Exploring the director job

Today we’re exploring the music director job. We’ll cover:

Music Director definition

A music director guides the musical activities of a performance, production, or organization (Wikipedia, 2022).

Music directors prepare musical groups for concerts and other events. They select performance pieces and help the musicians to attain the right sound for different pieces (Mighty Recruiter, 2022).

Scope of the music director job

Music Directors can work in many settings. Examples include:

  • Director of music of a film.
  • Director of music of a radio station.
  • Head bandmaster of a military band.
  • Head organist, choirmaster of a church.
  • Coordinator of the musical ensembles in a university, college or institution.
  • Artistic director and usually chief conductor of an orchestra or concert band.
  • Organist and master of the choristers or musical director of cathedral.
  • Director of music or Head of Music of the musical activities of the music department in a school (Wikipedia, 2022).

Music Director job – skills and qualifications

Prerequisites for the music director job can include:

  • Bachelor’s degree in a field related to music.
  • Leadership skills for directing musicians and making decisions for the group.
  • Creative thinking in order to bring out the full potential of a musical piece (Mighty Recruiter, 2022).

Educational and training requirements for music directors and composers vary.

Most require related work experience. For example:

  • A master’s degree would usually be required for a music director or conductor position for a symphony orchestra.

A bachelor’s degree may be required for the job of a choir director (US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022).

Note that the traditional call for some knowledge of music theory.

However, most of us can attest to the fact that many successful music directors do not have music theory knowledge.

They have a good ear for music, good interpretation and expression and can work with music teams to get the sound that they hear.

Musical director job duties can include

  • Conduct group performances.
  • Transpose music as needed.
  • Select music that will be a good fit for the musicians and singers.
  • Select music that will offer challenge and appeal to the audience.
  • Lead regular music rehearsals, dictating the volume, phrasing and tempo of each piece.
  • Examine music and/or musical scores to determine the interpretation and understanding of the piece before presenting it to group members.
  • Choose soloists for special events and coordinate rehearsals so soloists and groups can adequately prepare for concerts
  • Oversee staff daily as they copy and arrange music and provide coaching to the musicians.
  • Record CD tracks so musicians can listen to difficult sections of individual parts
  • Schedule performances and arts outreach opportunities.
  • Collaborate with program directors to identify new music events.
  • Evaluate group members and provide in-depth feedback so all musicians can work on their craft to achieve higher stages of excellence.

How do you become a music director?

Music directors usually commence musical training by learning to an instrument or by singing. Some may perform as a musician or singer.

Those who are interested in classical music may seek additional training through music camps and fellowships. These programs provide participants with classes, lessons, and performance opportunities.

Some musical education many be required for positions as a conductor or classical composer. This is because employers typically prefer to hire candidates who possess a master’s degree in music theory, music composition, or in conducting.

Music directors usually possess some experience as musicians or singers in a group, a choir, or an orchestra. As members, they hone their craft and gain understanding of how music groups function (US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022).

Learn about musicians and singers.

Music Director salary

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (2022), the average annual salary for music directors and composers in May 2021 was $49,130.

Music Director facts

The following table provides a summary of the in the USA.

Quick Facts: Music Directors and Composers
2021 Median Pay$49,130 per year
$23.62 per hour
Typical Entry-Level EducationBachelor’s degree
Work Experience in a Related OccupationLess than 5 years
On-the-job TrainingNone
Number of Jobs, 202048,100
Job Outlook, 2020-306% (As fast as average)
Employment Change, 2020-303,000
Source US Bureau of Labor Statistics, (2022).

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