Graduate Wind Conducting

Master of Music, Instrumental Conducting Specialization


This 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 conducting student. The M.M., Instrumental Conducting Specialization requires a two-year residency.

The program offers students 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. For students focused on band conducting, this is a program of advanced study in repertoire and advanced wind/percussion techniques with a strong supporting program of theoretical and analytical studies.

Graduate band/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.

  • Develop the skill, intellect, and musicianship necessary among those who wish to become the next generation of leaders in the field of conducting.
  • Develop a method of score study to help in all educational and professional settings.
  • Develop the skills necessary to lead ensembles in their specific discipline (band or orchestra, including theatrical accompaniment) with best-practice rehearsal strategies and methodology.
  • Conduct repertoire in all three disciplines of varying difficulty levels, spanning many genres and time periods.
  • Integrate best-practice rehearsal strategies with sound conducting technique in order to inform instruction with conducting gestures.
  • Develop the ability to think abstractly, analyze complex ideas or phenomena, synthesize or generalize knowledge across disciplines and sub-disciplines, interpret and apply scholarly findings to specialized topic areas, and communicate ideas effectively in both oral and written forms.
  • Develop an awareness of substantive publications in the field of music and conducting.
  • Describe the contemporary role that programming and assessment design plays in the teaching-learning process.

Wind Conducting Area

The Colorado State University Master of Music with a specialization in wind conducting is a two year residency program in a large, nationally recognized collegiate band program. Graduate students in this area gain valuable experience running all aspect of a comprehensive collegiate band program, including rehearsal techniques, performance experience, organizational skills, logistics, and recruiting. Graduate wind conducting students work with all band ensembles on campus, classical and athletic. As part of their coursework, students rehearse and conduct two performances with each of our three concerts bands, prepare and conduct a chamber wind recital, and write a thesis style “conductors analysis” document in addition to completing regular M.M. coursework. All wind conducting graduate students study conducting each semester with Dr. Rebecca Phillips, Director of Bands, complete two wind literature seminar courses taught by Dr. Phillips, and study one additional semester of conducting with Professor Wes Kenney, our orchestra director. It is expected that all applicants who wish to receive consideration will have a minimum of three years band teaching experience at the secondary school level. More information about the music graduate program can be located here.

The wind conducting studio has a three-graduate student capacity and we anticipate one opening beginning in the 2022-2023 academic school year. Wind graduate students are offered an assistantship that includes the following (details subject to change based on Board of Governors annual guidelines):

  1. 9-12 hours per semester of tuition for up to four consecutive fall/spring semesters
  2. Approximately $15,210 annual stipend*
  3. Health insurance costs covered as dictated by the university**
  4. Student fees are not covered by the assistantship. University semester fees are approximately $1,500.00. Updated information can be found here.

*All stipends are taxable - the university considers graduate assistants to be employees of the university.

**Please get more information about graduate student health insurance here.

Guidelines for graduate application consideration into the wind conducting program:

Step 1: February 1 Deadline

  • Complete the Graduate Degree Program Application by February 1 here.

Step 2:

Applicants who successfully complete Step 1 will be reviewed by the conducting faculty and notified by February 26th if they are invited for an on-campus interview and live audition process (if COVID-19 permits). These auditions will take place in March. Applicants will be notified of their results by April 1.

Full tuition for up to 12 credits is covered, whether you are in-state or out-of-state. All students who are out-of-state are required to begin their residency process immediately upon arrival so that they are in-state students by their second year.

We are looking for a fine musician who has developed their craft in both conducting and on their instrument; a strong academic student with a good record from their undergraduate studies; someone who is literate in both music theory and history (not off the charts, just simply informed); a person with a strong work ethic; someone with at least three years of teaching experience - students get so much more out of the degree when they know what they don’t know; a kind person who is a team player and really cares about music and music education.

Application Submission Requirements (H4) 

  • One official transcript for each collegiate institution where credit was received  
  • Three letters of recommendation  
  • Statement of purpose/professional goals  
  • Current curriculum vitae  

In addition, please upload:  

  • Video recording (conductor’s front) of a performance with your own elementary or secondary school ensemble (10 minutes)  
  • Video recording (conductor’s front) of a rehearsal with your own elementary or secondary school ensemble (10 minutes - same ensemble)  
  • Audio recording of your own elementary or secondary school ensemble (10 minutes minimum)  

*Note: If you submit YouTube videos, remember to make them “unlisted” instead of “private” so that we can view them.