Master of Music Conducting Requirements

Admission requirements and procedures

  1. Bachelor's degree in music or its equivalent. Including 60 semester hours of acceptable coursework in music.
  2. Two years of conducting experience in public school or equivalent experience recommended.
  3. A DVD or videotape (VHS) demonstrating the applicant's conducting skills must be received on or before Feb. 1. Applicants who pass this initial screening will be invited for a conducting audition prior to March 15.
  4. A live audition will be administered on the Western Michigan University campus by three full-time members of the conducting faculty, with one being outside the applicant's conducting area. Applicants will:
    a) Conduct an appropriate University ensemble on a work or on works to be selected in consultation with the appropriate conducting faculty member
    b) Demonstrate aural perception and score reading skills
    c) Choral applicants must demonstrate keyboard competency, singing proficiency and diction proficiency (English, French, Italian and German)
    Applicants will be informed of their audition results within 10 days of their audition date by the coordinator of graduate studies in music. Applicants must be accepted to the conducting program prior to their first semester of enrollment.

  5. The Proficiency examinations in music history/literature and theory must be completed prior to the applicant's first semester of enrollment. Applicants must achieve a passing score in each area of the examination. Remediation may be prescribed as a result of deficiencies in any of the audition/proficiency examination areas. Undergraduate courses prescribed to remedy deficiencies will not count toward degree requirements.

Concentration requirements

  1. Major concentration—band, choral or orchestral:
    • MUS 5300 Advanced Choral Conducting (credits: 2 hrs.)
    • MUS 5310 Advanced Instrumental Conducting (credits: 2 hrs.)
    • MUS 6000 Applied Conducting (2 semesters) (credits: 4 hrs.)*
    • MUS 6070 Conducting Masterclass (4 semesters) (credits: 4 hrs.)
    • MUS 6100 Introduction to Research in Music (credits: 3 hrs.)
    • MUS 6640 Form in Music (credits: 2 hrs.)
    • MUS 6900 Graduate Recital and Oral Exam (credits: 2 hrs.)

*One component of MUS 6000 will be the preparation and performance of a work with a major ensemble each semester MUS 6000 is taken. Documentation of these performances must be included in the candidate's video log of conducting experiences which will be compiled over the course of the candidate's conducting study.

Conducting Majors must be attached to a major ensemble each semester of residency for mentoring purposes and to aid the conductor in sectionals, administrative functions and ensemble rehearsal. The extent of these activities will be at the discretion of the ensemble conductor in consultation with the student's major conducting professor.

  1. Required supporting studies in music:
    • MUS 5670 Orchestration (credits: 2 hrs.)
    • MUS 5780, 5810 or 5820 Literature (credits: 2 hrs.)
  2. Cognate Music Studies:
    Six hours of course work in a secondary area of specialization to be determined in consultation with the candidate's major professor and graduate coordinator. To be chosen from the performance, composition, theory, history/literature, jazz or music education areas. Cognate must include at least one 6000-level course.
  3. Electives are selected in consultation with the candidate's major professor and graduate coordinator and are to support the major curriculum.

MUS 6900 Component for Conducting Majors

Candidates for the Master of Music in Performance (Conducting) will be expected to develop a video log of all their conducting performances which will become a part of the materials reviewed by their graduate committees during the MUS 6900 project and oral examination process. The video log must contain a minimum of 20 minutes of conducting in performance in addition to any special conducting activities the student and major professor may choose to include. The MUS 6900 performance project may take one of two forms:

  1. A juried major conducting project of at least 15 minutes in length may be performed with a major ensemble during the final semester of residency. All appropriate research documentation and program notes will be presented to the committee at the formal hearing a minimum of two weeks prior to the performance. This performance will become part of the candidate's video tape log.
  2. A lecture recital encompassing a minimum of 20 minutes of musical examples may be presented with a major ensemble during the last semester of residency. The paper upon which the lecture is based will be presented to the committee a minimum of two weeks prior to the lecture recital along with the candidate's video tape, log, etc.

The video log and all supporting documents (i.e., programs, program notes, research materials) relating to the performances included on the DVD or tape will be made available in the Music Library for the candidate's orals committee a minimum of one week prior to the scheduled oral examination.