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Become A Director Of Instrumental Music

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Working As A Director Of Instrumental Music

  • Thinking Creatively
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Developing and Building Teams
  • Getting Information
  • $237,878

    Average Salary

What Does A Director Of Instrumental Music 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 A Director Of Instrumental Music

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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Director Of Instrumental Music Typical Career Paths

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Director Of Instrumental Music Demographics

Gender

Male

75.6%

Female

21.6%

Unknown

2.8%
Ethnicity

White

67.8%

Hispanic or Latino

12.9%

Black or African American

9.0%

Asian

6.9%

Unknown

3.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

German

28.6%

Spanish

28.6%

Arabic

14.3%

Japanese

14.3%

French

14.3%
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Director Of Instrumental Music Education

Schools

Florida State University

10.4%

University of Southern California

8.3%

Ohio State University

6.3%

Michigan State University

6.3%

Grand Canyon University

6.3%

University of Florida

4.2%

Temple University

4.2%

Boston University

4.2%

Southwestern Oklahoma State University

4.2%

New England Conservatory of Music

4.2%

University of Nebraska - Lincoln

4.2%

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

4.2%

Iowa State University

4.2%

University of Houston

4.2%

University of California - Berkeley

4.2%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

4.2%

University of Nebraska at Kearney

4.2%

Bellevue University

4.2%

West Virginia University

4.2%

Western Michigan University

4.2%
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Majors

General Education, Specific Areas

27.1%

Music

25.4%

Education

14.1%

Business

5.6%

Educational Leadership

5.1%

Mechanical Engineering

2.8%

Electrical Engineering

2.8%

Management

2.3%

Psychology

2.3%

Music Performance

2.3%

Elementary Education

1.7%

Medical Technician

1.1%

Biology

1.1%

Fine Arts

1.1%

Curriculum And Instruction

1.1%

History

1.1%

Pharmacology

1.1%

Manufacturing Engineering

0.6%

Pharmacy

0.6%

Computer Information Systems

0.6%
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Degrees

Masters

38.1%

Bachelors

25.2%

Other

20.8%

Doctorate

7.9%

Certificate

4.5%

Associate

3.0%

Diploma

0.5%
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Real Director Of Instrumental Music Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Director, System and Instrumentation Research Agena Bioscience, Inc. San Diego, CA Sep 22, 2016 $226,247
Director, System and Instrumentation Research Agena Bioscience, Inc. San Diego, CA Sep 01, 2015 $214,300
Director of Instrumental Music Bridgewater College Bridgewater, VA Dec 15, 2009 $47,741
Director of Instrumental Music Faith Baptist Church of New Orleans New Orleans, LA Apr 20, 2015 $37,566
Director of Instrumental Music Faith Baptist Church of New Orleans New Orleans, LA Apr 20, 2012 $37,566
Director of Instrumental Music Faith Baptist Church of New Orleans New Orleans, LA Aug 25, 2015 $35,131

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Top Skills for A Director Of Instrumental Music

  1. Jazz Ensemble
  2. Musical Instruments
  3. Music Curriculum
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Directed 2 orchestras (middle/high school, lower school), jazz ensemble, and chamber music ensembles.
  • Managed and Maintained inventory of musical instruments.
  • Introduced into the curriculum and taught a beginning level guitar class for grades 9-12.
  • Directed Concert Band, Jazz Band Percussion Ensemble, and Marching Band Assisted in the reorganization of the Band Boosters.
  • Designed and executed appropriate curricula for a high school instrumental music program.

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