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Director Of Music Careers

What Does a Director Of 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.

How To Become a Director Of 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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Average Salary
$37,448
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
1%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
2,016
Job Openings

Director Of Music Career Paths

Top Careers Before Director Of Music

Pianist
6.1 %

Top Careers After Director Of Music

Pianist
6.1 %
Teacher
5.9 %

Director Of Music Jobs You Might Like

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Average Salary for a Director Of Music

Directors Of Music in America make an average salary of $37,448 per year or $18 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $65,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $21,000 per year.
Average Salary
$37,448
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Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
Houston, TX
Salary Range33k - 65k$47k$47,017
Richmond, VA
Salary Range31k - 64k$45k$44,913
New York, NY
Salary Range30k - 63k$44k$44,250
Miami, FL
Salary Range31k - 61k$44k$44,235
North Bergen, NJ
Salary Range28k - 60k$42k$41,670
Albuquerque, NM
Salary Range28k - 56k$40k$39,933
$17k
$65k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Director of Contemporary Music
Director of Contemporary Music
First United Methodist Church
First United Methodist Church
05/13/2021
05/13/2021
$13,75005/13/2021
$13,750
Director of Traditional Music
Director of Traditional Music
First United Methodist Church
First United Methodist Church
05/13/2021
05/13/2021
$28,50005/13/2021
$28,500
Music Director
Music Director
Cranehill Learning Services, Inc.
Cranehill Learning Services, Inc.
03/23/2021
03/23/2021
$52,40503/23/2021
$52,405
Music Director
Music Director
Cranehill Learning Services, Inc.
Cranehill Learning Services, Inc.
03/23/2021
03/23/2021
$52,40503/23/2021
$52,405
Cathedral Music Director
Cathedral Music Director
Cathedral of The Sacred Heart
Cathedral of The Sacred Heart
03/09/2021
03/09/2021
$42,00003/09/2021
$42,000
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Director Of Music Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Director Of Music. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Director Of Music Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Director Of Music resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

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Director Of Music Demographics

Gender

male

61.4 %

female

33.9 %

unknown

4.7 %

Ethnicity

White

84.2 %

Black or African American

7.4 %

Hispanic or Latino

3.4 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

42.1 %

French

16.9 %

German

9.3 %
See More Demographics

Director Of Music Education

Majors

Music
38.9 %

Degrees

Bachelors

62.3 %

Masters

13.3 %

Certificate

9.8 %

Top Colleges for Director Of Musics

1. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

2. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

3. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

4. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,188
Enrollment
15,105

5. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI • Public

In-State Tuition
$15,262
Enrollment
30,079

6. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

7. Rice University

Houston, TX • Private

In-State Tuition
$47,350
Enrollment
3,962

8. University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, IN • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,391
Enrollment
8,568

9. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216

10. Brown University

Providence, RI • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,466
Enrollment
6,752
See More Education Info

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Music Theory
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4.6
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An in-depth and straight forward approach to understanding music...

Music Theory Classes
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3.9
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Learn everything from the complete basics to the advanced cocepts of music theory. Music theory is the study of music...

Music Producer Masterclass: Make Electronic Music
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Compose Music At A Professional level. Learn FL studio From Beginner To Expert Level. Become A Music Producer...

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Top Skills For a Director Of Music

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 58.5% of directors of music listed music program on their resume, but soft skills such as discipline and musical talent are important as well.

Best States For a Director Of Music

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a director of music. The best states for people in this position are Texas, Alaska, Oklahoma, and Virginia. Directors of music make the most in Texas with an average salary of $46,801. Whereas in Alaska and Oklahoma, they would average $45,688 and $45,428, respectively. While directors of music would only make an average of $45,148 in Virginia, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Oklahoma

Total Director Of Music Jobs:
413
Highest 10% Earn:
$87,000
Location Quotient:
10.69
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Louisiana

Total Director Of Music Jobs:
455
Highest 10% Earn:
$81,000
Location Quotient:
11.35
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Texas

Total Director Of Music Jobs:
36
Highest 10% Earn:
$87,000
Location Quotient:
0.14
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Director Of Music Employers

1. Christ's Church Of The Valley
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$38,515
Director Of Musics Hired: 
23+
2. The Salvation Army
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$47,531
Director Of Musics Hired: 
22+
3. Carnival Cruise Line
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$41,614
Director Of Musics Hired: 
17+
4. School Of Rock
3.1
Avg. Salary: 
$40,308
Director Of Musics Hired: 
12+
5. St. Paul Lutheran Church
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$63,482
Director Of Musics Hired: 
12+
6. St. John's School
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$43,932
Director Of Musics Hired: 
12+

Director Of Music Videos