Choral Conducting

Conducting audition requirements

Master of Music (M.M.), Doctor of Music (D.M.)

In response to the ongoing pandemic, the Jacobs School of Music Office of Admissions and Financial Aid is adapting our audition procedures for 2021-2022 admissions to meet state and university guidelines related to COVID-19.

Non-native English speakers must submit their TOEFL by December 1, 2020. Your prescreen will not be reviewed until English Proficiency has been met.

  1. Conducting video recording, including:
    • A rehearsal: approximately 10 minutes, with camera positioned from the choir's perspective. Please provide large sections of a rehearsal with no editing. We would like to see how you respond to what you hear and your interactions with the ensemble to make improvements.

NOTE: In the era of COVID-19, we recognize the challenges facing all choral musicians. We are happy to consider rehearsal videos of very small groups (6–8) that sing in masks and are safely distanced from one another, or rehearsal videos from before March of 2020.

    • Optional: a performance: 15 minutes maximum of at least two contrasting works
  1. Résumé/Curriculum Vitae, including:
    • Musical training and education
    • Jobs (include non-musical positions if they have been significant)
  2. Repertoire list, including:
    • Works conducted in performance, including date and group
    • Works prepared, including when and for whom
    • Works assisted, including when and for whom
    • Works studied
  3. Video Statement of Purpose
    • Prepare a 5-7 minute video about how the events since March 2020 have affected your hopes and plans for the future. Why do you wish to start a graduate program in choral conducting at the present time?
    • We also look forward to reviewing your 300-500 word statement as part of your JSOM Supplemental application.
  4. D.M. applicants only: A writing sample (either a course paper or program notes) which demonstrates fluency and aptitude in written English.

In lieu of in person auditions, choral conducting auditions will be held online this year and by invitation only based on prescreen review.

Auditions will consist of four parts:

1) A Conducting Technique Demonstration

Upload a video of the following:

  • Conduct, while speaking/chanting the text, in tempo, "Let Nimrod, the mighty Hunter" from Benjamin Britten's Rejoice in the Lamb (Rehearsal 2 to Rehearsal 9). Please count out the first two measures (Sev- one- two- ti- four- five- six- sev ...) and include dynamics, articulation, etc. in your speaking of the text.

*M.M. applicants must also prepare Handel's Messiah, Mvt. 5, "Thus saith the Lord, the Lord of Hosts"

*D.M. applicants must also prepare Haydn's Die Schöpfung (The Creation) No. 21, "Gleich öffnet sich die Erde Schoss." The soloist will sing in German. Please start directly on the accompagnato recitative. A soloist & pianist will be provided. 

*Specific audition procedures will be communicated with applicants in the audition round via email. 

2) A Conducting Audition

This will be a live virtual audition. Details regarding the process are currently being reviewed and will be updated here. Applicants in the audition round will also receive detailed information regarding this audition step.

3)  An Interview with the Choral Conducting Faculty

In the live video interview we will want to hear about your background and aspirations, and we’ll answer questions you have about our program.  We will also use this time to learn about facets of your musicianship beyond conducting.  You will be asked to sight sing, play a brief piano reduction from a well-known choral work, and perhaps sing parts of your audition repertoire.  We may also ask questions about this repertoire (composer, context, analysis, translation, and why you chose the piece).  

4) Conversations with current graduate students

These conversations will be conducted live via video and gives you the opportunity to meet with current choral conducting students.

5)  A Written Diagnostic Exam

This *exam gives us more information about your musical skills and your knowledge of the repertoire. It will include a short dictation of a four-part Bach chorale and identification of the composer and era of a variety of choral scores.

Note: This examination is not in lieu of the graduate entrance exams.

*Specific audition procedures will be communicated with applicants in the audition round via email.

Your audition for our graduate program is also your audition for an assistantship. These include tuition remission, health insurance, and a stipend. Please see information under Graduate Scholarships for details. 

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