Program: Music, M.M.

Conducting Option

Program Description

The Master of Music option in Conducting allows students to pursue advanced studies in orchestral conducting, band/wind ensemble conducting, or choral conducting.

Program Requirements

A. Application Requirements for the Conducting Option

  1. Bachelor’s degree, including preparation equivalent to the undergraduate Music major. Choral conducting applicants must show evidence of undergraduate coursework in vocal pedagogy.
  2. Entrance audition required. See Department of Music—Audition and Placement for entrance requirements.
  3. Taking the department graduate placement examinations in Theory and History prior to first enrollment. Students failing the placement exams may repeat them once or complete the appropriate review coursework—MUS 500 Music Theory Review and/or MUS 501 Music History Review—with a grade of “C” or better.
  4. Students will receive two formal aural skills assessments:
    1. Each prospective conducting graduate student completes an audition by means of a rehearsal with a CSUN orchestra, choir or concert band. During this rehearsal-style audition, the respective faculty member will assess the applicant’s skill at error detection of rhythm and pitch.
    2. The Graduate Placement Exam given to all entering Master of Music students will include an added aural skills assessment for entering conducting students only. This written assessment will include a melodic and harmonic dictation analysis.

A student identified to be lacking in aural skills will receive remedial ear-training skills training from the applied conducting instructor as a component of applied lessons. At the conclusion of the first semester of studies, the graduate student will be re-tested using the assessment methods described above.

B. Admission Requirements for Classified Status

All graduate students in music are accepted to the program as conditionally classified. To achieve classified status in the graduate program, the following are required:

  1. Completion of University requirements for admission to classified graduate status.
  2. Completion of any deficiencies that were determined by the Department of Music at the time of admission.

For more information about requirements for admission, graduate classification and requirements for graduation, please consult the Graduate Studies section of this Catalog.

C. Course Requirements

1. Required Courses (12 units)

One class from the following:

MUS 603A Seminar in Renaissance Music (3)
MUS 603B Seminar in Baroque Music (3)
MUS 603C Seminar in Classical Music (3)
MUS 603D Seminar in Romantic Music (3)
MUS 603E Seminar in 20th Century Music (3)
MUS603J Seminar in Jazz History and Cultures (3) (Required for Jazz Concentration)
MUS 692A-Z Selected Topics in Music History (3)

2. Area of Concentration (Minimum of 18 units)

a. Conducting: Orchestral

MUS 404 Symphonic Literature (2)
MUS 605 Teaching Music in Higher Education (3)
MUS 660B Individual Conducting Lessons (2,2)
MUS 682 Graduate Symphonic Orchestra (1,1,1,1)

Electives (5 units)

Electives to be chosen as approved by area coordinator and Music department graduate advisor.

b. Conducting: Band/Wind Ensemble

MUS 405 Wind Literature (2)
MUS 605 Teaching Music in Higher Education (3)
MUS 660A Individual Conducting Lessons (1,1)
MUS 660B Individual Conducting Lessons (2,2)
MUS 696A Directed Research (1)
MUS 679 Graduate Wind Ensemble (1,1,1,1)

Electives (2 units)

Electives to be chosen as approved by area coordinator and Music department graduate advisor.

c. Conducting: Choral

MUS 565 Seminar in Advanced Instrumental Conducting (2)
MUS 566 Seminar in Advanced Choral Conducting (2)
MUS 605 Teaching Music in Higher Education (3)
MUS 660B Individual Conducting Lessons (2,2)
MUS 672 Graduate Northridge Singers (1,1,1,1)

Electives (3 units)

Electives to be chosen as approved by area coordinator and Music department graduate advisor.

3. Culminating Experience

MUS 698 (listed in the core requirements above) includes an oral comprehensive review:

Each graduate student in the Department of Music is required to pass an oral comprehensive review that allows the committee to evaluate their artistic abilities and research skills. The graduate project committee, consisting of the student’s major professor and at least one additional faculty member, will administer the oral comprehensive review. The oral review will be created and scheduled by the student’s major professor in consultation with the area coordinator, and it will cover the student’s major field of study.

If the oral comprehensive review is not attempted or passed, the student will receive an RP (report in progress) in MUS 698 and may attempt the oral review again during any of the subsequent three semesters.

Students may not take the oral review more than twice. Failure of the second attempt of the oral review will result in the student’s disqualification from the graduate program.

Total Units Required for the M.M. Degree: 30


Department of Music
Chair: Lorenz Gamma
Cypress Hall (CY) 116
(818) 677-3181

Graduate Coordinator: Steve Thachuk
(818) 677-2846

Program Learning Outcomes

Students receiving a Master of Music in Music will be able to:

  1. Continue development of professional and scholarly competence within their area of specialization.
  2. Continue development of individual talent, musical interests, and philosophies to be used creatively to preserve and extend the cultural heritage of music.
  3. Continue development of artistic and intellectual rigor in the organization, interpretation, communication, and dissemination of musical knowledge.
  4. Develop skills fundamental to their area of specialization applicable across a variety of music and music-related professions.
  5. Develop professional competence in the execution of business processes and practices commonly employed within their area of specialization.