The DMA program in music with a concentration in conducting (emphasis areas: choral, orchestra and opera, wind band) offers emerging conductors the opportunity to improve their art, craft and scholarship, while becoming well-versed in multiple areas of conducting. Those pursuing this degree take several common courses regardless of emphasis and become acquainted with the repertory and conducting issues for each medium. Coursework emphasizes a thorough knowledge of repertory, knowledge of historical and analytical issues, an understanding of efficient, effective rehearsal technique, and clear, expressive conducting technique. Doctoral students of conducting receive considerable individual attention and have regular opportunities to rehearse and conduct a variety of ensembles.
Conductors specializing in choral conducting are vital members of the choral program and have unique opportunities to work directly with the Director of Choral Activities and the other choral faculty members. DMA conducting students have substantial weekly podium time, which provides an opportunity to work with choirs of varying levels and in a variety of styles. Most will spend a year as director of one of the standing ensembles in addition to assisting with other choirs.
The curriculum helps choral conductors to expand their expertise in vocal technique and to incorporate this knowledge into their pedagogy and rehearsal process. Repertory studies are comprehensive, actively seeking to project the voices of the global community. Score study integrates context with musical and textual analysis to gain insights into the unique interpretive demands of each work. Through these studies, conductors enhance their musical and interpretive skills and develop a collaborative leadership style.
Orchestra and Opera Conducting Track
One of the most competitive and comprehensive graduate programs in the United States, graduate conductors specializing in orchestra and opera conducting work closely with the Director of Orchestras, as well as the Artistic Director of Music Theatre and Opera and gain a breadth of experience in both orchestral and opera conducting. Conductors also become acquainted with the wind and choral literature through study with major teachers in those areas. Graduate conductors have frequent and significant podium time in performance and rehearsal with the ASU Symphony and Chamber Orchestras, ASU Philharmonia, and Music Theatre and Opera, as well as twice-weekly sessions with the ASU Studio Orchestra, an 11-member ensemble capable of performing most of the symphonic repertoire.
Degree recitals are performed with the top orchestral ensembles in the music program and include orchestral, concerto and opera repertoire. Additionally, during their course of study DMA students develop and lead at least one community engagement concert that can include pops, educational or video game music. Depending on interest and ability, numerous opportunities with Music Theatre and Opera include conducting main stage productions as well rehearsals, workshops and outreach concerts. Graduate conductors have numerous opportunities to work with internationally-recognized guest artists. Recent guests have included conductors Carl St.Clair, Marin Alsop, Larry Rachleff, Tito Muñoz, Giancarlo Guerrero, Jeffrey Kahane, and Carl Topilow; orchestral musicians Andrés Cárdenes, Jorja Fleezanis, Frank Morelli, and David Halen; entrepreneurs and arts leaders, Aaron Dworkin and Marc Bamuthi Joseph, and composers Jesse Montgomery, Laura Kaminsky, Tonia Ko, Carter Pann, and Narong Prangcharoen.
Conductors in the orchestra and opera conducting area also have the opportunity for frequent interaction with the Music Director of the Phoenix Symphony as well as the opportunity to observe numerous Phoenix Symphony rehearsals. Additionally, each year, through audition, one of the DMA conductors in this track is appointed Assistant Conductor of the Phoenix Youth Symphony, a paid position with substantial conducting and administrative responsibility.
The course of study includes conducting technique, rehearsal technique, interpretation, score study, audience development, arts leadership, and career development. DMA and MM conductors leave ASU prepared to become impactful arts leaders as conductors and educators.
Two Teaching Assistantships in Orchestral/Opera Conducting are open in the fall of 2021. Information are available here.
Wind Band Conducting Track
Conductors specializing in wind band conducting study privately with the director of ensembles and work closely with other members of the conducting faculty to develop their conducting and rehearsal skills. If interested, wind band conducting majors also have opportunities to enhance their work with athletic bands and, if desired, may elect individual study with the director of athletic bands. Furthermore, many students select “integrated conducting” as their cognate, allowing for in-depth work in a second conducting area.
As a part of their course of study, wind band conducting students meet in seminars to further deepen and broaden their understanding of the psychology, score preparation methods, pedagogy, and communication skills that underlie the art and craft of conducting in a band setting. Seminars are designed to expand students' capacity for analytical thinking; additionally, dialogical skills are challenged and, subsequently, enhanced.
Podium time is essential for the development of conducting skills; therefore, wind band conductors enjoy significant time leading the ASU Wind Ensemble and Wind Symphony, and serve as co-directors of the ASU Concert Band. One exciting at ASU is a stand alone graduate level chamber wind group that our wind band conducting students get to work with twice a week.
The DMA Lecture-Recital is performed with the top pool of wind/percussion players in the music program and includes repertoire chosen from the complete body of wind band/chamber wind literature.
Advance your craft as a conductor. While developing your conducting skills in this program, you also receive individual mentorship from the conducting faculty and have opportunities for significant podium time with an instrumental or choral ensemble.
The DMA program in music with a concentration in conducting offers emerging conductors the opportunity to improve their art, craft and scholarship while becoming well-versed in multiple areas of conducting.
Those pursuing this degree take several common courses regardless of emphasis and become acquainted with the repertory and conducting issues for each medium. Coursework emphasizes a thorough knowledge of repertory, historical and analytical issues; an understanding of efficient, effective rehearsal technique; and clear, expressive conducting technique. Doctoral students of conducting receive considerable individual attention and have regular opportunities to rehearse and to conduct a variety of ensembles.
There are three tracks in this degree program:
Choral conducting --- Conductors specializing in choral conducting expand their expertise in vocal technique and work to integrate this into their pedagogy and rehearsal process. Score study integrates musical and textual analysis in order for students to gain insights into the unique interpretive demands of each work. Through these studies and those described above, conductors enhance their musical and interpretive skills and develop a collaborative leadership style.
Orchestra and opera conducting --- Conductors specializing in orchestra and opera conducting work closely with the director of orchestras and the artistic director of the music theatre and opera program and gain a breadth of experience in both orchestral and opera conducting. Time in front of an ensemble is essential; therefore, conductors have significant podium time as well as twice-weekly studio chamber orchestra classes. Study includes conducting technique, rehearsal technique, leadership, interpretation, score study, audience development and outreach, and career development.
Wind band conducting --- Conductors specializing in wind band conducting study privately with the director of bands and work closely with other members of the conducting faculty, including the director of athletic bands in order to develop their conducting and rehearsal skills. If interested, wind band conducting students also have opportunities to enhance their work with athletic bands and, if desired, may elect individual study with the director of athletic bands. Furthermore, many students select integrated conducting as their cognate, allowing for in-depth work in a second conducting area.
The doctoral program lecture recital is a performance with the top pool of wind and percussion players in the School of Music, Dance and Theatre and includes repertoire chosen from the complete body of wind band and chamber wind literature.
At A Glance
Spring 2021: closed (Not Available)
Fall 2022: December 1, 2021
Curriculum check sheets
Check sheets break down the course requirements for each degree program and are listed below by area.
Affording grad school
All applicants are automatically considered for merit based scholarships, with priority given to those who audition and/or interview on-campus.
Teaching assistantships are offered to graduate students who convey exceptional ability. Learn more about TA benefits, eligibility and application procedures.
ASU has many financial aid options. Almost everyone, regardless of income, can qualify for some form of financial aid. In fact, more than 70 percent of all ASU students receive some form of financial assistance every year.
Conducting Core (18 credit hours)
Specialty Courses (9 credit hours)
Electives (9 credit hours)
Cognate (integrated conducting, instrumental performance or music learning and teaching) (9 credit hours)
Music History and Music Theory (21 credit hours)
Recitals and Research (24 credit hours)
Completion of diagnostic exams in music history and music theory is required of all new graduate music students prior to course enrollment in the ASU School of Music, Dance and Theatre.
Additional Curriculum Information
Thirty credit hours from a master's degree may be applied toward the 90 credit hour degree requirement. Once admitted to the program, a student is required to be enrolled continuously, excluding summer sessions, until all requirements for the degree have been fulfilled. In general, the student should expect to spend at least the equivalent of three academic years beyond the bachelor's degree in the program. A minimum of two semesters must be spent in continuous full-time residence at ASU. At least 54 credit hours must be completed in residence at ASU.
Additional information on degree requirements for all graduate music programs may be found on the check sheets posted here: https://musicdancetheatre.asu.edu/degree-programs.
Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.
Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree from a regionally accredited institution. Students seeking admission typically hold an MM degree. Applicants with other degrees are considered if they have received graduate training similar to that normally expected in a Master of Music program.
Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program, or applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.
All applicants must submit:
- graduate admission application and application fee: https://admission.asu.edu/graduate
- official transcripts
- School of Music, Dance and Theatre Application (including a resume and personal statement; also an uploaded writing sample from choral applicants): https://musicdancetheatre.asu.edu/admissions/music/graduate-steps-to-apply
- prescreening video
- three letters of recommendation
- proof of English proficiency
Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of current residency: TOEFL score of at least 550 (PBT) or 80 (iBT), IELTS overall band score of at least 6.5, or Pearson Test of English score of at least 60.
The School of Music, Dance and Theatre does not offer conditional admission under any circumstances.
Students should see the program website for application deadlines. After receipt of complete application materials (including recommendation letters, transcripts and English proficiency requirements) and review of prescreening materials, an applicant may be invited for a live audition. Information on the audition may be found at https://musicdancetheatre.asu.edu/admissions/music/graduate-auditions.