Master of Music, Music Education — Conducting Specialization

The Master of Music, Music Education – Conducting Specialization

The Master of Music (M.M.), Music Education – Conducting Specialization is an exclusive online degree program at Colorado State University. The program features the annual Summer Conducting Seminar, the residency portion of the degree, with additional courses offered online during the school year.

Classes are designed for current middle school and high school choir, band, and orchestra directors who seek to further their personal knowledge and conducting skills while earning a master’s degree, completing most of their course work in three summers.

Students enrolled in the program will receive well-rounded experience in conducting and further specialized training for the twenty-first century music educator.

The two-and-a-half week conducting seminar (four credits each summer) includes daily conducting opportunities in all three disciplines with a workshop orchestra, band and choir, providing further hands-on training. All participants learn to conduct in all three disciplines.

In addition, each student takes three, 3-credit academic classes (music history, analytical techniques and music research), one 3-credit music education course (Foundations of Music Education) and three, 1-credit seminars on various topics of interest to music educators. These courses are either offered on campus during the summer or online during the school year.

The complete program consists of 30 credits. A maximum of six credits in the academic courses can be transferred to your graduate program from NASM-accredited universities pending approval by your advisor and the Graduate School.

Program-level Learning Objectives

  • Develop the skill, intellect, and musicianship necessary among those who wish to become the next generation of leaders in the field of Music Education.
  • Develop a method of score study to help in all educational and professional settings.
  • Develop the skills necessary to lead ensembles in all three disciplines (band, orchestra, and choir) of all levels with best-practice rehearsal strategies and methodology.
  • Conduct repertoire in all three disciplines (band, orchestra, and choir) of varying difficulty levels, spanning many genres and time periods.
  • Integrate best-practice rehearsal strategies with sound conducting technique into the secondary school music classroom and/or community/professional ensemble, 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 education and the field of education as a whole.
  • Define national trends in music education that impact K-12 educational settings.
  • Describe the contemporary role that curriculum and assessment design plays in the teaching-learning process.


Adam Torres

  • Senior Instructor of Music
  • Director, MM Summer Conducting Program

Registration and Tuition for the Summer Session

Applications will be accepted until Feb. 1. Please apply online through the Graduate School website. Space is limited.

  • 2024 Tuition Rate (Summer): $770 per credit (4 credits) plus $1,500 fee; total is $4,580.

Summer Conducting Seminar for Music Educators: June 27 – July 13, 2024

Sample Summer Seminar Curriculum

  • Advanced Conducting
  • Score Preparation
  • Rehearsal Strategies
  • Rehearsal Techniques
  • Laban Method for Expressive Conducting
  • Historical Performance Practice

Hands-on sessions taught by CSU faculty and prestigious pedagogues from around the country and projects are designed for immediate implementation in your teaching program.

Summer Conducting Seminar Final Concert: Saturday, July 13, 2024, 7 p.m. TICKETS

2023 Seminar Faculty

Alumni News and Testimonials

conducting studentNovember 23, 2022

Dear Dr. Phillips, Professor Kenney, and Dr. Kim,

I just wanted to send a quick note to update you about the conducting competition in Lake Como, Italy that I participated in this past week. The video I sent in with my application was from this past summer conducting the 3rd Mvt. of Tchaikovsky Serenade for Strings. The format of the program at CSU has really allowed me to participate in some special opportunities. I shared with many conductors around the world [the] unique format [of] working with professional musicians, and working with orchestral, band, and choral ensembles. Lots of people complimented the program's format, and I know that it is really special and unique. Thank you for the dedication to this art form, and creating a unique opportunity for students to work with real ensembles and have a dynamic amount of repertoire to study and conduct.

I can share more about the competition in person next summer but the talent pool was very competitive...the two winners were from Spain and Italy. Despite the results, the opportunity to connect with musicians and conductors from all around the world, and discuss music, conducting, and the profession was worthwhile in itself. Plus, this lined up with an audition that my partner Sydney has in Rome on Thanksgiving Day (tomorrow!) for the Rome Opera House, so we were able to make a trip out of it. Thank you all again and have a great Thanksgiving holiday!

Andrew Hill
Current student in the masters conducting program

Gregory Gates headshotFebruary 22, 2022
I am very grateful to have had such a diverse and well-rounded conducting experience at CSU. I am teaching choir for the first time this year and I could approach it confidently because I had the background from the CSU summer master's program. I'm also grateful to have had such an awesome cohort that is still there for me when I need advice or support. 
Gregory Gates (he, him, his)
Wayne Care Middle School – Westminster, Colorado, Band and Orchestra Teacher
2009 B.M. Music Education
2019 M.M. Music Education
headshotMarch 8, 2021
Dear Professor Stewart,
I am writing to let you know that I have been accepted into the Ph.D. in music education program at the University of Colorado. There is no way I would be where I am now without the amazing summer program that you and Professor Kenney have built at CSU. I wanted to express my deepest thanks for all of the work you do to make it possible!
—Charles Oldenkamp (2014, M.M. Music Education, Conducting Specialization)

grad student

August 2, 2020

The Colorado State University Summer Conducting Program is exceptional. The ability to have in-person experiences in the summer while continuing course-work online during the school year is incredibly valuable as an educator. Through this program, my conducting and my classroom have flourished and I am excited about the progress my colleagues and I have made over the past three years.

Specifically, the summer course provides rigorous and rewarding conducting experiences through high-level repertoire. The podium time is musically fulfilling and allows the conductor to apply new conducting concepts and gestures. The ability to conduct band, choir, and orchestra ensembles is unique and results in a well-rounded conductor. The summer course creates a setting where life-long friendships and personal connections can be built in combination with confidence and skill. Despite the challenges that COVID-19 posed on the program, our professors persevered and provided a fantastic online course that was equally gratifying as the in-person summer experience. The ability to spend uninterrupted time with each master teacher and complete an in-depth analysis of a masterwork has bettered my score preparation and conducting gesture more than I could have imagined. I am thankful for the dedication of the Colorado State University Conducting faculty and to the music program for their flexibility and willingness to adapt their instruction so my colleagues and I could complete our Master’s Degree on time. The CSU conducting faculty have raised the bar and set an example for all educators moving forward.

I would highly recommend Colorado State University’s Graduate Conducting Program to any prospective student.  The summer experience is unmatched and I will be forever grateful for my education from Colorado State University.

Dru Deitch, M.M., 2020
Conductor, Susquehanna Young Women's Chorale
Eagle View Middle School in the Cumberland Valley School District

Susanne Norwood promotional photoJuly 28, 2020

As a conducting student in this summer's CSU music education program, I was impressed and amazed that the online format was equal in rigor to our in-person seminars in previous years. The one-on-one conducting lessons were fantastic and the group conducting classes worked very well as distance learning opportunities, too. Thanks to CSU and the conducting faculty for providing such an enriching and engaging summer of graduate studies!

Susanne Norwood, M.M., 2020
Vocal and Instrumental Director at Lyndon Institute
Lyndon Center, Vermont

Mary Turner headshotI took my middle school and high school choirs to contest this week. They both made straight 1s, or Superiors, for their concert performances. I attribute this in large part to the ease with which they were able to make adjustments to nonverbal requests from their director for better articulation, stronger entrances, more powerful dynamic contrasts, etc. Five years ago, I would have been tearing my hair out, telling students with words to fix these issues but lacking the gestural tools to remind them when their music was no longer in their hands, or when they were under pressure and would forget. Thanks to you and the CSU program, I have this whole language that I can use with my ensembles...and it WORKS!
Mary Turner, M.M., 2014

Ted HallbergApril 17, 2019

Hello Professor Kenney!

I just want to take a minute to thank you for all that I learned from my MME in Conducting degree at CSU. My community orchestra, the Cherokee Symphony, performed their season closer on Sunday. It was our annual student concerto concert, which included several solo works plus an overture which was a world premiere.

If it wasn't for the score study method that you taught me in my first summer, I think we would have had major troubles in this performance. My confidence in my conducting was higher because of it. It also helped me find all the layering effects the composer put in the overture and was able to identify a couple errors for him to correct (minor ones such as removing mute and arco markings).

As it was, following these student soloists was a breeze compared to the Mozart recitative I had to conduct in my third summer — ha! Also, through the rehearsals and the performance, I kept hearing your voice say "too big" and "get rid of the hitch."

All that said, I thank you for pointing out my weaknesses and failures while I was in the program. I had to hire in a couple professionals to fill in the viola section. One of them came up to me at the end and complimented me on my conducting. That type of praise never happened before I took the degree from you and the rest of the conducting faculty.

Thank you again — and good luck to you in the future!

Ted Hallberg, M.M. 2012
Orchestra Director/Music Coordinator, Le Mars Community Schools, Le Mars, Iowa
Conductor, Cherokee Symphony

Susanne NorwoodMarch 4, 2019

Dear Ms. Stewart, Maestro Kenney, and Dr. Kim, 

I just wanted to thank you for the CSU conducting program, for all your expertise and efforts, and for the amazing opportunities this program has opened up for me recently.
In the next few weeks, I will be guest conducting at the Vermont ACDA's annual Great Day of Singing event as well as at the Bernie Sanders' Town Meeting on Arts Education. I've also been nominated as president-elect of Vermont's ACDA chapter. This is in addition to guest conducting the Kingdom East Choral Festival in our region last month.
I am so thankful to have been accepted to CSU's conducting program and am so grateful for the opportunities it has provided me. I just wanted to share the good news with you, since I believe it is coming to me because of your tutelage. 
I hope you are all well and having a rewarding year. I'm looking forward to this summer's seminar!
All my best, 
Susanne Norwood

Matt Cody, 2014, M.M.Matt Cody, 2014, M.M. Music won first place in the American Prize for conducting at the community orchestra level. According to the organization's website, the American Prize in Conducting recognizes and rewards the best orchestral, choral, band/wind ensemble, opera and musical theater conductors in America, based on submitted recordings.

Matt entered CSU's Summer Conducting Program in 2012 as a middle school band director from Decorah, Iowa. By the time he graduated in 2014, he knew he wanted to conduct an orchestra but there wasn't one where he lived. Maestro Kenney suggested that Matt start a community orchestra made up of his music teacher colleagues, high school, and adult musicians from Decorah, as well as students and faculty from nearby Luther College. Within a few weeks of returning to Iowa, the Oneota Valley Community Orchestra held their first rehearsal, and in just three years since it's inception, has won this prestigious prize!

Evan Dixon headshotFeb. 19, 2017

Good Evening Professor Kenney,

I hope you are well and living life to its fullest. This evening I find myself looking over a score and getting into vivid details on individual part tuning. In speaking with a colleague, I admitted how much I truly love getting this much in touch with what I am to be teaching next quarter.  I thought to myself how much I have you to thank for that.

Sincerely, thank you for how much you have added focus and direction to my personal understanding of music. The impact of the summer master's program had immediate results, however the long lasting dedication to truly knowing the music I am to conduct is where I am finding the most success. The philosophy you have instilled within me of pre- study, dedication to the music, and total mastery of the craft make my students far more successful than I could have realized. The skills of efficiently picking apart a score through application of what, how, and when to teach students each concept continues to be a strength of mine, largely thanks to you.

Thank you for all you do, and all you have done for me.

Evan Dixon, M.M., 2012

Eric Colgrove headshotDear Professor Kenney,

I wanted to thank you again for your instruction and influence during my time in the master's program at CSU. I have recently accepted a position as the director of the Symphonic Band and Chamber Orchestra at Oklahoma Christian University in Edmond, Oklahoma. I am very excited about this opportunity and know that I would not have been prepared for this without the experiences I had at CSU.

I really enjoyed conducting orchestral music at CSU and look forward to working with an orchestra at the collegiate level. Thank you for instilling that love of orchestral music and providing those experiences.

Eric Colgrove
Instructor of Music; Director of the Symphonic Band and Chamber Orchestra
Oklahoma Christian University

Eric was formerly the band director at Widefield High School in Colorado Springs, and graduated from the program in 2012.

Feb. 14, 2017

Good afternoon Professors Kenney and Stewart,

I hope you are both doing well!

I wanted to take a minute and say thank you for the quality of the summer program at CSU. In the past couple of months, I have had some great conducting experiences. My time at CSU was a huge factor the performances going well.

In Dec., my high school band hosted a local brass band for a joint concert. Their music director cancelled a few days before the performance and I was asked to conduct on short notice. Thanks to the score study methods I learned at CSU, the performance went very well!

In Jan., I had the opportunity to conduct the Symphony Band at the University of Iowa with the directors from Iowa, Iowa State, Northern Iowa and Drake University looking on. Again, the workshop went very well thanks to the tools I learned in my time at CSU.

Thank you both for the time and energy you put into making that program a success. I would not be able to do what I can today without it.

Charles Oldenkamp, M.M., 2014