Jun 25, 2024  
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog 
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Music Performance, Pedagogy and Literature: Conducting Concentration, D.M.A.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Degrees Offered

Doctor of Musical Arts Curriculum

The Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) degree program is the most advanced course of study offered in the School of Music at James Madison University. The program has been designed to make graduates more marketable in higher education by emphasizing pedagogy and literature along with advanced performance or conducting skills. The program seeks candidates who have the potential to pursue the highest level of achievement in conducting/performance and teaching.

The three-year degree requires completion of 60-72 credit hours, including core and concentration requirements. There is a two-year residency requirement. In the third year of the degree, D.M.A. students must pass comprehensive written and oral examinations.

Doctor of Musical Arts Admissions Requirements

  • The Graduate School Application, available online.
  • D.M.A. Program Application (part of The Graduate School application) on https://app.getacceptd.com/jmu.
  • Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate course work. Applicants must have earned a Master of Music degree or its equivalent before the semester of intended enrollment in the D.M.A. program.
  • Written statement of future goals (professional and educational).
  • Curriculum vitae (C.V.).
  • Three current letters of recommendation from professors, employers and other professionals qualified to judge the applicant’s ability to complete doctoral studies.
  • A live audition or a high-quality audio/video recording for conditional admission.
  • TOEFL of at least 550 (written test) for international students.
  • A financial statement prior to application for international students.

Additional Requirements for International Applicants

See the Office of International Programs website for other requirements and information for international students.


Financial Aid is administered by the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships in the Student Success Center. The chief source of aid for graduate study is through assistantships awarded by the school. Teaching assistantships are awarded each year on a competitive basis. In keeping with the pedagogical nature of the D.M.A. degree at James Madison University, doctoral assistantships will include a variety of supervised teaching experiences: assisting professors in classes and/or being responsible for teaching a class, teaching applied lessons (for performers) and conducting ensembles (for conductors). In addition to a stipend, assistantships include a tuition award.

Class Fees

There is a once per semester fee for enrollment in MUAP 600  and MUAP 700 , applied lessons. See MyMadison for details.

Entrance Examinations

Prior to the first week of classes, all applicants must take JMU School of Music diagnostic examinations in music history, written theory and ear training. The results are used for placement and advising. Applicants for assistantships in areas related directly to these examinations may be required to take them before assistantships are granted.


Students graduating from the D.M.A. program with concentrations in either performance, pedagogy and literature or conducting, pedagogy and literature will be able to:

Performance, Pedagogy and Literature:

  • demonstrate application of musical and technical mastery through the performance of advanced repertoire in the student’s area of specialization (instrumental or vocal).
  • create and deliver effective pedagogical instruction.
  • analyze the standard solo, chamber and ensemble repertoire in the student’s area of specialization (instrumental or voice).

Conducting, Pedagogy and Literature:

  • demonstrate application of musical and physical conducting skills through the performance of advanced repertoire in the student’s area of specialization (instrumental or vocal).
  • demonstrate effective rehearsal techniques through the preparation of representative repertoire in the student’s area of specialization (instrumental or vocal).
  • create and deliver effective pedagogical instruction.
  • formulate advanced insights into the artistic and formal structure of music through score study in the student’s area of specialization.
  • communicate effectively about music through writing and speaking.

Core Requirements

Students must complete a minimum of 60 total credits to earn the D.M.A.

If fewer courses are taken in the concentration, more credits must be taken from the core requirements to reach a minimum of 60 credits.

Choose two: 6 Credit Hours

Determined by diagnostic exam. The category will be fulfilled by taking both MUS 601  and MUS 702  or by taking MUS 702  twice.

Total: 43-52 Credit Hours


1 Up to 3 credits may be waived. See Graduate Student Handbook or adviser for more information.

Concentration Requirements: 13-20 Credit Hours

Total Credits: 60-72 Credit Hours


Concentrations require 13-20 hours of course work beyond the DMA core.

Brass Area


Total: 13-20 Credit Hours

Conducting Area

Percussion Area


Total: 17-20 Credit Hours

Piano Area


Total: 16-20 Credit Hours

String Area


Total: 14-20 Credit Hours

Vocal Area


Total: 15-20 Credit Hours

Additional Information

Students will be required to show competency in three languages in addition to English: French, Italian and German. Transcripts of previous college study must show a minimum of four semesters of two of the languages and two semesters of the third language, or credit through the intermediate level in two of the languages and through the beginning level of the third language. In some cases where languages have been learned through means other than traditional college classes, competency equivalents can be shown by taking the JMU Foreign Language Placement tests for French, German and Italian and placing at the 300-level for two of the languages and at the 231-level for the third. If neither option applies, the languages must be taken at JMU as a remedial requirement.

Optional Singing Health Emphasis

(in addition to the Performance Requirements for Vocal)

Minimum Requirements

Total: 22 Credit Hours

Undergraduate Prerequisites

This emphasis requires three undergraduate courses as prerequisites.

  • CSD 208. Anatomy and Physiology of the Ear and Voice Mechanism 3.00 Credit Hours
  • CSD 209. Acoustics of Hearing and Speech 3.00 Credit Hours
  • KIN 202. Biological Foundations of Kinesiology 3.00 Credit Hours
Comprehensive Final Examination

Each student in the Singing Health Emphasis must successfully pass a written and oral practical examination administered by the Singing Health Specialist Coordinating Committee. This final examination is in addition to the comprehensive examination for the D.M.A. in Vocal Performance.

Woodwind Area: Performance on a Solo Instrument Track


Total: 17-20 Credit Hours

Woodwind Area: Multiple Woodwind Track


  • Applied instruction on a third instrument beyond the core applied instruction 1 Credits / Units: 8.00
  • Credits: 1.00 (taken twice for 2.00 credit hours)
  • Credits: 2.00
  • Approved Large Ensembles Credits / Units: 8.00
  • Residency Qualifying Recital: At the end of the first year, the student will play in a thirty-minute recital for the woodwind faculty. Credits / Units: 0.00

Total: 20 Credit Hours


1 This track requires 16 credits of the applied instruction in the core requirements to be on a primary instrument and 8 credits on a secondary instrument. Eight additional credits will be used in the 20 credit hours for a third instrument. It also requires two of the required recitals in the core to be on the primary instrument and the third recital to be divided between the second and third instruments (50% each).

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Degrees Offered