Requirements for further studies in the field

Conducting requires a wide range of musical skills. Different programs assess these skills in different ways. Some institutions incorporate these as part of their audition process. Others assess conducting ability based only on application videos and audition, and test these skills after the student has already been admitted into the program. In very competitive programs, these skills are often considered in the applicant's transcript.

Possible additional requirements for auditioning for a Masters program in conducting.

  • Sightreading of on the piano of Open Score Bach Chorales in C-Clefs
  • Sightreading from a full score of an orchestral work in a transposed score
  • Sightreading of 16-bar rhythm
  • Sightsinging a 16-bar tonal melody
  • Sightsinging a 16-bar atonal melody
  • Test of knowledge of instrumental range and transposition
  • Test of knowledge of Band, Choral or Orchestral Repertoire. 
  • Dictation of a Bach Chorale
  • Dictation of an atonal melody 
  • Conducting two contrasting works in audition with a live ensemble, one demonstrating the ability to control slow tempi and shape lyrical lines, and one demonstrating to manage mixed meter and fast tempo transitions 

Complementary skills

As leaders of ensembles, conductors are called upon to work closely as a part of a team with administrative and production staff that take care of work in stage management, marketing and promotion, education and outreach, fund-raising and development, libraries and score editions. In addition, conductors are often required to have some proficiency in a language other than their first language.

To that end, we recommend volunteering for board positions within college ensembles to get a more holistic perspective of the job of a music director and to develop competencies in leadership and organization.


Relevant music courses (Mount Holyoke)

  • Chamber Music (Music 143, Music 147)
  • Composition (Music 115, Music 215, Music 315)
  • Conducting (Music 242)
  • Keyboard Skills (Music 151)
  • Large Ensembles (Music 155, 191, 193, 293, 297)
  • Music History (Music 128, Music 281, Music 282, Music 371)
  • Music Theory (Music 231, Music 232, Music 334)
  • Orchestration (Music 222)
  • Solo Performance Study (Music 151)

Please look at the current course offerings at the department to ascertain what is available in the current term. 

Relevant non-music courses (Mount Holyoke)

Courses available in the Five Colleges

Off-campus opportunities

Listings of Competitions, Masterclasses, Summer Festivals, Workshops:

Professional organizations