The School of Music at The University of Iowa offers the Master of Arts and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in wind conducting. The graduate wind conducting program strives to provide students with diverse experiences which will enable them to develop as well-rounded conductors, capable of leading all aspects of a sophisticated band program at any level.

Applied Lessons

Graduate wind conducting majors receive a weekly hour-long private lesson each semester they are on campus. The content of the lessons depends on the background, ability and interest of each individual conductor, but the focus is on the refinement of conducting craft as well as artistry through the study of significant wind band and chamber works. Study works comprise the core of traditional and contemporary wind band and chamber music literature. Students are required to regularly video record rehearsals and performances for self-evaluation as well as evaluation during applied lessons.

Podium Experience

One of the strengths of the program at Iowa is the substantial amount of podium time that is afforded our graduate conducting students. Each semester throughout the degree program our graduate conducting students are assigned to conduct various university ensembles including the Symphony Band, Chamber Winds, Concert Band, and University Band.

Graduate Seminar

Students participate in the Seminar in Advanced Band Literature and History each semester they are on campus. Seminar topics vary from semester to semester but focus is given to the historical development of the band and its repertoire from the 16th century to today, significant wind band composers (past and present) and their representative works, wind band and chamber masterworks, and conducting-related considerations such as score study, interpretation, rehearsal techniques, advanced gestures, programming, assessment, etc. Also, during each spring semester, students select, research, and present to the seminar a topic that is of interest to them.

Athletic Bands

The graduate conducting students are an integral part of The University of Iowa Athletic Bands program, which comprise the 250-member Hawkeye Marching Band and Iowa Pep Bands. Graduate students assist with rehearsals, conduct during games, and are given the opportunity to design and teach halftime shows as well as arrange music for performances if interested. These are viewed as essential components of the graduate conducting program, and the complete educational experience at Iowa. Our excellent placement record is a direct result of the breadth of collegiate band experiences we offer, which better prepares our students to lead an advance high school or university band program as well as to be competitive in the marketplace.

What Former Students Have to Say

"After a very enjoyable teaching experience in the public schools of Texas for the past six years, I was ready and excited for a new adventure in my life. The University of Iowa has NOT disappointed. The School of Music and University Band program are second to none with the finest faculty, staff, and students anywhere. The academic classes have been challenging, but extremely rewarding. I am confident that the breadth of experiences I have had, including working with the Hawkeye Marching Band, guest conducting different concert bands, lively discussions on various research topics in our seminar class, and excellent private instruction, will undoubtedly give me the tools necessary to be competitive in the job market."

Carter Biggers
D.M.A., Wind Band Conducting
Iowa Performance Fellow
Director of Bands, Texas Woman's University

"Graduate study in conducting at the University of Iowa has prepared me with an outstanding education in which to begin a successful career as a conductor. Within a rigorous academic environment, I have been guided by master teachers who have helped me to develop my gestural facility, score study abilities, and rehearsal technique. As a conducting major, I have been given a plethora of conducting opportunities with a variety of ensembles."

Michael Hart
D.M.A., Wind Band Conducting
Director of Bands, California Lutheran University

Application/Interview Process

It is advisable to apply early! The School of Music application deadline is December 1, but each professor can exercise flexibility and adjust that date as needed on a case by case basis. If the deadline is approaching or has even passed, please proceed by contacting Dr. Heidel directly for information. Preference will be given to applicants with a minimum of two years of teaching or equivalent professional experience. Interested students should follow the application process as outlined through the School of Music. In addition to submitting a formal application through the School of Music, follow these steps:

As early as possible, establish communication with Dr. Mark Heidel, Director of Bands, to express your interest in the graduate band conducting program. Submit directly to Dr. Heidel a (1) current CV, (2) current repertoire list of wind band works studied and conducted in performance, (3) formal and interpretive analysis of a work to be determined by Dr. Heidel, and (4) DVD of recent conducting performances (frontal view) in a concert and/or rehearsal setting.

After a review of the application and supporting materials, qualified candidates will be invited to campus for an audition and interview, which usually occur in the late fall and early spring. The audition consists of (1) a rehearsal with the Symphony Band on pre-selected music, (2) interviews with Dr. Mark Heidel and Dr. Eric W. Bush, Associate Director of Bands and Director of the Hawkeye Marching Band, and (3) an individual conducting lesson with Dr. Heidel. The on-campus interview enables candidates to personally interact with our faculty and students, and experience the University of Iowa and Iowa City community. As part of the audition, there will be opportunities to meet and visit with current graduate band conducting majors.

Students who complete an MA in Wind Conducting at Iowa, and who are qualified for doctoral work, may be invited to apply for the DMA degree program. In this case, it is possible that a student can complete the course requirements for the DMA in Wind Conducting in two semesters. Acceptance into the DMA program is contingent upon performance in the MA program as well as background.

The graduate conducting program at Iowa is strong, and space is limited. There are four band teaching assistantships, and these are awarded on a competitive basis. The citizens of Iowa City and Coralville along with the students and faculty at the University of Iowa are friendly and welcoming, making for a positive living and educational environment. Feel free to contact Dr. Mark Heidel, Director of Bands, for additional information about the graduate program in band conducting or visit the School of Music web site.

Richard Mark Heidel
Director of Bands

General Duties of Band Teaching Assistants

  1. Assist with concert band activities and events as assigned.
    1. Rehearse and conduct concert ensembles as assigned.
    2. Organize and assist with the audition process as needed
  2. Serve on the staff of the Hawkeye Marching Band
    1. Attend and teach during the HMB Band Camp, which starts one week prior to the start of fall classes.
    2. Attend all rehearsals and performances of the HMB. The HMB rehearses four afternoons (Tuesday-Friday) per week, 6-7 selected Wednesday evenings during the semester, and on Saturday mornings prior to home football games.
    3. Performance related duties include: conduct/supervise playing and marching sectional rehearsals; daily participation in the teaching/cleaning of drill; conduct the HMB in performance/in the stands at football games.
    4. Administrative duties include: maintain rehearsal/performance student attendance records, recommend final grades; prepare pregame/halftime squad personnel assignments for each performance; assist with uniform check-out/check-in; assist with trip planning/student supervision.
    5. Opportunities exist to write/teach drill; write musical arrangements for halftime or in the stands.
  3. Conduct the Iowa Pep Band
    1. These duties will be shared by the two students whose grad assistantships are funded by UI Athletics
    2. Conduct the IPB in all rehearsals (2-3) and public performances.
    3. Travel with the IPB to Big Ten/NCAA tournament appearances.
    4. Administrative duties include: assist the HMB Director in the audition/organization process; maintain rehearsal and performance student attendance records, recommend final grades; attend occasional game management meetings with UI Athletics.
  4. Assist with the honor band as assigned.
  5. Assist with the administration and supervision of Symphony Band tour (when applicable).
  6. Maintain band instrument inventory.
    1. One TA will be assigned this duty for an entire academic year.
    2. Manage the check-out and check-in of all band instruments
    3. Coordinate repairs with West Music Company as necessary.
  7. Opportunities may exist to serve on the staff of the Iowa Summer Music Camp.
  8. Term limits for assistantships are as follows:
    MA = One year; renewable up to two years
    DMA = One year; renewable up to three years

Wind Band Conducting Graduates — 1980-Present

Master of Arts

Timothy Beckler - Director of Bands, Chaska High School, Chaska, MN
Richard Chapman - Assistatnt Conductor, U.S. Army Band Europe
Carl Collins - Band Director, North Scott HS, Eldridge, IA
James Douglas - Iowa City, IA
Tony Garmoe - Band Director, West Des Moines, IA
Sean Harris - Assistant Director of Bands & Percussion Director, O'Fallon High School, O'Fallon, IL
Michael Hart - Director of Bands, California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, CA
Russell Kramer - Director of Bands, Mason City High School, Mason City, IA
Jennifer Leiding - Ames Public Schools, Ames, IA
Trevor Loes - Iowa City, IA
Dr. Scott Lubaroff - Director of Bands, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL
Melinda McKenzie - Director of Bands, Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
Dr. James Popejoy - Director of Bands, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND
Dr. Curran Prendergast - Director of Bands, Truman State University, Kirksville, MO
Jeffrey Reed - Director, Bowling Green Symphony, Bowling Green, KY
Steve Stickney - Director of Bands, Mount Mercy University, Cedar Rapids, IA
Matthew Wanken - Director of Instrumental Music, Monmouth College, Monmouth, IL
David Woodley - Associate Director of Bands, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

Doctor of Musical Arts

Dr. Brian Amaral - Cookville Public Schools, Cookeville, TN
Dr. Robert Belser - Director of Bands, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY
Dr. Carter Biggers - Director of Bands, Texas Woman's University, Denton, TX
Dr. Eric Bush - Associate Director of Bands, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA                                                                                                                                                 Dr. Joe Cernuto - Assistant Professor of Music/Bands, Millersville University, Lancaster, PA                                                                                                                                                Dr. Marc Decker - Associate Director of Bands, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL
Dr. Brian Dewald - Director of Bands, Glenbard West High School, Glen Ellyn, IL
Dr. Craig Hacock - Director of Bands, Wartburg College, Waverly, IA
Dr. Michael Hart - Director of Bands, California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, CA
Dr. Ronald Holleman - Director of Bands, Oak Park Public Schools, Oak Park, IL
Dr. Ernest Jennings, Jr. - Director of Bands, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA
Dr. Kevin Kessler - Director of Athletic Bands, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD
Dr. Michael Knight - Director of Bands, St. Norbert College, Green Bay, WI
Dr. Karen LaVoie - Director of Bands, Westfield State University, Westfield, MA
Dr. Timothy Mahr - Director of Bands, St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN
Dr. Lawrence Mallet - Dean, University of Kansas School of Music, Lawrence, KS
Dr. Andrew Mast - Director of Bands, Lawrence Conservatory of Music, Appleton, WI
Dr. Myron McReynolds - Director of Bands, City High School, Iowa City, IA
Dr. Donald Miller 
Dr. Ward Miller 
Dr. Robert Morsch - Los Angeles, CA
Dr. Darrin Oehlerking - Director of Bands, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK
Dr. Larry Peterson - Director of Bands, Huron High School, Huron, SD                                                                                                                                                                
Dr. Carl Rowles - Director of Bands, Kansas Wesleyan University, Salina, KS
Dr. Donald Ryder - Associate Director of Bands, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN                                                                                                                                Dr. Joe Scheivert - Associate Director of Bands (Interim), University of North Carolina - Charlotte, Charlotte, NC
Dr. David Stagg -  Associate Director of Bands, University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg, MO
Dr. Douglas Stotter - Director of Bands, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX
Dr. Kenneth Thompson - Associate Director of Bands, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH
Dr. Mark Whitlock - Director of Bands, University of Minnesota-Duluth, Duluth, MN

Master of Arts and Doctor of Musical Arts

Dr. Craig Aarhus - Associate Director of Bands, Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS
Dr. Christopher Nicholas - Director of Bands, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
Dr. Boyd Perkins - Director of Bands, Northern State University, Aberdeen, SD
Dr. Steven Riley - Director of Athletic Bands, Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, AR