Music Conducting Track

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 (see the audition information page for more information). 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, Critical History, & Methods

  • MUSC 139 - Piano I Credit(s): 1
  • MUSC 140 - Piano II Credit(s): 1
  • MUSC 189 - Elements of Music Theory Credit(s): 3
  • MUSC 226 - Music History I: Music and the European City, 1685-1803 Credit(s): 3
  • MUSC 227 - Music History II: Key Figures in Music History, Beethoven to Beyoncé Credit(s): 3
  • MUSC 236 - Thinking Through Music I Credit(s): 3
  • MUSC 256 - Elements of Diatonic Harmony and Polyphony or  MUSC 258 - Elements of Jazz Harmony Credit(s): 3
  • MUSC 315 - Analytical Methods Credit(s): 3
  • MUSC 327 - Thinking Through Music II Credit(s): 3
  • MUSC 331-339 Seminar in Musicology Credit(s): 3r)
Music Performance Requirement

Applied Study

Two semesters (4 credits total) of one of the following:

  • MUSC 350 - Piano for the Performance Option Credit(s): 2 *
  • MUSC 351 - Voice for the Performance Option Credit(s): 2* 
  • MUSC 352 - Woodwinds for the Performance Option Credit(s): 2*
  • MUSC 353 - Brass for the Performance Option Credit(s): 2*
  • MUSC 354 - Strings for the Performance Option Credit(s): 2*
  • MUSC 355 - Percussion for the Performance Option Credit(s): 2*

An additional two semesters of one of the following:

  • MUSC 450 - Piano for the Performance Option Credit(s): 2
  • MUSC 451 - Voice for the Performance Option Credit(s): 2
  • MUSC 452 - Woodwinds for the Performance Option Credit(s): 2
  • MUSC 453 - Brass for the Performance Option Credit(s): 2
  • MUSC 454 - Strings for the Performance Option Credit(s): 2

Recitals, Juries, & Public Performance

  • MUSC 359 - Junior Recital Credit(s): 1
  • MUSC 459 - Senior Recital Credit(s): 2

Ensemble Participation

  • Eight semesters (8 credits) of either MUSC 160 Choral Organization or MUSC 165 Instrumental Organization (see note below**)

In addition students must participate in:

  •  A Jury examination each semester in the Music Performance Option;
  • Performance on a Friday Afternoon Recital (FAR) each semester in the Music Performance Option or in some other public, faculty-sponsored event approved by the principal instructor.

Notes š

*Prerequisite of two semesters of applied study at the 200 level or equivalent

**Ensemble Requirement: Participation in the following specified performance organizations each semester in the Music Performance Option (NOTE: a maximum of eight credits may be applied to the degree)

  • Music Performance Option-Piano: a MUSC 160 or MUSC 165 organization, or an equivalent activity approved by the Piano Coordinator and participation in weekly Piano Seminar;
  • Music Performance Option-Voice: a MUSC 160 organization (placement by audition and participation in weekly Voice Seminar;
  • Music Performance Option-Woodwind, Brass, or Percussion: MUSC 165 Chamber Symphony, Wind Ensemble, or Jazz Ensemble (placement by audition) and participation in weekly Instrumental Seminar;
  • Music Performance Option-String: MUSC 165 Symphony Orchestra and participation in weekly Instrumental Seminar. A maximum of eight credits may be applied to the degree.
Conducting Courses

Total Credits: 21cr

  • MUSC 141: Voice for the General Student (1cr)
  • MUSC 240: Piano (2cr)
  • MUSC 257: Harmony II (3cr)
  • MUSC 259: Elements of Figured Bass (1cr)
  • MUSC 317: Orchestration (3cr)
  • MUSC 340: Piano (2cr)
  • 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.