Conducting in Music Certificate

  • Program is offered in alternate years. The next intake will be September 2018.

     Capilano University offers a Conducting in Music Certificate. Graduates of this program will be able to conduct choral and instrumental ensembles effectively and confidently.

    The 20-credit certificate is designed to allow currently active teachers and musicians to complete this program while continuing to work. Most classes are offered in the evening over an eight-month period. It is possible to take the program on a part-time basis.

    Courses will include conducting, conducting pedagogy, ensemble and languages:

    • The core conducting course will focus on fundamental conducting techniques including patterns, cues, cut-offs, phrasing, tempo changes, expressive gestures, use of the left hand, baton technique, choral and orchestral conducting.
    • Conducting pedagogy will include watching and discussing recorded performances, attending live performances, observing rehearsals and discussing various approaches to conducting.
    • All participants sing in one the University choirs, where they will have hands-on experience working with an ensemble.
    • All students will take two semesters of Spanish, German, French or other approved language to enhance their choral conducting abilities

     All practical exams will be taken by conducting the Capilano University Singers. 

    Note: Conducting and Ensemble credits count towards upgrading of TQS levels.

    For more information please contact Lars Kaario at 604-986-1911 (ext. 2309) or

    Conducting Certificate Testimonials

    My time in the Certificate in Conducting Program at Capilano University was invaluable to me. Conducting is an integral part of my work as a secondary school choir and band teacher with the Surrey School District, but it wasn't part of my education. The program provided the opportunity to build a very solid technical base in a supportive environment with lots of one on one instructional time. This is also the only conducting program in Vancouver that offers this without requiring I take time off work, which was as huge factor. The flexibility afforded by evening and weekend classes and rehearsals was very important in my decision making process.

    I'd recommend this program to anyone looking to deepen their understanding of conducting!

    Richard Petroski, B.Mus., M.Mus

    Choir, Concert Band, & Jazz Band Teacher

    Sullivan Heights Secondary

    Surrey School District 

    Maestro Lars Kaario has developed at Capilano University one of the most versatile and engaging Conducting in Music Programs I have had the opportunity to attend. It is amazing to see the amount of information, technical skills and music styles we were able to cover in such a short period of time, compared to many other conducting courses I have attended in various parts of the world. I believe the effectiveness and characteristics of this Certificate reside in the heart of Canada’s well known multiculturalism, as many of the most important schools of Conducting were analyzed and discussed but without taking any of them like the only possible truth. After many years of teaching and conducting professionally, I can say that this Program has changed in a very positive way my perspective about the art of conducting.

    I would highly recommend it as an excellent introduction to the world of Music Conducting, or as a great chance to review technical and aesthetic aspects of this art.

    José Cerón-Ortega (2017), B. Mus., Diploma & Certificate in Conducting

    Music Director, Coast Symphony Orchestra

    Director, Orchestral Program Saint James Music Academy

    I completed the Conducting Certificate program in 2017.  It was a class of friends, mentors, colleagues, and musicians all supporting each other.  The class size was small which allowed every student to get individualized feedback and time on the podium every week.  Our skills, gestures, and creativity were all fostered beautifully under Lars’ instruction.  Lars also met for individual tutorials with every student, which was extremely helpful.  Singing for each other and watching each student workshop their ideas was an invaluable experience. This program taught skills in both instrumental and choral ensemble conducting and score reading.  It’s a well-rounded curriculum that is so important for aspiring (and current) music educators and leaders.  I am able to use these skills in my current Music Education studies at UBC, as well as leading rehearsals in my own choral ensemble.  

    This is an important foundation class for all musicians! 

    Elyse Kantonen (2017), B. Mus. Therapy

    Music Diploma, Music Therapy Association

    Born in Latvia where choral music is one of the highest and most appreciated values of our culture, I always dreamed of acquiring more understanding and knowledge of conducting. I believe it is crucial to have the fundamental skills as a conductor in order to fully appreciate the academic music scene and this course undoubtedly helped me to obtain them! Being a professional musician, carrying an academic program degree of Contemporary Music, it was refreshing to study a different style and approach of musical genre at Capilano University. I can truly say that it was a remarkable experience – being able to conduct a Capilano University Choir was definitely one of the best insights I had whilst studying!  Music Director Lars Kaario is a great educator – extremely skilled, approachable and dynamic, he shared his lifetime knowledge and talent that helped me to grasp the choral music more profoundly.

    I would absolutely recommend this course to anyone who wants to achieve higher understanding and comprehension in Classical Music and Conducting, regardless of their present level or instrument!

    Paula Pujate (2017)

    BA (Hons) Professional Music Performance Vocals, The Academy of Contemporary Music, UK

    Conducting in Music Certificate, Capilano University, Canada

    Jazepa Medina Music School, Classical Piano Graduate, Riga, Latvia

    The Conducting program at Capilano University was one of the most rewarding experiences in my musical journey. Lars Kaario is a gifted teacher with special musical and personal skills. By taking the conducting program, not only did I learn technical and conducting skills, but also leadership and teaching skills. I was challenged to find confidence within myself to be a better leader. I would absolutely recommend this program to any musician. It leads to both a broader understanding of music and also challenges you to grow to be a better person. As a result of receiving this certificate, I now have the position of conducting a 26-member youth orchestra.

    Negin Attar (2017), Music Diploma

    RCM Certified Elementary Piano teacher, Certified in Conducting 

    Electronic Engineering

    Lars Kaario is not only a master of his craft but he is a great educator that conveys information clearly and in a fun and well structured way. The course is well designed for students with various levels of experience and Lars skillfully creates an inclusive and warm environment for students from all backgrounds and ages. I have vast experience as a performing musician and a music educator at University, high school and elementary levels. Throughout the years I have taken many music courses and workshops on three continents and I must admit that the conducting courses offered by Lars Kaario are some of the best music classes I have ever attended. The knowledge I gained has been extremely valuable and I have been using it to conduct a 93-student choir, high school bands, and primary classes.   

    I would highly recommend the Conducting Certificate to anyone who wants to learn more about conducting and/or take it to the next level.  

    Rossi Tzonkov,  B.Mus. (Jazz Studies), B.Ed., Certificate in Conducting
    Music Teacher - School District 39 (Vancouver)    

    In the Conducting Certificate program, Maestro Lars Kaario has crafted an engaging, intensive, highly informative, and thoroughly enjoyable course of study that successfully transforms the interested amateur, occasional dabbler, semi-professional, or trained student into a functioning conductor equipped with all the tools of the trade necessary to conduct an ensemble, and a familiarity with the concepts behind what it takes to be a music director. The program takes a learner-centered approach: Maestro Kaario presents new material briefly to the students in highly organized and well-distilled handouts and always provides a wealth of insight, information, and experience when asked; but in class, students spend the majority of the time becoming mirrors of learning for each other, learning from and evaluating each other as we practice externalizing and internalizing new movements and concepts in conducting. This highly kinesthetic and mutually reinforcing approach to the pedagogy, as well as the supportive and friendly learning environment Maestro Kaario creates, ultimately account for the success and excellence of the program. A great choice of musical repertoire also makes it exciting, fun, and relevant. As the director of music at a church with a highly active and involved music program, I wholeheartedly recommend this program to anyone interested in furthering their conducting skills.  

    Christopher Suen, B.A., Certificate in Conducting
    Director of Music, Holy Family Parish, Vancouver

    Thanks to the Certificate in Conducting program at Capilano University, I feel capable and confident as a teacher and director of various musical ensembles. The fundamentals and other skills I developed in this course were a firm foundation that helped me to excel in further conducting study. The classroom environment was very positive and constructive – Lars Kaario’s facilitation of student feedback and comments was excellent and helped us all to succeed. I thoroughly enjoyed the chosen repertoire, and it was a pleasure to have the opportunity to conduct it for a good choir. I highly recommend the program to both those new to conducting and those who already have some experience but are looking to tighten up and clarify their technique. I have never regretted the extra time I spent to participate in this program!  

    Marco Del Rio, B.Mus., Music Diploma, Certificate in Conducting    

    Thirty years after receiving my Bachelor of Music degree, I started working with young people in a conducting capacity and quickly realized how little I actually knew. Even after 20 years of singing in various choirs and watching a multitude of conductors, it is a very different experience to actually stand in front of the ensemble. The Capilano Music conducting program gave me a great grasp of the basics of conducting in a supportive and enjoyable environment. It also allowed the participants to gain experience conducting various ensembles. I have had comments from colleagues that my conducting has improved dramatically, and that I seem much more relaxed while doing it.

    I would highly recommend the Capilano conducting program to anyone who has a love of music and is seeking to improve their skills for conducting to work with any ensemble.  

    James Carter, B.Mus., Certificate in Conducting    

    I took the Conducting Certificate program in my third year at Capilano University, directly after obtaining my Diploma of Music. I think this program is invaluable for any musician who is interested in developing their sense of musicality, particularly within an ensemble setting. This program teaches the theoretical aspects as well as practical skills of conducting, and is taught by a knowledgeable, passionate, and supportive conductor. During this program students will study a variety of conductors, and are encouraged to explore their own style of conducting while developing strong foundational techniques. Most importantly students are provided numerous opportunities to practice their new skills on real singers. I came away from this course with a broader understanding of music as whole, and a greater appreciation for conducting as an art. I recommend this course to all musicians, regardless of instrument. You will learn how to listen more actively, communicate more clearly, and be more expressive within your own performance.  

    Rachel Buttress, B.Mus., Certificate in Conducting, Music Diploma        

    The Music Diploma and Conducting Certificate Programs at Capilano University are very well planned and excellent programs from which I have greatly benefited. Being a self-learned musician before entering these programs, I had a lot to learn in music theory, history, and ensemble performance. Although I was challenged by the course material, it was exactly what all the students needed to become disciplined students of music. These programs prepared me well for the rest of my degree and my professional endeavours. The extraordinarily supportive faculty demonstrated that their roles in student development extend beyond the classroom and into the community in the form of post-grad mentorship, team-building events, and friendship. Furthermore, the Music Diploma and Conducting Certificate programs, and their excellent faculty, awoke in me a passion for classical music that has been unparalleled in other musical genres and explored in choral, orchestral and opera performances, as well as in my own compositions.  

    Zac Goerlitz, Bachelor of Performing Arts, Music Diploma, Certificate in Conducting              

    I have been a teacher for over 20 years and taking this course was one of the best things I did to enhance my teaching career. Being a fulltime educator, and having a young family at home, I found this course fit with my schedule. The classes were practical, challenging, and enjoyable. The best thing about this course was that I could take what I learned and bring it right into my classroom. I would recommend this course to anyone who wants to become better skilled at leading ensembles. Lars, thank you so much for offering this course and for challenging me to become better at what I do.

    Byron Emmons, B. Ed (Music)

    When I first decided to enroll in the Conducting Program I knew nothing about how to conduct. Lars Kaario is an extraordinary professor who challenges his students and gives constructive feedback and it has been my privilege to be mentored by such a passionate individual. I have been pushed out of my comfort zone and have learned so much from this program that I feel fully prepared to conduct anything as a result of the diverse repertoire we studied. The program is demanding, academically well rounded and, most importantly, fun! 
    I cherish the opportunities conducting Capilano University Singers as the singers are so attentive to your movements, wanting you to succeed. The experience I have had at Capilano University has been invaluable and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I recommend this program to any musician wishing to expand on their musical knowledge and expression.

    Jocelyn Crandell, Diploma in Music

    I was a working music teacher and performer, it can be a challenge to find courses that offer further development, at an appropriate time in the week, over a period of months to ensure sufficient learning of concepts.  I can highly recommend the conducting program at Capilano University under Lars Kaario. Regardless of your background you will be part of a friendly team of students and instructor working together to help each other improve confidence and clarity in conducting.  Materials presented are done in an organized and concise fashion, with a focus on outcome and results.  This program fills a unique niche in the lower mainland of Vancouver and I hope more people can benefit from this opportunity.

    Peter Zaenker, ARCT, BMus, K.A, I.P, B.Ed

    The Certificate in Conducting program was one of the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences I had during my two years at Capilano University. Lars Kaario teaches you not only how to master many different techniques and practical applications of conducting, but also how to find the confidence within yourself to step into the role of conductor and leader. We had many valuable class discussions regarding the philosophy of conducting, what it means to be a leader, and how to communicate the meaning of the music to an ensemble and, in turn, to an audience. I enjoyed the structure of the program, including the conductor observations, videos, and "hands-on" experiences with the Capilano University Singers. I loved the supportive and encouraging dynamic of the class, as the students were able to observe and learn from each other and receive constructive feedback. The program did not just provide me with a valuable skill set. It also helped to make me a better musician all around and inspired me to continue my Conducting education. I highly recommend it!

    Heather Olson, Diploma of Music

    The conducting certificate program at Capilano University has been integral in the development of my skills as a music conductor.  I have learned how to express a variety of musical ideas through practical experience and music repertoire and Lars' well organized and knowledgeable teaching style allows each student to discover their strengths and gain new skills in a positive learning environment. The program is very thorough, exposing each student to a variety of conductors and conducting styles, and enables the student to apply these concepts in a practical music environment.  The conducting certificate at Capilano University is a fantastic program and will give each individual confidence and knowledge to further their musical journey. I wish it was longer!! 

    Jennifer Katchur, BMus (Jazz Studies)

    I have very much enjoyed studying conducting with Lars Kaario at Capilano University.  The Conducting Program has helped me to further develop my conducting skills with constructive feedback and support from both my peers and the instructor.  The program is comprehensive and thorough as well as challenging.  During the past year, I have been continually inspired and reminded of why I chose music as a career.  I highly recommend this program to anyone who teaches music, conducts or wishes to do either.

    Alison Hunter, BMus, RMT
    Music Teacher - School District 48 (Sea to Sky)
    Music Director - Whistler Children's Chorus

    Although I had a diverse musical background, I started this program without knowing anything about conducting. This program starts with the basics, so the students can build upon a firm and proper foundation. I love the precious opportunities to conduct the Capilano Singers, where I can challenge and prove myself in front of an ensemble. Aside from the technical skills, the program also gives me an insight into the industry - what it takes to be a good conductor, as well as a good leader. Lars is a great teacher; he gives us a lot of encouragement and support. With a diverse choice of repertoire, I have learned a lot of great music for the future. He also hosts conducting workshops and choral workshops so the students could learn from other great teachers as well. This program does not only teach me how to become a skilled conductor, it is also an enjoyable experience that further enhances my appreciation for music.

    Tian Ip 

    I was a music student and as a secondary school teacher, I found the Capilano Conducting in Music Certificate program to be extremely valuable.  Not only has it given me a very solid skill set to use in my musical endeavours, but it has also given me the confidence to use those skills effectively.  I found the instruction to be most helpful and thoughtful, both in terms of the course content itself and in terms of its presentation and organization.  Also, I very much enjoyed the opportunity provided by this program to work with other conducting and music enthusiasts.  I cannot recommend this program highly enough.

    Joseph Young, B.A, B. Ed

    The Capilano University music program is an amazing phenomenon to be a part of. Not only is it academically well-rounded and comprehensive but it is also creatively invigorating. The faculty, including people such as maestro Lars Kaario, are constantly challenging students to explore their talents and reach new horizons. As a film score composer and music producer, I found particularly useful the Conducting courses that have given me confidence and ability to direct ensembles performing my own music. I’m delighted to have been part of this program and would recommend it to all aspiring musicians. There couldn’t be a better beginning to a life in music…   

    Taymaz Saba, Film Composer