Boston Conservatory at Berklee's choral conducting program provides a completely unique experience for conductors in training. With direct access to the school's renowned voice and opera talent, and an abundance of ensembles to collaborate with, students in this program have the opportunity to conduct often and with some of the best vocalists in the nation.
The program is designed to build character, confidence, and artistry. Students learn from and work alongside a faculty comprising distinguished artists who use their firsthand performance experience to mentor students in developing their own artistic voice and leading an ensemble. Additionally, the Conservatory's prime location in the heart of Boston offers an abundance of organizations for which students can serve as chorus masters, church music directors, and community ensemble directors and conductors.
Students who thrive in the Conservatory's choral conducting program seek out opportunities to expand their music knowledge, strengthen their creative instincts, and sharpen their leadership skills. They are dedicated to learning a variety of music styles and techniques in depth, and are passionate about sharing thoughtful music interpretations with the community at large.
The choral conducting program is divided into two main areas of focus: experiential learning and academic study.
To gain practical conducting experience and to help develop confidence in performing in front of a group, students are given plenty of podium time through class activities, private lessons, and with large ensembles, such as the Conservatory's Choir, Chorale, and Conductors' Choir.
Meanwhile, students take specialized courses in choral repertoire, score study, and pedagogy. They also participate in forums designed to share and explore rehearsal techniques, performance protocols, repertoire, vocal technique, and a spectrum of artistic and practical issues. Throughout the program, students also take weekly private lessons in voice or in their primary instrument to keep their musical skills sharp.
The capstone of the degree program is a recital of either repertoire performed throughout the two-year program, or an ensemble assembled by the graduate conductor.
The M.M. in Choral Conducting requires students to complete 34 credits, consisting of the course requirements listed below. View the Sample Curriculum by Semester for additional details.
Upon matriculation to the Master of Music degree programs, candidates take proficiency exams in music theory and music history. These exams are designed to identify minimum competencies in both areas reflecting a typical undergraduate preparation in music. Any deficiencies revealed by these exams must be corrected within the first year in residence through successful completion of prescribed review courses in ear training, harmony, or music history.
- M-AP 0009 Applied lessons (12 credits)
- M-AP 0091 Applied Concentrate lessons (2 credits)
- M-AP 0793 Conducting: Conductors’ Choir (0 credit)
- M-EX 6001 Oral Comprehensive Exam (0 credit)
- M-LT 0731 Choral Repertoire 1: Antiquity to Early Baroque (1 credit)
- M-LT 0732 Choral Repertoire 2; Early Baroque to Classical (1 credit)
- M-LT 0733 Choral Repertoire 3: 19th Century (1 credit)
- M-LT 0734 Choral Repertoire 4: 20th and 21st Century (1 credit)
- M-LT 0735 Score Study: A Cappella Masterworks (1 credit)
- M-LT 0736 Score Study: Choral and Orchestral Masterworks (1 credit)
- M-PD 0711 Pedagogy 1: Voice (1 credit)
- M-SK 0009 Recital (0 credit)
- M-SK 5731 Score Study Practicum (2 credits)
- M-ST 0909 Seminar in Conducting: Orchestral (1 credit)
Academics and Electives
- M-LT 5103 Writing About Music (1 credit)
- M-LT 5104 Communicating About Music (1 credit)
- M-LT 712xx Graduate seminars in Theory & Analysis and/or M-LT 713xx Music History (6 credits)
- Xxxxx General electives (2 credits)
What You Will Learn
Upon successful completion of the M.M. in Choral Conducting, students will:
- conduct, instruct, and lead a choral ensemble of any size and at any level; and, drawing on information gleaned in Choral Repertoire courses and their own experiences leading the Conductors’ Choir and large ensembles at the Conservatory, provide that ensemble with appropriate and challenging programming and high-quality repertoire;
- comprehend, analyze, and research choral works from a range of musical traditions, with an understanding of the context in which those works were created, and then interpret those works to and for an ensemble;
- research and network to discover and perform works of underrepresented composers and appreciate the necessity of programming and promoting those works;
- create community through music-making, understanding the importance of communication within an ensemble as well as between the ensemble and its leader, and recognizing and honoring the primal urge of humans to sing together;
- pursue a career as a professional chorister, as a choral conductor or as a conductor in other genres;
- collaborate with peers in creating, developing, and marketing a new ensemble or instructional program; and
- create a musical life for themselves that is best suited to their own skills, interests and personal mission.
Alumni of the Conservatory's choral conducting program have landed coveted positions with esteemed choruses, music ensembles, and schools, including:
- Cantata 4 Ensemble
- Chatham Chorale
- Choral Art Society
- Nightingale Vocal Ensemble
- Guilford College
- Mountain View College
- Simmons College
- Worcester Polytechnic Institute