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Music Conducting Track

(Music BA with Pre-professional Studies Minor in Conducting)

The SUNY Geneseo Conducting program is a pre-professional program that includes courses in choral and instrumental conducting at the beginning and advanced levels. Baton and rehearsal techniques, score preparation, and musical interpretation are stressed.Participating in the departmental ensembles and helping them prepare for public performances is an essential part of the conducting experience at SUNY Geneseo.

Students interested in the music conducting focus should first apply to the Music BA, Performance Track on their primary instrument or voice (audition information may be found here). Conducting students complete all the requirements for the Music Performance major in addition to those for the pre-professional minor in conducting. 

Program Requirements: 66 credits
Methods and Musicianship Requirement

The basic requirements for the Music BA balance training in musicianship with methods for critical inquiry and exploration of our rich musical world.

Total Credits: 26

Musicianship Requirement

  • MUSC 139, 140  Piano I and II (2cr)
  • MUSC 189  Elements of Music Theory (3cr)
  • MUSC 256 or 258 Harmony I: Elements of Polyphony or Elements of Jazz Harmony (3cr)

Critical Histories and Methods

  • MUSC 236, 327 Thinking through Music I and II (6cr) 
  • MUSC 226 Music History I: Music in the European City, 1685-1803 (3cr)
  • MUSC 227 Music History II: Key Figures in Music History, Beethoven to Beyoncé (3cr)
  • MUSC 315 Music Analysis (3cr)
  • MUSC 331-339 Seminar in Musicology or Ethnomusicology (3cr)
Performance Requirement

Total Credits: 19

  • MUSC 160 or 165   Performance Organization (8cr)
  • MUSC 350-355  Intermediate Studio Instruction* (4cr)
  • MUSC 450-455  Advanced Studio Instruction (4cr)
  • MUSC 359  Junior Recital  (1cr)
  • MUSC 459  Senior Recital  (2cr)

 * prerequisite of two semesters at the 250 level or equivalent

In addition, each student electing to focus in music performance must complete a jury examination each semester as well as participate in the Friday Afternoon Recital Series each semester in the major.

Preprofessional minor in Conducting

Total Credits: 21cr

  • MUSC 141: Voice for the General Student (1cr)
  • MUSC 240: Piano (2 cr)
  • MUSC 257: Harmony II (3cr)
  • MUSC 259: Elements of Figured Bass (1cr)
  • MUSC 317: Orchestration (3cr)
  • MUSC 340: Piano (2 cr)                                                       
  • MUSC 365, 366: Conducting I & II  (6cr)                                                       

Three of the following methods courses in trumpet, clarinet, percussion, high strings, and low strings selected from:

  • MUSC 142: Woodwinds for the General Student (1cr)
  • MUSC 143: Brass for the General Student (1cr)
  • MUSC 144: Strings for the General Student (1cr)
  • MUSC 145: Percussion for the General Student (1cr)

Program Design

The BA curriculum in Music with a focus in Music Performance centers on three broad learning areas: musicianship; studio instruction and technique; and public performance. Each area contributes to the achievement of specific learning outcomes.


The first year centers around a year-long course in musicianship, with students receiving instruction in basic solfège, written harmony, keyboard, and aural skills. In addition to written mastery of all music theoretical rudiments, learning outcomes for the first-year musicianship course focus on the development of skills necessary for creative expression in music. These include a conceptual understanding of the rudiments of music theory, including scales, keys, and chords; an ability to sing and transcribe diatonic melodies as well as those that modulate to closely related keys; and an ability to provide a written three- or four-part harmonization of a diatonic melody or bass, as well as those that modulate to closely related and relative keys, making appropriate use of standard cadential and sequential patterns.

Studio Instruction & the Development of Technique

The center of Geneseo's curriculum in music performance is one-on-one studio instruction with a private teacher. With their teacher, students learn proper technique on their instrument or voice, studying appropriate repertory depending on each student's background and individual learning goals. Yet just as crucially, through studio instruction, students also learn correct practice technique needed for developing a disciplined, methodical approach to learning repertory. Each student focusing in music performance receives one hour of private tuition on their instrument or in voice every week, as well as one hour of weekly studio class or seminar instruction. In addition, vocalists meet each week with one of the department's vocal coaches, while instrumentalists meet regularly with the instrumental accompanist in preparation for recital performance.  

Recitals & Public Presentation

An equally important part of music study involves learning how to take everything learned in the studio and apply it in performance and other forms of public presentation. Students at Geneseo have extensive opportunities to perform both on and off campus. In addition to frequent ensemble performances, each student focusing in music performance participates in the department's Friday Afternoon Recital Series each semester. All junior's present a 30-minute recital while seniors present an hour-long solo recital. Advanced students participate in the department's annual honors recital competition as well as in the department's concerto competition for an opportunity to perform as soloists with the Geneseo Symphony Orchestra. For these and other opportunities, students learn how to approach a performance as a matter of its own technique, learning how to deal with issues of anxiety, learning good habits leading up to a recital and good habits of presentation when reciting, how to engage an audience, and more.