Colorado State University offers an outstanding program in graduate conducting, with instrumental and choral specializations; undergraduate conducting courses are also available. CSU provides a nationally-renowned conducting faculty, superb facilities designed for conducting instruction, and high quality ensembles for laboratory experiences.

Study With

Wes Kenney

Professor of Music; Conducting; Director of Orchestras

(970) 491-6912

James Kim

Associate Professor of Music; Director of Choral Activities

(970) 491-6515

Rebecca Phillips

Professor of Music; Conducting; Director of Bands

(970) 491-1584

Jayme Taylor

Associate Director of Bands; Director of Athletic Bands; Assistant Professor of Music

Kevin Poelking

Instructor of Music; Assistant Director of Bands; Instructor of Undergraduate Conducting

Degree Programs

Undergraduate Conducting

Within the B.M. Music Education Concentration, students take a rigorous academic program in theory, composition, history, orchestration, and secondary instruments which prepares them for the level of musicianship required of the modern conductor. Additionally, students perform in high quality ensembles, such as choir, wind ensemble, symphonic band, orchestra, and jazz bands, which are directed by some of the finest conductors in the nation. Students are introduced to the fundamentals of conducting in a beginning conducting class in the fall of their junior year. In the spring of the junior year, students take an advanced conducting class focusing in either instrumental or vocal conducting. Students receive hands-on conducting experience with the wind ensemble, symphonic band, choirs, and in their student-teaching (music education).

Graduate Conducting

Master of Music, Conducting Specialization (Choral, Instrumental)

The program is committed to musical excellence with a curriculum designed to build a well-rounded conductor/teacher, using the musical and personal strengths of the graduate choral conducting student.

By the completion of the program, the student will have developed advanced conducting skills and techniques that are appropriate to a variety of musical needs. The student will learn effective rehearsal techniques, score preparation, and become a knowledgeable scholar of important choral scores representing repertoire of various music periods and secular and sacred styles.

To develop the musicianship and skills that will be important for the student's future professional success, graduate courses are organized in the areas of music literature and theory, the choral/vocal instrument, conducting, and teaching.

A personal audition is required for admission into the graduate conducting program.

Choral Area

The choral area accepts a limited number of students who pursue a variety of professional goals, including education and directors of choral/instrumental ensembles. Students who are full-time music educators at the middle/high school levels will be considered if they have three years prior teaching experience and are presently conducting an ensemble(s). Students who are not public school educators must show a minimum of three years of full-time music/conducting employment and be presently conducting a high school, religious, or community ensemble.

Orchestra Area

This is a program of advanced study in orchestral conducting with a strong supporting program of theoretical and analytical studies. The degree is designed to guide the student toward the development of fluency in the language of gesture and to foster the understanding of diverse roles of the conductor.

Band Area

Students have the opportunity to conduct a broad range of ensembles in preparation for their career. The art of conducting is examined from the perspective of gesture and movement, score study/analysis/ear training, and rehearsal techniques and strategies. Graduate wind conducting students are also an integral part of the Athletic Bands Program, assisting with rehearsals and games and learning the administration of an athletic bands program. Details about applying to this program are available at:


Master of Music, Music Education—Conducting Specialization: Distance Graduate Degree with Summer Residency

The unique program is designed for music educators, enabling students to earn a master’s degree while continuing to work full-time. With the exception of a two-week summer seminar held on the CSU campus, all course work can be completed online or using your own school orchestra, choir, or band as your conducting laboratory.


News and Events

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Conducting News

Denver Young Artist Orchestra pictured conducted by Wes Kenney

Kenney and the DYAO named 2020 American Prize Winner of the Ernst Bacon Memorial Award


Wes Kenney, director of orchestras at CSU, is also the music director of the Denver Young Artist Orchestra (pictured)—the premier youth orchestra in Colorado. Kenney and the DYAO were named the 2020 American Prize Winner of the Ernst Bacon Memorial Award in the youth/school ensemble division. The ensemble was also awarded 2nd Place in Orchestra Performance […]

Promotional Photo of University Center for the Arts External Spring

School of Music, Theatre, and Dance COVID-19 Policies


All information and health protocols provided are based on information and CDC, local government, and CSU guidelines available at the time of posting. This website will be updated frequently to account for changes in CDC, local government, and CSU guidelines and protocols.  Read the complete list of School of Music, Theatre, and Dance COVID-19 policies […]