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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:
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:
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.
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.
|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Church Music Director||New York Dong Yang First Church||NY||Dec 14, 2015||$108,680|
|Music Director||Brazos Valley Chorale||Bryan, TX||Oct 17, 2016||$104,350|
|Director of Worship and Music Ministry||The Church at The Falls-The Falls Church||Falls Church, VA||Sep 17, 2015||$95,200|
|Director of Worship and Music Ministry||The Church at The Falls-The Falls Church||Falls Church, VA||Sep 10, 2015||$95,200|
|Music Director||Quill & Quaver Associates, LLC||New York, NY||Jun 15, 2015||$93,915|
|Director of Music||New York Preparatory School||New York, NY||Oct 01, 2015||$86,520|
|Music Director||United Television Broadcasting Systems, Inc.||Los Angeles, CA||May 01, 2015||$84,947|
|Religious Music Director||Living Water Presbyterian Church of Nj||Fairview, NJ||Apr 13, 2016||$84,711|
|Church Music Director||The Arcola Korean United Methodist Church||Paramus, NJ||Sep 30, 2015||$84,469|
|Music Director||Ischool of Music & Art||Port Washington, NY||Feb 02, 2015||$77,626|
|Music Director||The Serving Life Church||Ridgefield, NJ||May 23, 2016||$77,043|
|Director of Musical Events||Plugin Miami LLC||Hallandale Beach, FL||Sep 15, 2016||$75,000|
|Music Director||Lion Management Group Inc.||San Francisco, CA||Feb 03, 2015||$73,800|
|Music Director||San Francisco Boys Chorus||Oakland, CA||Sep 27, 2016||$72,500|
|Director of Music and Worship Arts||Apostles Anglican Church Inc.||Knoxville, TN||Nov 12, 2015||$58,500|
|Music Director||Saint Francis Episcopal Church||College Station, TX||Aug 20, 2016||$57,810|
|Musical Director||Cheek 2 Cheek LLC||New York, NY||Jan 01, 2016||$57,000|
|Christian Music Director||Full Gospel New York Church||NY||Sep 05, 2016||$55,016|
|Music Director||Holy Rosary Catholic Church||New York, NY||Oct 26, 2016||$55,016|
|Music Director||The Love of Christ Presbyterian Church||NY||Jun 29, 2016||$55,016|
|Director of Music||Missouri Military Academy||Mexico, MO||Jan 09, 2016||$55,000|
|Music Director||New Community Baptist Church of Houston||Houston, TX||Jan 15, 2016||$54,475|
|Music Director||Se Kwang Baptist Church, Inc.||Suwanee, GA||Feb 26, 2016||$47,174|
|Music Director||Cranehill Learning Services, Inc.||Allen, TX||Jun 10, 2015||$46,827|
|Music Director||St. PUIS X Catholic Church||Conyers, GA||Sep 25, 2015||$46,000|
|Director of Music||Holy Family Catholic Church||Mitchell, SD||Jun 01, 2016||$45,000|
|Music Director||JJF International Music Academy, LLC||Lincoln, NE||Sep 24, 2015||$45,000 -
|Director of Music||Holy Family Catholic Church||Mitchell, SD||Feb 04, 2016||$45,000|
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