Minor in Conducting: Theater Music Direction Track


The conducting minor is an organized program of courses for students interested in conducting. The minor in conducting will consist of 10–12 credit hours, including core courses in conducting, orchestration, and specialized advanced electives, as well as opportunities for individual instruction through COND-498: Directed Study in Conducting. Students will decide on one of four tracks: contemporary (i.e., orchestral), theater music direction, choral, and music education.

The theater music direction minor is an organized program of courses for students who wish to acquire the skills and background to both conduct and play musical theater productions as well as manage the many facets of being a music director in the professional world. Those wishing to pursue the minor should have at least a basic knowledge of theater repertoire and an aptitude for the piano, as keyboard skills are increasingly a prerequisite for functioning as a music director.

Entrance Requirements

Students must complete the conducting core before beginning the minor and follow the regular declaration of minor procedure as outlined in the Registration Guide. This minor is managed by the Composition Department. The following courses compose the conducting core:

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the minor in conducting: musical theater direction track, students will:

  • develop coaching and teaching skills for singers and instrumentalists;
  • have a working knowledge of various theater technologies such as Ableton Live, keyboard programming, notation software, studio recording, etc.;
  • demonstrate advanced proficiency in general conducting skills;
  • demonstrate advanced proficiency in theater conducting skills;
  • understand how to cue in and out of free vamps;
  • learn how to lead and follow singers, both on the podium and at the piano;
  • analyze differences in groove-style and more traditional-style conducting;
  • communicate using theater terminology and the language and aesthetics of the theater;
  • have the ability to generate piano-vocal scores and vocal arrangements; and
  • synthesize the creative, organizational, collaborative, and managerial skills required to head the music department of a professional production of a new musical.
Curriculum and Courses

Required classes (five courses; 8 credits)

  • COND-331: Advanced Conducting Skills for the Theater (2 credits)
  • COND-332: Theater Musical Direction (2 credits)
  • PSVC-343: Coaching Theater Vocalists (2 credits)
  • COND-498: Directed Study in Conducting (1 credit)
  • ILPN-220: Musical Theater Keyboard Skills (1 credit) or ENVC-275: Singing Sondheim (1 credit; open to non-singers)

Choose two of the following (3 or 4 credits):

  • SW-345: Musical Theater Writing 1 (2 credits)
  • SW-445: Musical Theater Writing 2 (2 credits)
  • CW-257: Musical Theater Arranging and Orchestration (2 credits)
  • ENCL-404: Musical Theater Orchestra (1 credit)
  • MHIS-325: History of the American Musical Theater 1 (2 credits)
  • ILPN-220: Musical Theater Keyboard Skills (1 credit) or ENVC-275: Singing Sondheim (1 credit; open to non-singers)

Note: ILPN-220: Musical Theater Keyboard Skills may only be taken once.

Seven courses (11–12 credits) required for completion of the minor.