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How much podium time do graduate students receive?

Podium opportunities are individually tailored to the needs of each student.  The instrumental ensemble offerings are extensive, and conducting students are constantly working with players in rehearsals, performances, and sectionals.  Students are expected to observe and participate in rehearsals, and are frequently called upon to coach sectionals or cover rehearsals.  While students are not individually assigned to specific ensembles, conducting opportunities on performances rotate with each concert cycle to allow varied experiences and to address specific needs for the education of each student. 

Orchestral conductors appear with the Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonia, and Casella Sinfonietta.  Wind conductors appear with the Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, University Band and Casella Sinfonietta.  We have no barriers between these ensemble areas, however, and students are encouraged to cross between areas to further develop their knowledge and experience. These appearances can be combined over the course of an academic year to comprise degree recitals.

What does the culminating experience for the degree program entail?

For MM students, the final degree requirements include a recital (described below) and a final project that may take any one of several forms: a comprehensive examination, a research paper, detailed program notes for the recital, etc.  The best choice for an individual student is selected in consultation with faculty.

For DMA students, three dissertation recitals are required, in addition to a comprehensive examination and a final document. The examination typically comprises three days of providing written answers to a broad range of questions designed to test your knowledge and understanding in the field, followed by an oral examination. The document must comprise original research within the field, on a topic chosen in consultation with the Doctoral Advisory Committee. The defense of this document can take many forms: a formal lecture, a lecture-recital, etc., all of which are accompanied by discussion and questioning from the committee.

What might assistantship duties include?

Graduate students receiving tuition waivers and assistantships are expected to work 20 hours per week. That time is typically assigned to duties according to the experiences and needs of the student and the School of Music. Those duties may include: assisting with ensemble rehearsals and logistics, assisting with undergraduate conducting classes, assisting or teaching in the music education area, work in the Ensembles Office, or direct assistance to conducting faculty. Doctoral students in their second or third year may be assigned as teacher of record for University Band and our two-semester sequence of undergraduate conducting courses.

Assistantship assignments typically would not include regular set up for rehearsals and performances (though you may be asked to help), library work, etc.

Do wind conductors have duties with athletic bands?

Potentially, yes. UNCG does not have a football team, but we do have an active Athletic Band program to support our NCAA Division 1 basketball and volleyball teams. One graduate student conductor is assigned to work with the athletic bands for a portion of their total assistantship assignment. This assignment rotates through the studio in order to provide varied experiences and assist with long-term career development.

Does the orchestra program collaborate with the opera program?

Yes. The spring semester always includes a full collaboration between the orchestra and opera programs. The fall opera often utilizes a chamber orchestra or a smaller-scale production.  Graduate students may be involved according to their interest and experience. Some recent productions include:

  • Verdi – Falstaff
  • Mozart – Die Zauberflöte
  • Menotti – The Consul
  • Glass – Galileo Galilei
  • Mozart – Don Giovanni
  • Poulenc – Dialogue of the Carmelites
  • Ravel – L’enfant et le sortileges

Do I need to audition for and perform in an ensemble?

Not necessarily, though we encourage it if you are interested and two credits of ensemble participation is required for MM students. Private study on your instrument is also encouraged, assuming there is space in your particular studio.