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Music Director  What They Do

Just the Facts

Directs and conducts instrumental or vocal performances by musical groups, such as orchestras or choirs.

This career is part of the Arts, A/V Technology and Communication cluster Performing Arts pathway.

A person in this career:

  • Uses gestures to shape the music being played, communicating desired tempo, phrasing, tone, color, pitch, volume, and other performance aspects.
  • Directs groups at rehearsals and live or recorded performances to achieve desired effects such as tonal and harmonic balance dynamics, rhythm, and tempo.
  • Plans and schedules rehearsals and performances, and arranges details such as locations, accompanists, and instrumentalists.
  • Considers such factors as ensemble size and abilities, availability of scores, and the need for musical variety, to select music to be performed.
  • Studies scores to learn the music in detail, and to develop interpretations.
  • Positions members within groups to obtain balance among instrumental or vocal sections.
  • Confers with clergy to select music for church services.
  • Transcribes musical compositions and melodic lines to adapt them to a particular group, or to create a particular musical style.
  • Auditions and selects performers for musical presentations.
  • Meets with soloists and concertmasters to discuss and prepare for performances.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Picking out a particular sound in the presence of other sounds
  • Detecting sounds and hearing the differences between sounds of different pitch and loudness
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Being able to tell the direction from which a sound is coming
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours
  • Overnight travel
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Artistic Director -- Conceives, develops, and implements the artistic vision and focus of a theatre company.
  • Music Instructor -- Uses their musical expertise to guide students in learning how to sing or play a musical instrument.