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We encourage all prospective students to contact us for a Zoom meeting before submitting an application, so we can discuss the process and our program in detail. We can also connect you with our current students, who can answer questions about their experience in our program. We look for characteristics of curiosity, motivation, and musicianship in applicants for our program. As the DMA is a terminal degree in preparation for a professional/academic career, prior experience (teaching or performing) is a preferred qualification. Our MM students typically come from a variety of backgrounds, ranging from several years of public school teaching to coming directly from an undergraduate program. 

The application and audition process is in three parts:

  1. Application to the UNCG Graduate School 
  2. A review of prescreening materials, submitted by December 1
  3. An on-campus audition for selected applicants

Prescreening Materials

In addition to all the required components of your application (including letters of recommendation, transcripts, etc.), prescreening materials will be uploaded with the online application. Those materials include:

  • Video recordings of the applicant conducting an ensemble in a rehearsal and in a performance. The videos must be recorded from the ensemble’s perspective, with the camera facing the conductor.
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Repertoire list, including ensemble names and dates of performances.

The video recordings are an important part of your application, as they allow us to see you rehearse and perform in your environment. We understand that applicants may have varied experiences and might conduct different levels of ensembles. We are most interested in observing how you communicate and make music in rehearsal and performance with your ensemble. The choice of repertoire is flexible – choose what you think represents your best work. We would like to see about 8–10 minutes of continuous rehearsal, and 10–15 minutes of total performance. If possible, we suggest you provide two or three performances that demonstrate stylistic variety.

A faculty committee will evaluate your application and prescreening materials, and a limited number of people will be invited for an on-campus audition. Auditions typically take place in February.

On-Campus Audition

The audition day is organized similar to a job interview. You will conduct a rehearsal, meet with a faculty committee for an interview, spend time with students, talk with an administrator, observe rehearsals, and tour our campus. Repertoire for the conducting portion of the audition will be communicated when invitations are extended.

Invited students will also be sent materials to prepare for a musicianship and aural skills assessment. This typically includes a two-voice selection from Morris and Ferguson – Practical Exercises in Score Reading, and an open-score Bach chorale to be analyzed for error detection. In addition, we will ask you to do some simple singing and pitch matching.

Sample audition day schedule:
9:30 a.m. Meeting with Dr. Caldwell (including musicianship assessment)
10:00 a.m Interview with audition committee
10:30 a.m. Meeting with School of Music administrator
11:00 a.m. Campus and building tour with current graduate students
11:30 a.m. Lunch, visit with conducting graduate students
12:30 p.m. Study time
1:00 p.m. Observe Symphonic Band rehearsal
2:00 p.m. Audition, observe Wind Ensemble rehearsal
3:45 p.m. Wrap up meeting and lesson with Dr. Caldwell