ACDA Eastern 2022 Conducting Masterclasses

Information and Application

The conference masterclass committee is delighted to announce that four public masterclasses in conducting will be held during the 2022 Eastern Division Conference in Boston. The masterclasses are offered to acknowledge and develop the conducting and rehearsal skills of outstanding undergraduate and graduate students and to promote student activity at the conference. We welcome and encourage applications from students in both small and large music programs. The masterclasses will offer a wonderful learning opportunity for everyone involved.

The sessions will be held on Friday, February 11, and they will be led by renowned conductor-teachers Brandon Boyd, Craig Hella Johnson, Sandra Snow, and Jan Taylor. These masterclasses will engage four undergraduate and four graduate students who are enrolled full-time in a music degree program. Applicants are not required to be enrolled in a conducting class at the time of application, only in a college/university music program. Conference registration fees will be waived for those selected to take part in the masterclasses.

The masterclasses will allow for approximately 20 minutes of podium time during the session. Finalists will prepare one piece, selected by the masterclass clinicians from among the repertoire to be performed by their Directors’ Chorus conference festival ensemble. 

Besides the public masterclass, students will have a private session with their master teacher at least one day before the Friday session. The purpose of these sessions is to provide a resource for the student conductors, to ask and answer questions, and to focus each conductor on the tasks at hand for the public masterclasses. 

Candidates will find the directions for submitting application materials at Please email Dr. Tony Thornton, Collegiate R&R Chair, at with any questions.


Applicants must hold a valid ACDA student membership (memberships are available at, be a full-time student at a college/university at the time of application, and submit a complete application.


September 6, 2021:Application information available on the Eastern Division website
September-October, 2021:Applicants record video and prepare supplemental materials
October 1, 2021:The link to the application on the Submittable platform will become 
active on the Eastern Division website
November 1, 2021:Application and related items due before midnight (EST)
December 15, 2021:Notification of finalists


A complete application will include the following materials (submitted electronically via Submittable):

1. Application form

2. Audition video recording – an unedited video of the candidate rehearsing two works and a non-stop performance (not necessarily a public/concert performance) of one piece rehearsed. The video should not exceed 12 minutes. The URL must be an “unlisted” YouTube video that DOES NOT include identifying information (i.e. please do not include your name in the URL; please DO NOT include your name on the YouTube channel). See AUDITION PREPARATION GUIDELINES below.

3. Either an analysis or lesson plan of the music rehearsed/conducted in the video. The analysis might include some type of graph or prose representing at least the major structural parts, important harmonic organization, and textural facets. The lesson plan should include clear rehearsal/learning activities and outcomes. Please submit these documents as a PDF and include your ACDA number on all materials. Do not include your name or other identifying information.

4. $20 entry fee


The masterclass committee will appoint a review panel from outside the Eastern Division who will review all submissions, with the goal of selecting a maximum of eight students (four undergraduate and four graduate) to participate in the masterclasses. 

Applicants will be adjudicated on the following scale, based on their video and analysis or lesson plan:

  • Knowledge of music/rehearsal preparation (35%) 
  • Rehearsal, teaching, and communication skills (35%)
  • Relevance and effectiveness of gestures (30%) 


Applicants will prepare a video recording (unlisted on YouTube) of an audition that meets the following criteria:

A. Musical Parameters – Undergraduate and Graduate

1. Students will conduct and rehearse two compositions for chorus in contrasting styles and tempi, if possible (see exceptions below).

2. Selections may be unaccompanied or accompanied.

3. To support the work of the ACDA Eastern Region Conference Resonate theme and the ACDA Diversity Initiatives Committee, students are encouraged to select one work from an underrepresented group of composers.

4. Excerpts of longer works may be selected.

B. Video Preparation

Because of the COVID-19 social distancing restrictions presenting a variety of unique situations for choral programs, the committee will accept any of the following listed below. Preference will not be given to one type of video over another.

1. A video of a student conducting a choir in a live, socially distanced setting following CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and the student’s institutional guidelines for safety

2. A previously recorded video of a rehearsal and performance, which shows a clear view facing the conductor. If the only video available does not include rehearsal, this will be accepted. Please choose repertoire that shows contrasting styles, if possible.

3. *A video with the student conducting a pianist in a live setting

4. *A video of a student conducting a choral recording

*Applicants should include a short video commentary of two or three minutes. In the video commentary, discuss why you chose a particular recording, rehearsal strategies you would use in a live setting, or perhaps model sound or gestures that would positively affect the performance in a live setting. Note: The entire video submission should not exceed 12 minutes. 

C. Video Conducting (Rehearsal and Performance)

1. The applicant should focus on gestural communication, technique, and the
development of the musical product (in much the same manner as a guest conductor in a festival setting).

2. The selection panel will place primary value on gestural communication, musicianship/listening, and technique.

3. If the applicant is using a video created before COVID-19 and cannot include a rehearsal, a performance video will be accepted.

4. The performance need not come from a public performance. An uninterrupted performance or run-through following the rehearsal is acceptable.

D. Camera Angle

1. The camera angle will show a full frontal view of the applicant and all conducting movements.

2. The choral sound and comments of the applicant must be clearly audible on the video recording.

3. The applicant will begin each selection by announcing the title and composer of the work to be presented. If the video was prepared before COVID-19, include selections in the editing of the video.

E. Personal Identification

1. The applicants will not identify themselves or the institution of higher learning in the recorded audition.

F. Audition Format and Duration

If creating the video with a socially distanced choir:

1. The video recorded selections will be presented consecutively without stopping the recording device between selections.

2. The video recording will not be edited in any manner.

3. The video recording will show the applicant conducting and rehearsing the choir for a minimum of eight minutes and a maximum of twelve minutes (including the uninterrupted performance of one piece).

4. Rehearsal time should be divided equally between the two selections. If using a video created before COVID-19 and prior to the publishing of these guidelines:

1. When possible, please include a balance of rehearsal and performance.

2. Two separate videos will be permitted. Please only edit the start and stop from one piece to the other and submit them as one total video.

3. Please identify the title and composer of the piece on the video.

4. Please do not ​​identify yourself or the institution.


1. It is the responsibility of the applicant to upload their materials to Submittable. The link to the Submittable application is located here – (live until November 1, 2022).

2. It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide the selection committee with the correct URL for accessing the video. It is strongly suggested that the applicant cut and paste the URL directly from the browser into the application.

3. Videos must be anonymous and submitted as “unlisted”. A video with the applicant’s name in the title or in the YouTube channel name will be disqualified.

4. Applicants whose video auditions are not accessible to the committee will be disqualified.

5. An incomplete or erroneous application will disqualify the applicant.

Application Deadline

The application materials are due no later than midnight (EST) on November 1, 2021. Applicants will be notified of results on December 15, 2021. Note: The committee suggests uploading your application materials a day or two before the deadline in case you encounter any unexpected technical issues.

Application Checklist

  • I have two selections in contrasting styles
  • I can see my full self, frontal view, in the video.
  • I can clearly hear all of my verbal instructions to the choir.
  • The sound of the choir is neither too loud nor too soft to be heard.
  • I have clearly announced each selection before rehearsing it, or included the titles in the video
  • I have included a PDF of either an analysis or lesson plan of the music rehearsed/conducted in the video. My ACDA number is listed on my materials. My name or other identifying information is not listed on my materials.
  • My video’s total length is between 8 and 12 minutes and includes a performance of one selection.
  • I have not identified myself in the video, nor does my name appear in the video title, nor
  • YouTube channel to which I have uploaded it.
  • I have checked my YouTube video’s URL for accuracy.
  • I have set my YouTube video to “unlisted” not “private” or “public”.
  • If conducting a pianist or recording, I have included a short video commentary.
  • I have submitted my application by the deadline as printed in the guidelines (November 1, 2021).
  • Once you have completed ALL of the above, your application is complete.


Applicants will be notified by email by December 15, 2021, of the student conductors selected to participate in the masterclass. Repertoire for the masterclass will be selected by the masterclass clinician, in consultation with the masterclass committee, and emailed to the selected masterclass participants by December 31, 2021. It is the students’ responsibility to acquire the selected compositions at their own expense.

All sessions in the ACDA Student Conducting Masterclasses are open to registered conference attendees.


ACDA is not responsible for any expenses incurred by conductors chosen to take part in the 2022 Eastern Division Region Conducting Masterclasses.

No member of the masterclass committee, nor any judge, or person connected with the selection of finalists shall be involved with any decision involving that person’s student (over the past three years) who has applied or been selected as a participant in the ACDA Conducting Competition. All decisions made by the judges are final.

Tony Thornton, Collegiate R&R Chair
Sherrill Blodget
Nicolás Alberto Dosman
Mitos Andaya Hart