SWACDA 2020 Undergraduate Student Conducting Masterclass Application Guidelines

A maximum of six undergraduate conductors will be selected through an application process to participate in the conducting masterclass during the 2020 SWACDA Conference.


  • My video shows a rehearsal and/or performance of two pieces of contrasting style/tempi. 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.

  • My video’s total length is 10-12 minutes and is not edited in any way.

  • 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 filled out my online application form, and have checked my video URL for accuracy.

  • I have set my YouTube video to “public” or “unlisted” not “private”.

  • I have submitted my application form and video URL by the deadline as printed in the guidelines.

*Once you have completed ALL of the above, your application is complete.


I. Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must...

  1. Hold valid ACDA student membership. Memberships available at www.acda.org.

  2. Submit a complete application portfolio including the following materials:

    1. Application form (submitted electronically)

    2. Documentation verifying the applicant’s status as a registered student (letter from Registrar’s office or unofficial transcript, etc.)

    3. A link to your audition video recording, uploaded to YouTube. Both your video’s TITLE and the CHANNEL to which it is uploaded must be anonymous

II. Audition Preparation Guidelines

Applicants will prepare and upload to YouTube (http://www.youtube.com) a video recording of an audition that meets the following criteria:

  1. Ensemble Preparation

    1. The applicant may select the choir.

    2. The choir is to be fully familiar with the music and should not be sightreading during the audition recording session.

  2. Musical Parameters

    1. Applicants will conduct two compositions for the ensemble in the video.

    2. The compositions should be of contrasting tempi and style.

    3. Selections may be unaccompanied or accompanied.

    4. Excerpts of longer works may be selected.

    5. Keyboard reductions may be used for orchestral accompaniments.

  3. Video Conducting and Rehearsal

    1. The applicant should rehearse the choir in such a way as to focus on gestural communication, rehearsal 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 rehearsal technique.

  4. Camera Angle

    1. The camera angle will show a full front view of the applicant and all conducting movements. Do not stand behind a piano which may block a part of your body.

    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.

  5. Personal Identification

    1. The applicant will not identify him/herself, nor the institution of higher learning in the recorded audition.

    2. Please remove any signs/posters that might identify you or your school.

  6. Audition Format and Duration

    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 10 minutes and a maximum of 12 minutes.

    4. The time should be divided equally between the two selections.

  7. Audition Submission

    1. It is the responsibility of the applicant to upload the video audition to YouTube.

    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. 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 (do not set your video to “Private”).

DEADLINE: The completed application materials, verifications, all supporting documentation, and video upload to YouTube must be completed no later than 11:59pm on November 22, 2019.

NOTE: An incomplete or erroneous application will disqualify the applicant.

III. Audition Review Process

  1. A review panel will review all submissions with the goal of selecting a maximum of six undergraduate students to participate in the masterclass at the SWACDA Conference.

  2. The review panel will place primary emphasis on gestural language, musicianship/listening, and rehearsal technique.

  3. Applicants will be notified by email on or before December 18 of the student conductors selected to participate in the masterclass at the SWACDA conference.

IV. Convention Session

Each Masterclass participant will be provided with equal time to conduct and/or receive feedback from the masterclass clinician.


No member of the review committee, nor any judge, teller, or person connected with the selection of masterclass participants 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 Undergraduate Student Masterclass. The Review Committee is under no obligation to select masterclass participants if satisfactory candidates cannot be identified. All decisions made by the committee are final.