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Top DMA Programs

Hello all,
I find myself beginning the process of looking for a top-notch DMA program in Choral Conducting.  I am not (for the time being) limiting my search geographically.  I am looking for top-notch professors, experiences as well as the heavy-hitter schools.
Replies (8): Threaded | Chronological
on July 15, 2011 7:15am
I would suggest that the program is less important than the person with whom you would work.  Try to find a director with whom you get along well.  The whole experience is likely to be more worthwhile and beneficial to you.  The search for a mentor is more time consuming, but worth the effort in my opinion.
A good starting point is, a website created by one of the members of this forum.  The site lists most of the DMA programs in the country and provides e-mail addresses for many choral faculty members.
Best of luck to you!
Cory Alexander
on August 6, 2013 3:45am
I cannot tell you how MUCH I am appreciate you directing me to the choral conducting options. I too am considering doing a DMA in choral conducting and I was able to weigh options very simply. THANK YOU!!!!
on July 16, 2011 7:28am
Hi Kyle,
I agree that finding that the right person is important. Other considerations are podium time, professional opportunities in the geographical area, size of program. You need to find a program that will fit your individual needs, and there are many fine programs out there. I have taught at Eastman School of Music, and now am a choral faculty at the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati. I would be happy to speak with you about this further, if you wanted.
Brett Scott
Applauded by an audience of 1
on August 6, 2013 11:50am
Hi Kyle, 
I'm Alan Davis, I created the website and have thorough knowledge of all the programs I list. Information that is included in my research is:
-Professors of Choral Conducting - their bio's, years of experience, training, and courses they teach.
-Courses and Curriculum required for degrees
-Audition requirements and processes
-Job Placement of alumni
-Sizes of programs
-Average length of time to complete degree(s) in said programs
-Costs of programs
-Graduate Teaching Assistantships available
Also, in the next week or so my website is going through a major overhaul and expansion. I will be including programs in Composition, Choral Conducting, Music Education, Musicology, and Vocal Performance. The website features 150-200 programs per specialty. I have researched and monitored each program for a minimum of 2-3 years before it is listed on my website. 
I have personally corresponded with most of the professors listed and with at least 3-5 alumni of each program. 
Lastly, I also include a list of Top 20 Programs for Choral Conducting. My list is a result of a 50 point assessment of all the programs I have listed. Some of the areas assessed include; number of faculty to students; number of graduates to choirs (podium time); comprehensiveness of programs (# of courses required, etc); conference or competition performances; and much more. I talk with 10-15 people a week who also are researching masters or doctoral programs, via email or phone. 

Hope this helps! Check out 
All the best, 
Alan Davis
on August 7, 2013 6:34am
Do be sure to check out George Mason University and James Madison University in VA.
All best to you,
Lisa Billingham
VA ACDA State President
on August 7, 2013 8:16am
I agree with all the suggestions listed here. I cannot agree more with the suggestion that you must have confidence in the teacher, as much as the school. I would also add that you should consider where in the country you would want to spend your career. A few schools have the ability to place you anywhere in the country, but most schools have their greatest influence in their own region. I have one degree from Eastman and out West the average employer is not terribly familiar with that school. I have another degree from Arizona State University and that program is unfamiliar to employers back East. But each school has a very strong influence in their own region of the country.
Tom Bookhout
The Phoenix Symphony Chorus
Applauded by an audience of 1
on August 7, 2013 9:33am
Consider Texas Christian University to study with Dennis Shrock!  I earned my DMA in Choral Conducting with Dr. Shrock and feel extremely well prepared as a choral conductor.
on August 8, 2013 5:37am
I have to agree with Dr. Bookhout; please do consider geographical location in your selection process. I, too, received my M.M. at Arizona State University and am now working on my D.M.A. at The Hartt School in Connecticut and am finding nobody has practically heard of ASU (and vice-versa, for that matter).
I would first select an area of the country you feel you would really enjoy living in for the next few to several years (if not permanently, although that is unlikely given the current professional musical climate) and then select a list of schools in that region based upon the mentors you feel you would like best to study under. Ultimately, worry less about a school's reputation and more about your professors'; the truth is that one can find incredible teachers at the smallest colleges in "ho-dunk nowhere" that can give you a really excellent education all the same.
These are, of course, only my opinions. Best of luck with your decision-making process!
-Jerron Jorgensen
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