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Become An Assistant Music Director

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Working As An Assistant Music Director

  • Thinking Creatively
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Developing and Building Teams
  • Getting Information
  • $81,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Assistant Music Director Do

Music directors, also called conductors, lead orchestras and other musical groups during performances and recording sessions. Composers write and arrange original music in a variety of musical styles.

Duties

Music directors typically do the following:

  • Select musical arrangements and compositions to be performed for live audiences or recordings
  • Prepare for performances by reviewing and interpreting musical scores
  • Direct rehearsals to prepare for performances and recordings
  • Choose guest performers and soloists
  • Audition new performers or assist section leaders with auditions
  • Practice conducting to improve their technique
  • Meet with potential donors and attend fundraisers

Music directors lead orchestras, choirs, and other musical groups. They ensure that the musicians play with one coherent sound, balancing the melody, timing, rhythm, and volume. They also give feedback to musicians and section leaders so that they can achieve the sound and style they want for the piece.

Music directors may work with a variety of orchestras and musical groups, including church choirs, youth orchestras, and high school or college bands, choirs, or orchestras. Some work with orchestras that accompany dance and opera companies.

Composers typically do the following:

  • Write original music that orchestras, bands, and other musical groups perform
  • Arrange existing music into new compositions
  • Write lyrics for music or work with a lyricist
  • Meet with companies, orchestras, or other musical groups that are interested in commissioning a piece of music
  • Study and listen to music of various styles for inspiration
  • Work with musicians to record their music

Composers write music for a variety of musical groups and users. Some work in a particular style of music, such as classical or jazz. They also may write for musicals, operas, or other types of theatrical productions.

Some composers write scores for movies or television; others write jingles for commercials. Many songwriters focus on composing music for audiences of popular music.

Some composers use instruments to help them as they write music. Others use software that allows them to hear a piece without musicians.

Some music directors and composers give private music lessons to children and adults. Others work as music teachers in elementary, middle, or high schools. For more information, see the profiles on kindergarten and elementary school teachers, middle school teachers, and high school teachers.

For more information about careers in music, see the profile on musicians and singers.

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How To Become An Assistant Music Director

Educational and training requirements for music directors and composers vary, although most positions require related work experience. A conductor for a symphony orchestra typically needs a master’s degree; a choir director may need a bachelor’s degree. There are no formal educational requirements for those interested in writing popular music.

Education

Employers generally prefer candidates with a master’s degree in music theory, music composition, or conducting for positions as a conductor or classical composer.

Applicants to postsecondary programs in music typically are required to submit recordings, audition in person, or both. These programs teach students about music history and styles, as well as educate them in composing and conducting techniques. Information on degree programs is available from the National Association of Schools of Music.

A bachelor’s degree typically is required for those who want to work as a choir director.

There are no specific educational requirements for those interested in writing popular music. These composers usually find employment by submitting recordings of their compositions to bands, singers, record companies, and movie studios. Composers may promote themselves through personal websites, social media, or online video or audio of their musical work.

Important Qualities

Discipline. Talent is not enough for most music directors and composers to find employment in this field. They must constantly practice and seek to improve their technique and style.

Interpersonal skills. Music directors and composers need to work with agents, musicians, and recording studios. Being friendly, respectful, and open to criticism as well as praise, while enjoying being with others, can help music directors and composers work well with a variety of people.

Leadership. Music directors and composers must guide musicians and singers by preparing musical arrangements and helping them achieve the best possible sound.

Musical talent. To become a music director or composer, one must have musical talent.

Perseverance. Music directors and composers need determination and perseverance to continue submitting their compositions after receiving rejections. Also, reviewing auditions can be frustrating because it may take many different auditions to find the best musicians.

Promotional skills. Music directors and composers need to promote their performances through local communities, word of mouth, and social media platforms. Good self-promotional skills are helpful in building a fan base and getting more work opportunities.

Training

Music directors and composers typically begin their musical training at a young age by learning to play an instrument or singing, and perhaps performing as a musician or singer. Music directors and composers 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.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Music directors and composers often work as musicians or singers in a group, a choir, or an orchestra before they take on a leadership role. They use this time to master their instrument and gain an understanding of how the group functions.

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Average Yearly Salary
$81,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$38,000
Min 10%
$81,000
Median 50%
$81,000
Median 50%
$81,000
Median 50%
$81,000
Median 50%
$81,000
Median 50%
$81,000
Median 50%
$81,000
Median 50%
$173,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Purdue University
Highest Paying City
Wichita, KS
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
2.6 years
How much does an Assistant Music Director make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Assistant Music Director in the United States is $82,069 per year or $39 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $38,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $173,000.

Real Assistant Music Director Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Assistant Music Director The New School of Music Cambridge, MA Mar 09, 2016 $87,654
Assistant Music Director and Pianist Pals Children's Chorus Brookline, MA Jan 13, 2010 $57,393
Assistant Director of Music Bear Creek United Methodist Church Houston, TX Jun 10, 2012 $53,511
Assistant Director of Music Bear Creek United Methodist Church Houston, TX Jun 29, 2012 $53,511
Assistant Music Director/Organist Epworth-Euclid United Methodist Church Cleveland, OH Oct 01, 2009 $48,001
Assistant Director of Traditional Music and Organi First United Methodist Church of Lubbock Lubbock, TX Nov 01, 2012 $45,956
Assistant Music Director International Conservatory of Music LLC Plano, TX Oct 01, 2013 $43,660
Assistant Music Director The First United Methodist Church In Flushing NY Aug 01, 2010 $41,740
Assistant Director of Music Ministry Maple Street Congregational Church, United Church Danvers, MA Oct 01, 2014 $41,093
Assistant Music Director Kenrock Enterprises LLC New York, NY Sep 01, 2013 $38,985
Assistant Music Director Acadiana Symphony Association Lafayette, LA Jan 29, 2016 $38,000
Assistant Director of Music Ministry Maple Street Congregational Church, United Church Danvers, MA Oct 01, 2014 $36,523
Assistant Music Director Smart Start Family Daycare MA Sep 17, 2013 $35,500
Assistant Director of Music and Organist First United Methodist Church of Lubbock Lubbock, TX Oct 08, 2012 $33,455 -
$46,832
Assistant Music Director Acadiana Symphony Association Lafayette, LA Mar 05, 2014 $30,722 -
$43,000
Assistant Music Director The First United Methodist Church In Flushing NY Aug 01, 2010 $30,000
Assistant Director of Music Ministry Maple Street Congregational Church, United Church Danvers, MA Oct 01, 2011 $28,613

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Top Skills for An Assistant Music Director

  1. Music Director
  2. Radio Station
  3. Adult Choir
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Worked with Music Director to compile and collect musical submissions; Utilized sophisticated equipment to broadcast live and offline shows.
  • Developed relationships with radio stations and handled all promotional requests.
  • Filled in as adult choir director in the absence of the actual director.
  • Selected from over 50 applicants for this prestigious yearly apprenticeship offered to on-air broadcasters enrolled in the University's communications program.
  • Hosted a radio show, reviewed new music for rotation, researched music trends for listeners, and promoted bands across campus

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Top 10 Best States for Assistant Music Directors

  1. Minnesota
  2. Washington
  3. Texas
  4. South Carolina
  5. New Jersey
  6. Georgia
  7. Iowa
  8. Virginia
  9. Wisconsin
  10. Rhode Island
  • (5 jobs)
  • (10 jobs)
  • (21 jobs)
  • (7 jobs)
  • (5 jobs)
  • (3 jobs)
  • (6 jobs)
  • (16 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)

Assistant Music Director Demographics

Gender

Male

52.9%

Female

38.6%

Unknown

8.5%
Ethnicity

White

64.3%

Hispanic or Latino

13.4%

Black or African American

11.7%

Asian

7.3%

Unknown

3.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

39.1%

French

18.8%

German

10.9%

Portuguese

4.7%

Italian

4.7%

Chinese

3.1%

Czech

3.1%

Japanese

3.1%

Mandarin

3.1%

Swahili

1.6%

Tagalog

1.6%

Hmong

1.6%

Korean

1.6%

Thai

1.6%

Malayalam

1.6%
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Assistant Music Director Education

Schools

Berklee College of Music

9.9%

New York University

8.3%

Liberty University

7.4%

Georgia State University

6.6%

Illinois State University

5.8%

University of Phoenix

5.0%

Ohio University -

4.1%

Ithaca College

4.1%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

4.1%

University of North Texas

4.1%

Bowling Green State University

4.1%

Arizona State University

4.1%

Temple University

4.1%

Ohio State University

4.1%

Texas State University

4.1%

Howard University

4.1%

State University of New York at Fredonia

4.1%

Seton Hall University

4.1%

University of Miami

4.1%

University of Alabama

3.3%
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Majors

Music

33.4%

Communication

9.7%

General Education, Specific Areas

9.2%

Business

6.3%

Theatre

4.3%

Education

4.1%

English

3.8%

Journalism

3.6%

Photography

3.4%

Psychology

3.2%

Elementary Education

2.7%

Marketing

2.3%

Entertainment Business

2.2%

Fine Arts

2.2%

Music Performance

2.0%

Liberal Arts

1.6%

Theology

1.6%

Graphic Design

1.6%

Educational Leadership

1.4%

Writing

1.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

51.6%

Masters

18.9%

Other

18.4%

Associate

3.9%

Certificate

3.5%

Doctorate

3.0%

Diploma

0.7%

License

0.1%
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