University of Arizona

Graduate Conducting


The Wind Conducting program explores conducting while emphasizing personal creativity, gestural clarity, and ensemble leadership. Baton technique, score reading, score study, and rehearsal technique are equally emphasized and explored.

The objectives of the conducting program include the development of:

  • Self-awareness as a musician and conductor
  • A philosophical foundation of music and conducting
  • Score study which involves the synthesis of the elements of music and how they relate to the whole of the musical creation
  • Effective rehearsal technique: use of time, group psychology, problem solving
  • The physical aspects of body language, baton technique, and energy exchanges involved in the music-making process
  • Verbal and written skills along with wind band administration
  • An open and positive atmosphere

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 Symphonic Band.

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. Applicants will be required to submit a compilation video of conducting: 10-20 minutes of recent rehearsal and 10-20 minutes of recent performance. The camera must be facing the front of conductor. Links to unlisted YouTube (or similar) videos are acceptable.
  2. Along with the video, applicants will submit a copy of their resume and a current repertoire list indicating works both studied and performed.
  3. Applicants will write a narrative in a formal academic style that outlines long- and short-term goals, experience as a teacher at the public school level and/or college level, training experiences outside of the university degree plan, and influential experiences that contribute to your teaching and study.
  4. If the video is approved, applicants will be asked to visit the UA campus in the early Spring semester, where they will conduct one of the ensembles in a rehearsal, meet with various faculty, and have an evaluative lesson with Dr. Nicholson.
  5. Upon acceptance into the program, or prior to, applicants will be required to apply to The University of Arizona College of Graduate Studies. Information for this process is available through the School of Music Home Page.
  6. The deadline for application to the program is January 10 or until positions are filled. Early inquires and auditions are encouraged.

*NOTE: 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 3 Graduate Teaching Assistants per academic year, and the GTA’s are active on both the Athletic and Concert bands. Assistantships are renewable beyond the first year.

There is one expected Graduate Teaching Assistantship opening for Fall 2022.


Bachelor’s degree in Music
All potential applicants must meet the admission requirements of the The University of Arizona Graduate College.

Prior public school teaching experience is preferred for Master’s students and is required for DMA students.


Graduate teaching assistants in the wind studies area are given numerous 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 UA High School Honor Band as well as regular tasks to maintain ensembles, i.e. set-up, concert programs, scheduling, touring, and recording.

Graduate wind conducting students are on the staff of the Pride of Arizona Marching Band and will gain experience teaching and writing for athletic bands, as well as game management in football, basketball, and potentially volleyball.

Question about Athletic Band experiences will go to Professor Chad Shoopman at

Financial Benefits

GTAs 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 and will be confirmed prior in Spring 2022.

Deadline: Students should submit materials before January 10. Early inquiries are encouraged.

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