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Study in the instrumental conducting studio is divided into three components: private lessons, group seminar, and conducting lab. Students have weekly lessons with Dr. Caldwell. Additional study may be possible with choral conducting faculty (pending availability). All instrumental conducting graduate students also meet for a two-hour weekly seminar and one-hour conducting lab.

Private lessons with Dr. Caldwell are individually tailored to the needs of each student. During each lesson, time is spent developing musicianship skills, establishing principles of expressive movement, discussing rehearsal and performance video, and addressing other topics pertinent to each student. We devote considerable attention to developing the aural image through a sequence of interval tracking, transposition, tonal and atonal singing, score reading, and score analysis. Texts used in private lessons include:

Seminars are organized in a rotation of topics and projects designed to provide deep contextual understanding as well as practical knowledge that prepares students for careers as performers and scholars. Students give two academic presentations each semester related to these topics, which are enriched by faculty and guest lectures. 

Conducting lab meets most weeks during each semester for one hour. Students conduct in this setting for masterclass-style feedback on repertoire that is specifically selected to provide a wide variety of experiences over time. While students typically perform in the lab ensemble, we are also fortunate to have instrumental, keyboard, and vocal faculty collaborate as lab performers. A semester-long study of opera conducting (arias and recitatives) with faculty performers is a key component of the sequence. 

Sample 3-year DMA curricular sequence:
Fall Spring
Year 1  Seminar: Ensemble History
Individual: Conducting Pedagogy
Lab: Standard Chamber Works
Seminar: History 1600–1750, Orchestration (bowings, harp)
Individual: Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Access
Lab: Harmonie
Year 2  Seminar: History 1750–1880, Percussion
Individual: Programming
Lab: Opera Arias and Recitatives
Seminar: History 1880–present
Individual: Community Engagement
Lab: String Orchestra
Year 3  Seminar: Topics based on individual need/interest
Individual: Job materials
Lab: Mixed Meters
Seminar: Topics based on individual need/interest
Individual: Research and Writing
Lab: Standard Chamber Works

In addition to the standard curriculum, instrumental conducting graduate students also regularly collaborate with faculty and graduate students in the UNCG Sports and Exercise Psychology program in the Department of Kinesiology. Students work individually and together as a studio to learn strategies for dealing with the psychological demands and mental health challenges of instrumental conducting including maintaining connection with the ensemble in rehearsal, nervousness, “imposter syndrome,” and more. This collaboration allows students to gain proficiency in a wide range of skills to better prepare them for a future in instrumental conducting.