Career Advice on How to Become a Music Director

General Career Information

The fun thing that most people don’t know about music directors is that they will pretty much let anyone do this job. As long as that anyone is a highly trained, skilled and experienced musician. Those who are in the process of career planning or a job search and are interested in becoming a music director should realize that a strong background in music is an obvious must. You can’t really fake that you know what you are doing.
Music directors are the people that lead musical groups during their performances. Music directors and conductors plan out the performances of groups such as choirs and orchestras. This career also requires that music directors go through the process of auditioning and selecting musicians to be in the group. Of course, this means that the music director has some serious responsibility. Put the wrong musician in the wrong spot, and your credibility as a music director can clearly suffer.

Career Facts:

It is not uncommon for music directors to be highly educated in the field of music. This usually means not only a college degree or an advanced degree in music, but considerable experience and training as well. Clearly, this is an occupation for those who love music and are highly dedicated to their career goals. In 2006, there were 68,000 music directors and composers in the United States, and this number is expected to increase somewhat in the coming years.

While the profession requires a education and a great deal of dedication and practice, music directors don’t see this necessarily reflected in their pay. On average a music director makes around $40,000 a year.


Career Opportunities and Job Outlook-Fair:

The number of music directors and composers is expected to rise by 2016 to about 216,000. This thirteen percent increase makes for an average job outlook.
Job Outlook is Fair  

A Day in The Life:

A great deal of the work that a music director does is, not surprisingly, with musicians. Music directors are largely responsible for performance of musicians in orchestras and choirs. They are under pressure to make sure that each and every musician is performing well. This pressure to keep an entire group of musicians “on target” is no small one and makes this career managerial in this regard. While most associate music with “fun,” for the music director there may be times of serious stress.

Average Salary:

Given the nature and potential stress level of the career, one would expect that the music director might receive larger compensation than the $40,000 on average that most music directors receive. However, it should be noted that many music directors could make far more. The top ten-percent of music director’s salary is an average of about $111,000 per year.

$40k - $111k


Career Training and Qualifications:

It takes years of experience and training to become a music director. It is not uncommon for music directors to be skilled musicians in their own right and have college degrees in the field of music.
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