department of Liturgical Music of the Orthodox Church in America will be offering an on-line course, “Choral Conducting for Beginners,” beginning September 23, 2013.

“The course was offered last year on a trial basis in the Diocese of New York-New Jersey and is now open to any beginning choir director or person who is currently conducting a church choir but has not completed a formal conducting course,” said Prof. David Drillock, department chair, who will teach the course.  “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 ten participants.”

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

“The relationship between text and music, accented and non-accented syllables, will be emphasized in the first six sessions and the practical exercises will be focused on learning the basic beat patterns, 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 “asynchronous” on-line course, meaning that the class sessions are not fixed at a set time period.  Once the session is posted on the web site, learners in the class can participate at a time of day that is convenient.  The class meets at no particular time, is of no specific length, and participants do not need to be on-line together at any particular time.  However, it is expected that the learner will have completed all the readings and assignments and is proficient in the conducting exercises by Thursday of the week in which each session has been posted.  The learner should plan on spending at least a half-hour to an hour per day practicing the conducting exercises assigned in each session.

Prof. Drillock also 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 is Instructional Technologist and Designer at Earlham College, where he manages all aspects of the college’s Moodle Learning Management System.

Each learner will be required to meet interactively with the instructor via Skype for a 20-minute session each week.  These sessions will 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.

Directions for submitting the course fee of $125.00, made payable to the Orthodox Church in America, DLM, are contained on the registration form, which will be posted on September 5, at

Questions regarding the on-line program can be directed to Prof. Drillock at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).