Conducting, DMA

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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

Conducting, DMA

Plan of study

The Plan of study is the required curriculum to complete this graduate level program.

View Plan of Study

Degree requirements

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)

Other Requirement
Completion of diagnostic exams in musicology 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:

Admission requirements

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:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee:
  2. official transcripts
  3. School of Music, Dance and Theatre Application, including a resume and personal statement; also, from choral applicants, an uploaded writing sample:
  4. prescreening video
  5. three letters of recommendation
  6. 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

Information about this program

Visit the School of Music website for full details.