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December, 21, 2023
10:30 AM - 11:00 AM




Michelle Bell

Michelle Bell
James Gates

James Gates
Herbert Payung

Herbert Payung

S.H.O.P. Talk - From Application to Accepted: Preparing for Graduate Conducting Studies

Clinic Synopsis:

Interested in pursuing a graduate degree in conducting, but not sure where to start? With limited studio space and lengthy applications, the conducting audition process may seem daunting. This session provides real-life insight, tips, and tricks on how to prepare for auditions, based on the experiences of current conducting graduate students. Topics include: making the most of your first years of teaching, surveying potential schools, writing application materials, and preparing for auditions.

Michelle Bell - Biographical Information

Michelle Bell is a doctoral candidate in wind band conducting and serves as a graduate teaching assistant with the University of Illinois Bands. Michelle earned her master of music in wind band conducting from the University of Minnesota where she studied with Dr. Emily Threinen. While at UMN, she assisted with the Marching Band, University Band, Symphonic Band, and Wind Ensemble. In 2018, Michelle was appointed Visiting Assistant Professor of Music at Emory & Henry College in Emory, VA where she assisted with the Marching Band and Concert Band, and directed the Pep Band and various chamber woodwind ensembles. She also taught courses in theory, conducting, instrumental methods, and woodwind methods. Prior to her time at E&H, Michelle taught at St. Cloud State University, where she directed the Sports Band. Michelle graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2011, earning her bachelor of music education degree as well as a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Army National Guard. Since then, she has served in the Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota Army National Guards. Currently, she holds the rank of Captain and most recently deployed as Company Commander in support of the Southwest Border Mission, where she led a company of over 100 Soldiers.

James Gates - Biographical Information

James Gates is currently a Masters student at Penn State University, studying Wind Band Conducting with Dr. Tonya Mitchell-Spradlin. As a graduate assistant conductor, Mr. Gates works with all university bands, including the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, and Concert Band. He also holds a graduate assistant appointment with the Penn State athletic bands, working with the Pride of the Lions pep band and the PSU Marching Blue Band. Outside of conducting, Mr. Gates studies trombone with Mark Lusk and is a member of the Penn State Trombone Choir. Prior to coming to Penn State Mr. Gates taught in the Massillon City Schools, conducting the 7th and 8th Grade Bands, and the Middle School Jazz Band. Mr. Gates also led the Washington High School Basketball Band, and served as Assistant Director of the Massillon Tiger Swing Band. Under Mr. Gates’ direction, the 7th and 8th Grade Bands consistently received Superior ratings at OMEA Large Group Adjudicated Events. Mr. Gates was named the 2019 Massillon Junior High School Rookie Teacher of the Year and was a 2021 Canton Symphony Orchestra Music Educator of the Year finalist. Mr. Gates earned his Bachelor of Music in Music Education degree from the University of Akron in 2017, graduating Summa Cum Laude. Mr. Gates holds professional memberships in CBDNA, the Ohio Music Education Association and the International Trombone Association. He regularly attends the annual Midwest Clinic and OMEA Professional Development Conference, presenting both as a performer (2016) and clinician (2020).

Herbert Payung - Biographical Information

Herb Payung serves as the Assistant Director of Bands, Lecturer in Music at Elon University where he is involved with all aspects of the athletic band program and conducts the Concert Band. Payung has been an active performer and conductor throughout his life. After undergraduate studies in Music Education at Penn State University, he taught instrumental music in eastern Pennsylvania. During his six years in public education, Payung conducted high school concert bands, jazz ensembles, pit orchestras, and marching bands and taught courses in instrumental music and jazz improvisation. He also served as an elementary band director as well as brass and percussion instructor at the middle school level. Payung’s research interests include the harmoniemusik of post-revolutionary Philadelphia. 

Payung holds music degrees from Penn State University (BME, MM- Wind Conducting), Boston University (MM- Music Education) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (DMA- Wind Conducting). His primary conducting teachers include Scott Teeple of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Dennis Glocke of Penn State University. Payung is a member of the College Band Directors National Association, the National Band Association, the National Association for Music Education, the American Federation of Musicians, and Pi Kappa Lambda, Music Honor Society.