From pedagogy to podium: an analysis of doctoral orchestral conducting curricula and their responsiveness to entry-level orchestral conducting positions
Sorensen, Julie K. Ullery
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Many occupations have a standard path for education and training that leads to a professional career. The training for a professional or university-level symphony orchestra conductor is not standardized though different methods are recognized. One method of conductor training in the United States is through degree-granting programs at a university or conservatory. The purpose of this study is to identify universities accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) that offer doctoral level programs in orchestral conducting and evaluate the identified programs’ current curricula to determine if the current requirements are adequately preparing students for careers with professional orchestras and academic institutions. This study examines whether or not the Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A) programs in orchestral conducting are responsive in adequately preparing entry-level academic and professional orchestra conductors. In order to determine responsiveness of orchestral conducting D.M.A. programs to entry-level job requirements and responsibilities, orchestral conducting D.M.A. curricula are gathered from the identified universities websites and are compared to NASM requirements. Trends in the D.M.A. curricula are then compared to academic and professional orchestral conducting position requirements publicly advertised between July 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017. Through the course of the study it is shown that the D.M.A curricula in their present form are responsive to industry and academic job requirements and responsibilities in the areas of conducting and musical skills. The results of the study also show that the current curricula have room for improvement in the areas of administration and scholarly development. Additionally, although the D.M.A. curricula are responsive to entry level positions, the majority of the posted conductor positions did not require a doctoral degree as a prerequisite for employment.