Master of Music in Choral Conducting – 3 Summers Program

Music at Simpson College and CORO are excited to partner and offer a new Master of Music (M.M.) degree in Choral Conducting. Achieved over three consecutive summer terms, this NASM-accredited program allows choral educators or others working in the choral field an opportunity to complete the M.M. degree while continuing to teach and pursue their professional endeavors during the academic year.

The three-summer Master of Music in Choral Conducting program at Simpson College is a unique plan of study that combines the academic rigor of a traditional graduate program with generous podium time for each student in lab and performance settings with the CORO Vocal Artists, a professional vocal ensemble whose roster contains professional artists from across the United States.

Conducting experience during the summer consists of rehearsal and performance podium time each week. During the academic weeks, students participate in daily rehearsals with the Institute Choir and conduct performances for the Friday Cafe Series. These performances consist of selected repertoire that has been studied in the Choral Literature course, discussed during the Seminar in Choral Conducting, and rehearsed with the Institute Choir. All conducting students also receive podium time during the Summer Festival where they explore new music in the Composer’s Institute, conduct Discovery Series concerts with the CORO Vocal Artists, and participate in the performance of a choral masterwork.

M.M. in Choral Conducting Statement of Purpose

We are pleased to announce that we are now accepting applications for the Summer 2018 cohort!

Apply for the M.M. Here

Highlights of This M.M. in Choral Conducting:

  • Three summers to complete your M.M. in Choral Conducting while keeping your full-time job in the field during the academic year. The program combines the academic rigor of a traditional graduate program with generous podium time for each student in lab and performance settings. The reason you find so few summers-only M.M. in Choral Conducting programs is because they lack the high-quality choral ensemble needed to improve your conducting skills. The partnership with CORO solves this.
  • Extensive podium time with a highly-trained ensemble in rehearsal and concert settings. The partnership with CORO allows all graduate students generous podium time in front of the CORO Vocal Artists in order to complete their conducting and recital requirements of the degree. Performances led by the graduate students take place during the academic semester and in the CORO Summer Choral Festival.
  • Engagement with multiple internationally-acclaimed conducting faculty, guest artists, a professional orchestra, and specialists in history, theory, and voice. In addition to our engaging resident conducting faculty, each summer we invite additional CORO guest conducting faculty who hold positions at some of the top choral institutions in the United States. Guest faculty teach sessions in choral literature, rehearsal strategies, and conducting. This provides students with exposure to multiple viewpoints and conducting styles.
  • Incorporation of choral literature into each aspect of conducting: research, analysis, rehearsal process, and performance. By integrating the choral literature course repertoire into conducting lessons, choral seminars, and institute choir rehearsals, students continually improve upon their conducting skills and comprehensive musical understanding.
  • Performance requirements are met during the CORO Summer Choral Festival where all M.M. candidates conduct professional vocalists from the CORO Vocal Artists.
  • Affordable tuition and housing on the beautiful Simpson College Campus.
  • Observe rehearsals and performances of the Des Moines Metro Opera, who is also in residence at Simpson College during the summer.

What courses do I take for the M.M. in Choral Conducting?


MAJOR AREA Course Work for the M.M. in Choral Conducting
Mus 501, 502, 503: Choral Literature 1, 2, & 3 (4 credits taken each summer for a total of 12 credits)
Mus 511, 512, 513: Seminar in Choral Conducting 1, 2, & 3 (2 credits taken each summer for a total of 6 credits)
Mus 551: Vocal Pedagogy in the Choral Setting (2 credits taken 1 summer)
Mus 552, Mus 553: Choral Diction 1, 2 (1 credit each taken during 2 summers for a total of 2 credits)
Mus 561: Concert Conducting (1 credit taken each summer for a total of 3 credits)
Mus 571: Master’s Oral Comprehensive Exam-Choral (1 credit)

Subtotal:  26 credits

Related Music Studies
Mus 521: Topics in Music History and Literature (2 credits taken 1 summer)
Mus 531: Theory: Analysis of Musical Scores (4 credits taken 1 summer)
Mus 541: Ensemble Performance (1 credit taken each summer for a total of 3 credits)
Mus 542: Advanced Musicianship Training (1 credit taken during 1 summer)

Subtotal: 10 credits

Find a link to the Simpson College GRADUATE CATALOG here.

Program Details

Here are some specifics about the program's policy, course schedule, and much more.

Apply for the M.M. Here

What does this program cost?

The M.M. in Choral Conducting program at Simpson College is one of the most cost-effective degrees available largely because it allows its students to maintain their full-time employment during the program. A full detail of expenses can be found here.

Adult students may qualify for financial aid including loans. Please note that students are not required to be full-time to qualify for aid.  Find out more about your specific financial aid opportunities by completing your FAFSA and contacting the Office of Financial Assistance at 515-961-1630.

Housing is also very affordable at Simpson at less than $20.00 per day for a graduate apartment (typically Washington Apartments). More information regarding summer housing in our on-campus apartment housing can be found here.

Apply for the M.M. Here

CORO Young Artists Program

Learn more about singing as an apprentice.

CORO Festival and Institutes

Learn more about the CORO Conductor's and Composer's Institutes as well as the Summer Choral Festival 2018!

Resident Conducting Faculty

Tim McMillin, D.M.A.
Director of Choral Activities
Simpson College

Philip Moody, D.M.A.
Director of Choral Studies

Matthew Oltman
Music Director Emeritus

Contact Information for the Master of Music in Choral Conducting
Phil Moody