The Fred Fox School of Music offers the Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts Degrees in Instrumental Conducting with a Wind Band emphasis.

Recognizing the diversity of many graduate students, we find that students are often interested in Wind Band, Orchestra, Opera, Choral Music, and Musical Theatre. A program can be designed for an individual student to explore several of these areas during the course of a degree program.

The Wind Conducting program explores the philosophy of conducting with emphasis on the development of ones’ creativity and individuality. Baton technique, score reading, score study, and rehearsal technique are equally emphasized and explored. The objectives of the conducting program include:

  • development of self-awareness as a musician and conductor.
  • development of a philosophical foundation of music and conducting.
  • developement of score study which involves the synthesis of the elements of music and how they relate to the whole of the musical creation.
  • development of effective rehearsal technique: use of time, group psychology, problem solving.
  • development of the physical aspects of body language, baton technique, and energy exchanges involved in the music-making process.
  • development of verbal and written skills.
  • development of an open and positive atmosphere in which students can feel free to express themselves.

Conducting students receive a one-hour studio lesson per week, attend a conducting seminar, and are required to attend all Wind Ensemble or Wind Symphony rehearsals (per assignment) as well as observe other conductors (faculty and visiting).

Conducting students are given ample podium time distributed throughout the Wind Ensemble, Chamber Winds, Wind Symphony, Athletic Bands, and the Concert Band, as well as numerous other ensembles within the instrumental studios.

Course requirements are available through the School of Music Home Page and appropriate links.


Email, write, or phone Dr. Chad Nicholson for initial contact.


The University of Arizona
Fred Fox School of Music, Rm. 166B
The University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ 85721-0004

  1. You will be required to submit a video of your conducting. Recording should be between 10-20 minutes in length and should include both rehearsal and performance footage (camera facing front of conductor). Video must either be a DVD or YouTube upload. Along with the video, please include a copy of your resume and current repertoire list indicating works both studied and performed. Additionally, students should write a narrative in an academic style that outlines important experiences, events, and goals, both in short and long terms.
  2. If your video is approved, depending upon the COVID status in the Spring, you will either participate in several interview/audition sessions/interviews/exam for a day via Zoom, and it is possible you would need to submit more audio/video. The exam can includes musical terms, transposition, analysis, and general knowledge of wind repertoire.
  3. Upon acceptance into the program, or prior to, you will be required to apply to The University of Arizona College of Graduate Studies. Information for this process is accessed through the School of Music Home Page.
  4. Campus interviews are normally scheduled during the months of February and early March. The deadline for application to the program is January 10 or until positions are filled. Early inquires and auditions are encouraged.


If your materials are accepted at the preliminary level, Dr. Nicholson will be in contact with you regarding any changes to the final audition process.

The UA Bands utilize between 3-4 Graduate Teaching Assistants per academic year. Assistantships are renewable for one year beyond the first year.

Note: For Fall 2020, there may be one Graduate Teaching Assistantship available. This is entirely dependent upon administrative decisions in light of COVID. Please check back here periodically for any status updates.


Bachelor’s degree in Music
All potential applicants must meet the admission requirements of the The University of Arizona Graduate College.
Public school teaching is desirable for Master’s students and preferred for DMA students.


Graduate teaching assistants in the wind studies area are given many opportunities to conduct and coach major ensembles as well as perform administrative duties within the program. GTAs’ are responsible for coordinating wind studies events such as the Southwest Honor Band as well as the daily running of the ensembles, i.e. set-up, concert programs, scheduling, touring, and recording.

Conducting GTA students may also qualify for additional assistantships to serve as instructional and administrative staff for the Athletic Bands. Those interested may contact Professor Chad Shoopman  at

Financial Benefits

GTA’s in the Band Area receive in and out-of-state tuition waivers as well as a stipend which is based on the student’s assignment and level. Exact amounts vary from year to year. Current levels of the stipend range from approximately $5,400 to $11,000.

Deadline: Students should submit materials before March 15. Early inquiries are encouraged.

Further Info: Email, write, or phone Dr. Chad Nicholson for initial contact.
The University of Arizona
Fred FoxSchool of Music
Rm. 166B
Tucson, AZ 85721-0004