Also called: Choir Director, Conductor, Music Director, Music Minister
Produced by CareerOneStop
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The music that delights audiences at concerts, musicals, movies, or in recordings… is the product of composers’ and music directors’ hard work and talent. Music directors—also called conductors— lead orchestras, choirs, and other musical groups during performances and recording sessions. They select musical arrangements and compositions to be performed, and study musical scores to prepare for rehearsals. They ensure that musicians play with one coherent sound, balancing the melody, rhythm, and volume. Composers write original music that orchestras, bands, and other musical groups perform. They may also write lyrics. Composers often study different musical styles, though some focus on one genre, such as classical or hip hop. They also may write for musical theater, compose movie scores, or write commercial jingles. Most music directors work for schools and religious organizations, or are self-employed. Performances often require some travel and evening and weekend hours. Composers work in offices, recording studios, or at home. Though they may work anywhere in the country, many jobs are in New York, Los Angeles, Nashville, and Chicago. Music directors need a master’s degree in music theory, composition, or conducting; choir directors may need only a bachelor’s degree. Popular music composers submit recordings of their music to bands, singers, record companies, or movie studios. They often post recordings of their music online on their own website, or social media.
What they do:Direct and conduct instrumental or vocal performances by musical groups, such as orchestras or choirs.
On the job, you would:
- Use gestures to shape the music being played, communicating desired tempo, phrasing, tone, color, pitch, volume, and other performance aspects.
- Direct groups at rehearsals and live or recorded performances to achieve desired effects such as tonal and harmonic balance dynamics, rhythm, and tempo.
- Study scores to learn the music in detail, and to develop interpretations.
Arts and Humanities
- music, dance, visual arts, drama, or sculpture
- English language
Education and Training
- teaching and course design
- customer service
Engineering and Technology
- computers and electronics
- listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
- talking to others
People and Technology Systems
- thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one
- measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it
- teaching people how to do something
- changing what is done based on other people's actions
Hearing and Speech
- tell the difference between sounds
- pay attention to one sound while there are other distracting sounds
- communicate by speaking
- listen and understand what people say
Ideas and Logic
- come up with lots of ideas
- create new and original ideas
- remember words, numbers, pictures, or steps
People interested in this work like activities that include creating, designing, and making your own rules.
They do well at jobs that need:
- Concern for Others
- Stress Tolerance
You might use software like this on the job:
Music or sound editing software
- Apple MainStage
- Avid Audio Pro Tools
- Broadcast News Analysts
- Career/Technical Education Teachers, Middle School
- Directors- Stage, Motion Pictures, Television, & Radio
- Instructional Coordinators
- Training & Development Specialists
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