Conducting is about more than leadership and personality. As Fritz Reiner said, the conductor is the ensemble's "living conscience." Great conductors have not only a technical command but also a true sense of responsibility to the music. At the University of Illinois, future conductors—whether choral, band, or orchestral—have access to a first-rate education in music history and score analysis as well as a wide range of conducting courses.
The University's courses outside music subjects will broaden your understanding of culture, psychology, and even management issues. With the Music School’s array of formal and ad hoc ensembles, large and small, classical and jazz, vocal and instrumental, there are ample opportunities to observe and practice leadership. Many choral conducting and music education students find additional conducting venues in the Urbana-Champaign area. A fine conducting faculty imparts the practical advice and quick feedback that can help you hone skills. If opera is your interest, the voice and piano accompaniment divisions may supplement your conducting studies. Add some zest, drive, hard work, confidence, commitment, and musical talent, and you'll be putting your own stamp on the group's music making.