Choral Conducting, M.M.

Center for the Performing and Cinematic Arts / BOYER COLLEGE OF MUSIC AND DANCE

Learn more about the Master of Music in Choral Conducting.

About the Program

The Department of Vocal Arts offers a program of study leading to the Master of Music in Choral Conducting. Graduate majors in the department have the opportunity to conduct a number of resident ensembles, as well as present their own recitals with the Graduate Conductors Chorus.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 6 years

Campus Location: Main

Full-Time/Part-Time Status: The degree program can be completed on a full- or part-time basis.

Interdisciplinary Study: With the approval of the major advisor, students may elect to take up to 6 graduate credits outside the field of music.

Accreditation: This degree program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).

Areas of Specialization: The degree is intended to prepare students for successful careers in choral music by providing the highest level of training in the many skills required for the choral conductor, including technical, theoretical, analytical, historical, linguistic, keyboard, and vocal skills. The department prepares students to become teachers and conductors striving toward the highest possible artistic excellence.

Job Prospects: The program prepares musicians for either professional activity or doctoral study.

Non-Matriculated Student Policy: Non-matriculated students may enroll in select courses in music with permission of the department chair and the Associate Dean.

Financing Opportunities: Boyer College of Music and Dance offers a number of assistantships and academic internships to matriculated graduate students. Full awards carry a cash stipend plus full tuition remission for the Fall and Spring terms. Partial awards also are available in values of 1/4 or 1/2 of a full award. Duties for assistantships and internships vary, but typically include teaching, tutoring, classroom assistance, research, artistic performance, and/or direct service related to academic programs. Assistantship and internship awards are made only in the Fall term for up to two terms: Fall and Spring. Awards may be renewed on an annual basis (typically up to one additional year for master's students and up to three years for doctoral students) based on departmental needs as well as satisfactory academic and musical progress by the recipient.

Admission Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadline:

Fall: December 1

Applications are processed as they arrive up to the deadline date.

APPLY ONLINE to this graduate program.

Letters of Reference:
Number Required: 2

From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained from evaluators who can provide insight into the applicant's abilities, talents, and aptitude for graduate study.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration: All applicants must present credentials that are the equivalent of the appropriate Bachelor of Music degree at Temple University, which is based on a curriculum of 124 to 135 hours.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: A degree in music is expected.

Statement of Goals: Include your special interests within the discipline and expectations for the program.

Standardized Test Scores:
Applicants who earned their baccalaureate degree from an institution where the language of instruction was other than English, with the exception of those who subsequently earned a master’s degree at a U.S. institution, must report scores for a standardized test of English that meet these minimums:

  • TOEFL iBT: 79
  • IELTS Academic: 6.5
  • PTE Academic: 53

Resume: Current resume required.

Transfer Credit: A student who wishes to transfer credit should speak with her/his academic advisor and obtain a "Request for Transfer of Graduate Credit" form, found in TUportal under the Tools tab within “University Forms.” Transfer credits must be approved by the advisor, the department chair, and the Associate Dean. The maximum number of credits a student may transfer is 6.

Other: Due to the large number of applications for admission and the competitive nature of its music programs, the College admits only a portion of its applicants. In addition to the general admissions credentials required of all Temple University graduate applicants, specialized admission criteria (i.e., auditions, portfolios, interviews, recommendations, departmental term papers, and standardized examinations) are very heavily weighted in admission decisions of the Boyer College of Music and Dance. Graduate applicants may be rejected for admission for failing to obtain the required level of proficiency in any one area of the specialized admission criteria regardless of the level of success in meeting the Temple University general admission criteria. In addition to the level of success demonstrated in the above-mentioned criteria, a final admission factor is the College's Optimum Enrollment Policy. This policy may preclude the admission of any student who meets the minimum requirements.

Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required Beyond the Baccalaureate: 32

Required Courses:

MUSC 8207Vocal Pedagogy for the Choral Conductor2
MUSC 8300Concert Choir (2 terms)2
MUSC 8351Choral Conducting Seminar I2
MUSC 8352Choral Conducting Seminar II2
MUSC 8353Choral Conducting Seminar III2
MUSC 8354Choral Conducting Seminar IV2
MUSC 8359Choral Literature: 1910 to the Present2
MUSC 8361Choral Literature 1450-16102
MUSC 8362Choral Literature 1610-19102
MUSC 8364Choral Literature in the Global Community2
MUSC 8384Private Lesson: Choral Conducting Major (2 terms)2
MUST 8701Research in Music3
MUST 8742Seminar in Theoretical Analysis3
or MUST 8746 Seminar in Stylistic Analysis
Electives 14
Total Credit Hours32

Additional Requirements:
Diagnostic Examinations:
Diagnostic examinations in Aural Theory, Written Theory, and Music History are required for all entering master's students. The exceptions are students in Jazz Studies and Music Therapy who have their examinations arranged within their respective departments. In addition, Keyboard students take an additional two-hour examination in Keyboard Literature. As stated in the Boyer College Graduate Handbook, master’s "students may not take final qualifying examinations nor perform graduation recitals until all diagnostic examinations have been successfully completed."

The exams may be taken in one day or split over three days, or the exams can be taken online for a fee. Preparations are provided upon registration. Visit the Boyer College of Music and Dance website for the graduate music examination schedule and registration form.

Please note that registration for a student's first term of study is completed in consultation with the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. Please re-read the admission letter, especially the “Special Notes” section on page 2, regarding any entrance deficiencies. If any remedial coursework is required, it must be completed by the end of the first year of study. It is also best for students to complete MUST 8701 Research in Music, which is required of all students except those in Jazz Studies, Music Education, and Music Therapy in the first year of study.

A. Graduate Diagnostic Examination in Aural Theory

The examination lasts approximately 40 minutes and consists of a written portion in which students are asked to:

  1. Dictate a chord progression that modulates and contains chromatic harmony by writing out the bass line and identifying chords by Roman numerals and inversions.
  2. Complete a two-part melodic dictation that modulates and contains chromatic pitches.

B. Graduate Diagnostic Examination in Written Theory

The examination lasts one and one-half hours and is in two parts: 

  1. Harmonic analysis of two chorales: one that uses diatonic harmony, and one that uses chromatic harmony.
  2. Analysis of the form, motives, and phrase structures of the first movement of a Classical-era piano sonata.

C. Graduate Diagnostic Examination in Music History

The examination lasts one hour and contains objective questions in a multiple choice and/or true/false format. It covers composers, forms, instruments, musical works, styles, and terms from 1450 to the present. Sample questions are:

  1. The basso continuo came into use in about which year?
    (a) 1500  (b) 1600  (c) 1650  (d) 1700
  2. Who composed Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth)?
    (a) Mahler  (b) Bruckner  (c) Brahms  (d) Schumann
  3. Which of the following instruments would not be found in the score of a symphony by Haydn?
    (a) horn  (b) oboe  (c) timpani  (d) trombone  (e) trumpet

D. Conditions for Exemption from Diagnostic Examinations

The requirement to take the Diagnostic Examination in any area is waived only for graduates of the Boyer College of Music and Dance who:

  • matriculate and enroll in the term immediately following completion of all undergraduate degree requirements; and
  • received grades of "B-" or better in every undergraduate course taken in each individual examination area to be waived.

Proficiencies in Voice, Piano, and Musicianship:
Proficiencies are evaluated by the department in the first term of graduate study.

Professional Development Policy:
In addition to taking the required subjects for their degrees, all students in the Boyer College of Music and Dance are obligated to serve in a number of capacities in order to enrich their academic and musical expertise. Boyer College of Music and Dance believes that such experiences give impetus to successful professional careers. Among the duties that may be required are conducting laboratory classes; tutoring; teaching private lessons; coaching; participating in the distribution and inventory control of Temple University-owned musical instruments and instructional materials; participating in ensembles; accompanying; performing at admissions and open house events; supervising performance classes; and engaging in other academic activities.

Performing Ensembles:

  1. Touring: All students in touring performing ensembles are required to participate in all scheduled tours. These tours, usually one or two weeks in length, often take place immediately after termination of academic terms. Students must arrange their schedules to accommodate this requirement.
  2. Participation: Master's degree candidates in wind, brass, and percussion instruments must be available for ensemble assignments at the discretion of the department chair, including participation beyond curricular requirements.
  3. Non-Credit Participation: With special permission, graduate students for whom there is no ensemble requirement, or where previous ensemble credits exceed the graduation requirement, may participate in choral and instrumental ensembles without cost, with prior permission from the ensemble director, the department chair, and the Associate Dean.

Independent Study Courses:
Independent study courses provide a special opportunity for graduate students to work in a highly individualized setting with one or more faculty members. All such study must receive the approval of the faculty member providing the instruction, the students' major advisor, and the Associate Dean. Approval is granted only after the student has presented a detailed description of the intended independent study project. Approval of independent study projects is granted only for students whose academic and musical record provides substantial support for the benefits of this type of study. In no case may more than 20% of a graduate student's curriculum be taken as independent study. Private lessons beyond those required in the curriculum are not an appropriate form of independent study.

Acceptable English:
All students, including those for whom English is not the native language, are expected to present all written work in acceptable English. No double standard exists to differentiate students on the basis of proficiency in the use of the English language. Students are also responsible for becoming familiar with the College's statement on plagiarism and academic honesty.

Graduate Private Lesson Policy:
Graduate students in non-performing curricula may take up to six credits of applied study toward the degree with the permission of the major advisor. Such non-required lessons may be taken only if the student can pass the normal graduate-level performing audition expected of performance majors. In this event, a fee of $200, not covered by tuition remission, is charged.

Alternately, a graduate student, regardless of major, with a demonstrable performing proficiency that may not meet the more rigorous requirements of a graduate-level performing audition, may, by audition, qualify to take two credits of applied study per term for graduate credit. These courses carry a fee of $400 plus tuition and may be applied to the non-performing curriculum for degree credit up to six credits with the approval of the major advisor. Tuition remission may not be used to cover the private lesson fee.

Incompletes:
All incomplete grades and keyboard proficiencies must be fulfilled by the first day of the month in which the student expects to graduate.

Culminating Events:
Comprehensive Examination:
All candidates for the Master of Music degree are required to take a comprehensive examination in the major area which is designed and given by the department in the final term of coursework. With this final comprehensive spoken examination, each student spends one hour with the entire choral faculty answering questions that are mostly from the major field but also often include other areas of music, art, history, theory, etc. Often, but not always, examples are played at the piano for historic placement and identification. The students prepare for the exam mostly through a thorough review of eight notebooks, four each from Choral Literature and Choral Conducting Seminar. The exam is scheduled by the department and graded by all of the department’s graduate faculty.

Public Recitals:
Choral Conductors present two recitals in the second year of study, utilizing the Recital Chorus and the Graduate Conductors Chorus. One public recital is required in the Fall term (MUSC 8353) and one in the Spring term (MUSC 8354).

Graduation recitals are typically one hour in length, presented on-campus in either Rock Hall or Klein Recital Hall, and adjudicated by three full-time music faculty members. The student must show evidence through Temple University transcript records of having taken private lessons up to the time of the graduation recital.

Contacts

Program Web Address:

https://www.temple.edu/academics/degree-programs/choral-conducting-mm-bc-chco-mmus

Department Information:

Dept. of Vocal Arts

Center for the Performing and Cinematic Arts/Boyer College of Music and Dance

2001 N. 13th Street

Philadelphia, PA 19122-6079

choirs@temple.edu

215-204-8304

Submission Address for Application Materials:

https://apply.temple.edu/Boyer/

Department Contacts:

Admissions:

James Short

jshort@temple.edu

215-204-8598

Program Coordinator:

Dr. Christine Anderson

christine.anderson@temple.edu

215-204-8375

Chairperson:

Dr. Paul Rardin

rardin@temple.edu

215-204-4742