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The Wind Ensemble playing music
School of Music

Master of Music in Instrumental Conducting

Michael Colburn, Director of Bands, conducting

We offer both a MM in Choral Conducting and a MM in Instrumental Conducting. The MM in Instrumental Conducting program is designed for students interested in expanding their knowledge, skill, and effectiveness in conducting instrumental ensembles. This traditional degree program is designed with the full-time student in mind, and blends the practical experience of coached conducting experiences in front of our instrumental ensembles (Butler University Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, and/or Symphonic Band) with weekly individual lessons in score study, gesture, rehearsal techniques, and repertoire knowledge. While it is not required, students may choose to focus on either band or orchestral conducting. The program will be tailored to meet the needs and expectations of the individual student, whether their goals are the pursuit of conducting professional or university ensembles, or improving their performance as a band or orchestra director at the secondary level. 

How to Apply

Important Dates:

January 1: Application deadline for fall entry, including pre-screening materials for voice applicants.

March 1: Interview and audition deadline for fall entry.

Steps for Applying:

Step 1: Complete the Application for Graduate Admission. NOTE: To submit a graduate application, you need to have previously completed a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university and be seeking an advanced degree. Your Application for Graduate Admission should include:

  • Butler Application
  • ​​A Professional Statement
  • Official transcripts  or copies of official transcripts from all colleges and universities where candidates:
    • Earned a degree
    • Earned more than 15 credits (undergraduate and graduate)
    • Completed any program prerequisite (regardless of number of credit hours)
    • Completed courses for which candidates are applying for transfer credit
  • Resumé
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • International applicants must take the TOEFL as well as submit additional financial documentation. See International Student Application process.

Transcripts
Copies of official transcripts may be uploaded in the online application for application review only. Applicants who receive an offer of admission will be required at that time to submit official final transcripts issued directly from the institution(s) for verification prior to enrollment. More information is available in the application for admission.

Step 2: Complete the JCA Graduate Music Supplement. The supplement will appear on your application status page after submitting your Application for Graduate Admission. The supplement is required in order for your application to be considered complete.

Step 3: Submit Pre-Screening video. The Pre-screening should include a video in front view of the applicant conducting a recent performance AND a rehearsal including at least two selections of contrasting style and/or period. Ideally, rehearsal and performance will contain the same repertoire. Submit video recordings as a link to an online source such as YouTube, DropBox, or GoogleDrive via email to music@butler.edu. The subject line of the email should include your full name and "Conducting Pre-Screen". 

Step 4: Complete an interview and conducting audition with conducting faculty. Auditions will be scheduled through the School of Music office beginning in mid-January. Applicants must receive approval of their pre-screening video before being invited to interview and audition. The audition will consist of a demonstration of conducting skills, instrumental or vocal performance proficiency, and an aural skills exam. Audition deadline for fall entry is March 1. If you have any questions or have not been contacted about your pre-screening results or to set up an audition, please email music@butler.edu.

Degree Overview

Total Credit Hours: 30 credit hours
Anticipated Duration: 2 years
Degree requires a conducting recital and final oral comprehensive exam.

Required courses:

  • Advanced Conducting
  • Major Instrument lessons
  • Ensemble
  • Research in Music
  • Analysis in Relation to Performance
  • Designated Music History Elective
  • Designated Music History or Music Theory Elective
  • General Music Electives
  • Conducting Recital
  • Final Oral Examination

Download full degree guide as a PDF:  MM in Instrumental Conducting

Graduate Assistantships and Tuition Waivers

Concert Bands Assistantship

Eligibility: Full-time, degree-seeking graduate students seeking fall-term entry. Preference is given to MM in Instrumental Conducting students, but students pursuing any degree plan are encouraged to apply.

How to apply: Select the Concert Bands assistantship position when prompted on the Graduate Application. An interview is required.

Award Details: Includes a full tuition waiver of graduate tuition of 15 credit hours per year plus a stipend.

Duties: Serve as assistant to Prof. Michael Colburn, Director of Bands. Position will require 10-20 hours of service per week. Schedule, specific duties, and exact number of hours per week are to be determined.

Faculty supervisors: Michael Colburn, Director of Bands 

Butler Symphony Orchestra Assistantship

Eligibility: Full-time, degree-seeking graduate students seeking fall-term entry. Preference is given to MM in Instrumental Conducting students, but students pursuing any degree plan are encouraged to apply.

How to apply: Select the Orchestra assistantship position when prompted on the Graduate Application. An interview is required.

Award Details: Includes a full tuition waiver of graduate tuition of 15 credit hours per year plus a stipend.

Duties: Serve as assistant to Prof. Richard Clark, Director of Butler Symphony Orchestra. Position will require 10-20 hours of service per week. Schedule, specific duties, and exact number of hours per week are to be determined.

Faculty supervisors: Richard Clark, Director of Butler Symphony Orchestra

Faculty

Michael Colburn- Professor, Director of Bands, Wind Ensemble
Richard Clark- Professor, Director of Butler Symphony Orchestra
Matt Smith- Director of Athletic Bands, Symphonic Band
Brian Weidner- Assistant Professor, Director of Symphonic Band, Instrumental Music Ed

Contact Us

For application or general questions, contact the School of Music office at music@butler.edu or 317-940-9065

To discuss audition materials, contact the conducting faculty member in your preferred area of study (i.e. orchestra vs. band) see "Faculty" tab above or visit Faculty & Staff webpage.