Music — Conducting

Program Type
Master’s Program
Master of Music (MM)
Mode of Study
In Person

Tuition & fees

Costs include tuition & fees. See cost details

Credit hours

31 required credit hours. Most courses are equal to 3 credit hours. Browse course list

Financial aid

Over 150 graduate assistantships available with stipend & tuition assistance, plus scholarship, fellowship & research opportunities. Explore aid


No GRE required. Apply for fall, spring, or summer term. View application process & deadlines

Program highlights

  • Earn your degree on your terms: Study full-time and finish in as few as 2 years or study part-time and finish in 4 years.
  • Take advantage of our flexible program schedule which is designed for working adults.
  • Benefit from community partnerships with esteemed organizations such as the Portland Symphony Orchestra, Casco Bay Wind Symphony, Portland Jazz Orchestra, Opera Maine, and others.
  • Learn from a faculty of nationally and internationally distinguished performers, teachers, scholars, and mentors with experience in a comprehensive range of genres.
  • Gain experience performing as a conductor and as part of a variety of ensembles in both on-campus and off-campus opportunities.
  • Study in a program that is accredited by the National Association of Schools and Music (NASM).
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Faculty of distinguished performers

The Osher School of Music offers a personalized and opportunity-based approach to educating musicians, featuring a faculty of distinguished performers (nationally and internationally), teachers, scholars, and mentors with experience in all styles of music.

A graduate student conducts a group of singers.

Professional preparation

Upon graduation you’ll join an alumni network of successful conductors, performers, composers, and music educators who hold positions in music leadership across the U.S. and internationally.

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Graduate student support

Our Office of Graduate Studies connects you with opportunities for professional development, scholarships, and graduate assistantships. They also foster our graduate student community through Peer Mentorship and the Graduate Student Board.

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Program requirements

Our conducting graduate program is for students who wish to pursue a career conducting music in one of three areas: choral, orchestral, or wind. Curriculum focuses on bibliography and research in music, music theory, music history, applied music, and culminates in a final recital.

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Our performance season

Attend and engage in our Faculty Concert Series; the Southern Maine Symphony Orchestra; Scholarship Gala; Chamber Singers; University Chorale; Concert Band; our annual musical; opera; ensembles of jazz, vocal jazz, winds, and composers; as well as student recitals, masterclasses and performances by internationally known guest musicians.

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Scholarship opportunities

Scholarships offer financial aid that doesn’t need to be repaid. We encourage students in graduate degree programs to apply for scholarship opportunities.

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Do you live in New England?

You may be eligible for a reduced tuition rate, as part of the NEBHE Tuition Break Program.

Check eligibility
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Connect with us

Our monthly Graduate Information Sessions are an excellent way to learn more about the benefits of our program, as well as our admissions and financial process.

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Next steps

Our graduate admissions counselors are here to answer your questions about the admissions process, our academic programs, and student support services.

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Admission information: Masters of Music in Conducting

Application deadlines

We accept applications on a rolling basis and review them continuously.

Application deadlineFall term startSpring term startSummer term start
FinalAugust 1December 15April 15
International applicantsJune 1October 15Not available

Applicants to the Osher School of Music graduate program in conducting must fulfill the following requirements prior to enrollment:

  • A baccalaureate degree or its equivalent in music or music education.
  • An audition (by invitation only; see details below).
  • One year or its equivalent of full-time teaching or conducting experience.

Music Audition

Once the application in the Office of Admissions is complete, the Osher School of Music Graduate Studies Committee will review the materials and make a recommendation to the School’s coordinator of graduate studies. The program advisor for the specific area of concentration will contact applicants selected for audition. Applicants will take a sight-singing exam at the time of the audition.

Each area of conducting specialty has specific audition requirements outlined below. Acceptance into an area of study is exclusive to that area, and a separate application and audition is required for each area. Due to the intensive and individualized nature of a graduate program in music, admission in specific areas will be limited. Preference will be given to conductors who have performance expertise.

The conducting audition requires:

  • Choral: prepare a musical score(s) of at least ten minutes duration, know its musical structure, and be able both to conduct it and to sing any musical line.
  • Orchestral: prepare the first movement of a Beethoven symphony, know its structure, and be able to conduct it.
  • Wind: prepare the Ralph Vaughan Williams “Folk Song Suite,” know its musical structure, and be able to conduct it and to sing any musical line.
  • Optional for the conducting audition:
    • Choral: play at the piano the following: a five-minute piece of at least the level of difficulty of a Clementi sonatina; all major and minor scales, hands together, two octaves; a Bach chorale at sight; “My Country ’tis of Thee” in all keys with an improvised accompaniment of I, IV, V chords; sing two art songs, one in Italian and one in English.
    • Instrumental: perform a five-minute piece on an instrument of the applicant’s choice that demonstrates a level of competence equivalent to a Bachelor of Music on that instrument.

Applicants are required to provide the following materials:

General requirements

  • Application: Online application
  • Application fee:
    • In-state, out-of-state, and Canadian applicants: Free to apply
    • International applicants: Submit US $50 fee to apply
  • Transcripts: Official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended, excluding the seven campuses of the University of Maine System (UMS transcripts are accessible to USM). A transcript is official when sent directly from the institution.
  • Resume: Submit a resume or CV that outlines professional, volunteer, and community experience.
  • Students whose first language is not English may be required to take one of the following: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Pearson Test of English (PTE) or Duolingo. Applicants must submit official scores as part of the application process. See additional information regarding test scores and requirements.

Additional requirements

  • Personal statement discussing your reasons for pursuing graduate study, your professional goals, and how you think this program of study will contribute to these goals.
  • Two letters of recommendation: Recommendations should be from individuals who are qualified, through direct experience with your academic or professional work, to comment on your ability to undertake graduate study and your chosen profession.
  • Video recording which contains at least 15 minutes of conducting, at least half of which should be of a performance. Recording may be submitted to the separate Get Acceptd application platform.
  • Representative repertoire of works performed.
  • Audition: See details above in the Applicant Qualifications section.

International student instructions

View additional application requirements

English proficiency test scores

View test requirements

Where to send application materials

Get our mailing address and email address