The graduate choral conducting program at the University of Alabama prepares students to be leaders in the choral profession. Through a comprehensive course of study, graduate students develop the knowledge and skills needed for work in collegiate, secondary school, church, professional, and community choral settings. Multiple graduate assistantships are available.

PROGRAMS OF STUDY

  • Master of Music (M.M.) in Choral Conducting
  • Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) in Choral Conducting

For those with a number of years in the field, the M.M. in Choral Conducting is the ultimate professional development experience. The M.M. in Choral Conducting is the perfect way to grow from good to great as a conductor-teacher. Master’s degree students refine their conducting, increase knowledge of choral literature, learn how to do academic research, and hone their leadership skills.

In the D.M.A. in Choral Conducting program, students focus not only on their own growth as a professional conductor and academic scholar, but on ways in which they can contribute as leaders in the choral profession. D.M.A. graduates are qualified for careers in choral music at all levels, including church music and higher education. The course of study provides some flexibility so that students can focus their work on areas about which they are most passionate.

PROGRAM FEATURES

  • Generous Podium Time with University Choirs
  • Innovative Choral Literature Curriculum
  • One-on-One Conducting Lessons
  • Collaborative Approach to Choral Conducting Studio Class
  • Conducting Recitals
  • Mentorship of Undergraduate Students
  • Orchestral Conducting Experience
  • Supportive and Collegial Environment

Topics of Study Include:

  • Conducting Gesture
  • Choral Literature
  • Skills of a Master Teacher (great conductors are great teachers)
  • Rehearsal Technique
  • Score Study
  • Leadership
  • Musicianship and Aural Skills
  • Conducting Pedagogy
  • Choral/ Vocal Pedagogy
  • Academic Writing, Scholarship, and Research
  • Program Administration

How to Apply and Audition:

Priority deadline for graduate choral conducting applications is December 15th. Invitations for live auditions will go out in January.

STEP 1:

Apply to the University of Alabama Graduate School and complete the School of Music Graduate Audition Request Form:

STEP 2:

Please place all supporting materials not already submitted through the Graduate School Application in a Google Drive folder and share the folder or links with Dr. Andrew Minear. If submitting recordings via Soundcloud or Youtube, please place a document in the folder that includes all links (and passwords if necessary) to audio/ video excerpts.

Prerequisites for the Master of Music (M.M.) in Choral Conducting

  • Bachelors degree in Music

Prerequisites for the Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) in Choral Conducting

  • Masters degree in Music, preferably in Choral Conducting, Music Education, Sacred Music, or Piano/Organ/ Voice Performance
  • Minimum 5 years of successful teaching/conducting experience

Application

To apply for the M.M. in Choral Conducting, please submit the following:
  • Statement of Purpose (see below for guidelines)
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV) or Resumé
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation (at least one letter should be from a professor in your undergraduate major)
  • Conducting Video (see below for video requirements)
  • Solo Performance Demonstration Video (see below for explanation)
To apply for the D.M.A. in Choral Conducting, please submit the following:
  • Statement of Purpose (see below for guidelines)
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • 3 Recent Concert Programs (pdf files preferred)
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation
  • Conducting Video (see below for video requirements)
  • Solo Performance Demonstration Video (see below for explanation)
  • Academic Writing Sample (e.g. a paper written for a Music History or Choral Literature class, a stylistic analysis of a significant choral work, or program notes from a recent performance)

Optional Application Items

  • Audio recordings of conducted performances (please indicate if they are raw recordings or if they have been mastered)
  • Samples of choral compositions or arrangements.
Statement of Purpose

The statement of purpose is a required essay which is usually 1-2 pages in length. It serves as your opportunity to describe your background, career goals and aspirations, and reasons for pursuing graduate studies at the University of Alabama.

Conducting Video Requirements
For MM applicants:

Videos should include footage of the applicant conducting in a conducting class, rehearsal, or performance. The preferred camera angle will show the applicant from the choir’s perspective or side of stage so gesture is visible. The video should be no more than 15 minutes in length. Video files may be placed in the applicant’s Google Drive folder or shared via Youtube (please include password if necessary).

For DMA applicants:

Videos should include footage of the applicant leading rehearsal and conducting in performance. The preferred camera angle will show the applicant from the choir’s perspective. The video should be no more than 30 minutes in length and include one approximately 10-minute uninterrupted rehearsal segment (additional shorter segments are welcome) and at least 2 or 3 selections of contrasting repertoire in performance. Video files may be placed in the applicant’s Google Drive folder or shared via Youtube (please include password if necessary).

Solo Performance Demonstration

Applicants should submit an approximately 3- to 5-minute audio or video recording excerpt of themselves to demonstrate their performance ability on their primary instrument (e.g. voice, piano). Demo recording files may be placed in the applicant’s Google Drive folder or shared via Soundcloud or Youtube (please include password if necessary).

On-Campus Audition

A small number of applicants will be invited to the campus for a one-day live audition and interview. The audition will consist of the following:

  • Basic Musicianship and Music History Exam
  • Choral Musicianship and Sight Singing Assessment
  • Keyboard Proficiency (applicants will sight read a Bach chorale and then be asked to sing one part while playing another)
  • Interview
  • Rehearsal (20 minutes) with one of the University Choirs
    • Lead a brief warm-up
    • Rehearse 2 choral works— these will be provided in advance; one will be a piece the ensemble knows well, and the other will give you the opportunity to introduce a new piece to the group.
For more information about graduate study at the UA School of Music, please see the Graduate Handbook.