Best Practices of Effective Conductors

June 7–August 1, 2021

Rebuild the habits that make you a more effective conductor. Recharge your enthusiasm for meticulous planning, score study and meaningful gestures. This course will help you take command of the musical growth of your students and engage their musical imagination. It will teach you how to let composer intent guide your score preparation and set rehearsal priorities. Reset your confidence in the musical capabilities of your students and motivate them to become independent learners.

This is not your typical conducting class. Roughly half of the course content deals with composer intent, score analysis and rehearsal strategies. The other half will be spent on conducting gesture and expressive movement.

Featured speakers include:

Week 1:  Chip Staley
Week 2:  William Jastrow
Week 3:  Kevin Day
Week 4:  Reena Esmail
Weeks 5 & 6:  Stephen Squires
Weeks 7 & 8:  Craig Kirchhoff

Please note: 90% of the content is delivered LIVE (synchronous). 90-minute Zoom sessions take place on Mondays and Thursdays at 11:00 a.m. Central Time. Attendance at Zoom sessions is required.


Charles "Chip" Staley

Staley,_Charles_headshot_2013Charles "Chip" Staley began his teaching career at Eisenhower High School in Blue Island, IL. Staley recently retired from public school teaching after 30 years in District 204 in Naperville, where he served as a Fine Arts Chair first at Waubonsie Valley and then at Neuqua Valley High School. Over his career, Staley taught wind ensemble, jazz ensemble, symphony orchestra and musical theater orchestra. Under his guidance, the Neuqua Valley Fine Arts Department was awarded the National Schools of Distinction in Arts Education Award from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Neuqua Valley has been honored by the GRAMMY Foundation seven times with GRAMMY Gold status, and was twice recognized as a GRAMMY National Signature School.

Staley’s bands and orchestras have performed at the Midwest Clinic, Chicago’s Symphony Center, University of Illinois’ Krannert Hall, and at concert venues in China, England, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

Staley is the recipient of the John Paynter Lifetime Achievement Award, the Mary Hoffman Excellence in Teaching Award, the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra's Music Inspiration Award, and the John Philip Sousa Foundation’s Sudler Flag of Honor. Staley is a member of the Illinois Music Educators Association Assessment Committee and is an advisor for the Illinois State Board of Education. Staley is a National Board certified teacher holding degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Illinois. In 2019, Staley received a Doctor of Music Honoris Causa from VanderCook College of Music.

William Jastrow

William Jastrow’s professional experience comprises over 45 years of instrumental and vocal music teaching and music education administration in Illinois public schools.  A retired member of the Neuqua Valley HS music faculty and former Coordinator for K-12 Music Education for Indian Prairie District 204, Jastrow maintains an active schedule as a conductor, clinician, music education advocate, author and arranger. He has appeared as a clinician/conductor at numerous district, state and national music conferences and festivals, including as conductor of the Illinois All-State Band. From 1993-2005, Jastrow served the Illinois Music Education Association as Band Division President and State President. In addition, he has authored numerous articles for the Illinois Music Educator on the vital role that music must play in a comprehensive education for all students. Jastrow holds degrees in music education from the University of Illinois and Northwestern University.
Jastrow’s bands have performed for the University of Illinois Superstate Festival, the NBA National Convention, the West Sussex International Youth Music Festival, and the Liberty, Outback, and Fiesta Bowl festivals and parades, as well as for international audiences in Canada, the United Kingdom, Western Europe, Scandinavia, and the People’s Republic of China.  During his tenure, Neuqua Valley H.S. was recognized as the Kennedy Center National School of Distinction in Fine Arts Education and was a multiple recipient of the GRAMMY Signature Gold and National Signature School Awards.  
A 2011 inductee into the Phi Beta Mu Illinois Bandmasters Hall of Fame, Jastrow is a recipient of the John Paynter Lifetime Achievement Award, Illinois State Board of Education "Those Who Excel" Recognition, ILMEA Distinguished Service Award, and NAfME Excellence in Teaching Music Award.  Jastrow currently participates in the League of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Docent Program and serves on the Board of Directors for the DuPage Symphony Orchestra and ARTSpeaks, a non-profit association which advocates for the essential value of music as part of a comprehensive education for all students. 

Kevin Day

Day,_KevinAn American composer whose music has been “characterized by propulsive, syncopated rhythms, colorful orchestration, and instrumental virtuosity” (Robert Kirzinger, Boston Symphony Orchestra), Kevin Day has quickly emerged as one of the leading young voices in the world of music composition today. Day was born in Charleston, WV, and is a native of Arlington, TX. His father was a prominent hip-hop producer in the late-1980s in Southern California, and his mother was a sought-after gospel singer from West Virginia, singing alongside the likes of Mel Torme and Kirk Franklin. Day is a composer, conductor, producer, and multi-instrumentalist on tuba, euphonium, jazz piano and more, whose music often intersects between the worlds of jazz, minimalism, Latin music, fusion and contemporary classical idioms. Day currently serves as the Composer-In-Residence of the Mesquite Symphony Orchestra.

Reena Esmail

Esmail,_Reena_headshot_CROPIndian-American composer Reena Esmail works between the worlds of Indian and Western classical music, and brings communities together through the creation of equitable musical spaces. Esmail is the Los Angeles Master Chorale’s 2020-2023 Swan Family Artist in Residence, and Seattle Symphony’s 2020-21 Composer-in-Residence. Previously, she was named a 2019 United States Artist Fellow in Music, and the 2019 Grand Prize Winner of the S & R Foundation’s Washington Award.  Esmail was also a 2017-18 Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow. Esmail holds degrees in composition from the Juilliard School and the Yale School of Music. She was Composer-in-Residence for Street Symphony (2016-18) and is currently an artistic director of Shastra, a non-profit organization that promotes cross-cultural music connecting music traditions of India and the West.

Stephen Squires

Squires,_Stephen_headshot_2020_CROPStephen Squires is a musician with a career that blends his passions for conducting, teaching and performing. Squires has had the honor to conduct for many exceptional artists, including Frederica von Stade, Samuel Ramey, János Starker, Pinchas Zuckerman, Shmuel Ashkenasi, John Browning, Leon Bates, Stewart Goodyear, Richard Stoltzman, Ani Kavafian, Wendy Warner, James Tocco, and many principal players of the Chicago Symphony and Lyric Opera Orchestras. Fully committed to conducting the music of living composers, Squires has premiered over 40 new works.
Squires received his musical training at the Preparatory School of the Eastman School of Music and the Crane School of Music, both in his home state of New York. He earned his master’s degree in instrumental conducting and trumpet performance at California State University, Northridge. He completed further conducting studies with Helmuth Rilling, Maurice Abravanel, Daniel Lewis, Tsung Yeh, and at the Aspen Music Festival. Squires has conducted recordings for the Delos, Spring Hill (a division of EMI), MEDR, Editions de la Rue Margot, and Centaur labels. His most recent recording (in progress) is for the Albany label, featuring the music of Victoria Bond.
Squires is Professor of Conducting in the Music Conservatory at the Chicago College of Performing Arts, Roosevelt University. Prior to this appointment, he served on the artist faculty of the Northern Illinois School of Music for 19 years, where he received the prestigious Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award.

Craig Kirchhoff

Kirchhoff,_Craig_headshot_v2_2013Craig Kirchhoff is professor of conducting at the University of Minnesota. Born and educated in Wisconsin, Kirchhoff brings to his position a wide knowledge of both traditional and contemporary literature. He has won critical acclaim from composers Warren Benson, Henry Brant, Michael Colgrass, Karel Husa, Libby Larsen, George Perle, Vincent Persichetti, Stephen Paulus, Verne Reynolds, Gunther Schuller, Joseph Schwantner, Steven Stucky, Elliott Schwartz, Chen Yi and others. Kirchhoff is past president of the College Band Directors National Association, and is an active member of the American Bandmasters Association, the National Band Association, the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, and the Music Educators National Conference. He also served as the founding editor and principal advisor of the College Band Directors National Association Journal. Kirchhoff has appeared as guest conductor, clinician and lecturer throughout the U.S., Australia, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, Europe and Scandinavia. He is a frequent guest conductor of the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra and has recorded with them on the Kosei Publishing label.

VanderCook College of Music - (312) 225-6288