Music MM in Conducting, Instrumental
The MM in Instrumental Conducting provides an opportunity for the rigorous study of advanced conducting skills, score analysis/marking, and score preparation for effective rehearsals and expressive performances. The degree serves those who have a passion for music, have had some conducting experience, and wish to pursue advanced studies either as teachers in the public schools or students wishing to join the profession or pursue a doctorate. The program emphasizes musical understanding, advanced baton technique as well as skills in communication and musical leadership-all requisites for success as an instrumental conductor.
Students will know how to:
- Analyze a score for detailed knowledge of the composition, which may include: melody, harmony, form, rhythm, tempi, orchestration, dynamics, style, and expression.
- Utilize scholarly analysis to formulate personal interpretive decisions, such as tempi, phrasing, dynamic architecture, timbre, texture, and stylistic matters.
- Explain the historical context and stylistic issues of music from the various historical periods.
- Demonstrate rehearsal techniques that lead to structured and systematic learning as well as musical achievement.
Students will obtain skills to conduct with appropriate gestures for ensemble precision and artistically compelling performance.
Evidence of Learning
School of Music faculty prize certain subjective, critical components of a music education such as musicality, creativity, and originality. They recognize the difficulty of assessing such elements objectively, and understand the very act of measuring them drains away their virtue and value. Faculty assess other more explicit evidence of learning using traditional tools throughout the course of classes and lessons, and at periodic advisement points as determined by the college advisement center. These tools include:
- Term papers
- Evaluation of performance in private lessons and large ensemble
- Monitoring progress through the College Advisement Center
- Class assignments
Learning and Teaching Assessment and Improvement
Conducting music is studied and practiced in two ways: (1) studio/seminar time with the professor (2) actual laboratory time with musicians.
The studio time involves study of the printed score, repertoire, rehearsal technique, baton technique, and creative/interpretive thought. The actual time in front of the ensemble is when the aspects of the studio time are put into use as music making.
Assessment of these skills during studio time is gained through discussion, inquiry, written examination etc. However, unique to the performing arts, observation while the student is performing as a conductor is quite holistic and somewhat subjective--resulting in an assessment which alludes standard "assigned grade evaluations. This evaluation is even more complex when measuring conducting effectiveness with a large ensemble--as the conductor is not only "performing," but reacting and problem-solving in real time. Nevertheless, the major professor and the student's graduate committee can do these observations and assessments in the moment--or often, use electronic video recordings later reviewed.
In the end, assessment of conducting is incrementally "graded" for academic purposes. However, the ongoing process of mentoring, coaching and interacting with the student conductor as they work to understand and apply more "correct principles" is where we find the greatest success. Unfortunately, this methodology--while being very effective--is perhaps the most difficult adapt into the into the norms of to standardized assessment found in the academic grading system.