Summary Report for:
27-2041.01 - Music Directors
Direct and conduct instrumental or vocal performances by musical groups, such as orchestras or choirs.
Sample of reported job titles: Artistic Director, Children's Choir Director, Choir Director, Conductor, Handbell Choir Director, Liturgical Music Director, Music Director, Music Minister, Music Ministries Director, Orchestra Director
Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Use gestures to shape the music being played, communicating desired tempo, phrasing, tone, color, pitch, volume, and other performance aspects.
- Direct groups at rehearsals and live or recorded performances to achieve desired effects such as tonal and harmonic balance dynamics, rhythm, and tempo.
- Study scores to learn the music in detail, and to develop interpretations.
- Consider such factors as ensemble size and abilities, availability of scores, and the need for musical variety, to select music to be performed.
- Audition and select performers for musical presentations.
- Plan and schedule rehearsals and performances, and arrange details such as locations, accompanists, and instrumentalists.
- Position members within groups to obtain balance among instrumental or vocal sections.
- Perform administrative tasks such as applying for grants, developing budgets, negotiating contracts, and designing and printing programs and other promotional materials.
- Meet with soloists and concertmasters to discuss and prepare for performances.
- Meet with composers to discuss interpretations of their work.
- Conduct guest soloists in addition to ensemble members.
- Assign and review staff work in such areas as scoring, arranging, and copying music, and vocal coaching.
- Confer with clergy to select music for church services.
- Transcribe musical compositions and melodic lines to adapt them to a particular group, or to create a particular musical style.
- Collaborate with music librarians to ensure availability of scores.
- Plan and implement fundraising and promotional activities.
- Engage services of composers to write scores.
- Coordinate and organize tours, or hire touring companies to arrange concert dates, venues, accommodations, and transportation for longer tours.
- Data base user interface and query software — Music Director Pro
- Desktop publishing software — Microsoft Publisher
- Electronic mail software — Microsoft Outlook
- Music or sound editing software — Apple MainStage; Avid Audio Pro Tools; MIDI Maestro
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Presentation software — MediaShout; Microsoft PowerPoint
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Video creation and editing software — Apple Final Cut Pro
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
- Bells — Handbells
- Conductors batons — Conducting batons
- Desktop computers
- Guitars — Acoustic guitars
- Laser printers — Computer laser printers
- Loudspeakers — Portable loudspeakers
- Musical instrument digital interface MIDI interfaces — Audio interfaces; Musical instrument digital interface MIDI sequencers
- Musical instrument effects unit — Expression pedals; Foot switches; Sustain pedals
- Musical organs — Electronic organs; Pipe organs
- Notebook computers — Laptop computers
- Pen or flash drive — Flash drives
- Personal computers
- Photocopiers — Copy machines
- Portable hard disk storage device — External hard drives
- Synthesizer — Keyboard synthesizers
- Tablet computers
- Fine Arts — Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- Philosophy and Theology — Knowledge of different philosophical systems and religions. This includes their basic principles, values, ethics, ways of thinking, customs, practices, and their impact on human culture.
- Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Personnel and Human Resources — Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Psychology — Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
- Clerical — Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
- Communications and Media — Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
- History and Archeology — Knowledge of historical events and their causes, indicators, and effects on civilizations and cultures.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
- Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Management of Personnel Resources — Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Negotiation — Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
- Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Hearing Sensitivity — The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Auditory Attention — The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Memorization — The ability to remember information such as words, numbers, pictures, and procedures.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Sound Localization — The ability to tell the direction from which a sound originated.
- Speed of Closure — The ability to quickly make sense of, combine, and organize information into meaningful patterns.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Monitoring and Controlling Resources — Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
Detailed Work Activities
- Coordinate musical rehearsals or performances.
- Study details of musical compositions.
- Determine presentation subjects or content.
- Select staff, team members, or performers.
- Audition or interview potential performers or staff members.
- Collaborate with others to determine technical details of productions.
- Direct fundraising or financing activities.
- Design layout of art or product exhibits, displays, or promotional materials.
- Negotiate for services.
- Collaborate with others to prepare or perform artistic productions.
- Promote products, activities, or organizations.
- Coordinate artistic activities.
- Coordinate logistics for productions or events.
- Confer with clients to determine needs.
- Create musical compositions, arrangements or scores.
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 69% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 81% responded “Every day.”
- Electronic Mail — 75% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 77% responded “Extremely important.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 67% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Contact With Others — 56% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 50% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 65% responded “Extremely important.”
- Public Speaking — 49% responded “Every day.”
- Deal With External Customers — 57% responded “Extremely important.”
- Telephone — 49% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 57% responded “Extremely important.”
- Time Pressure — 51% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 37% responded “High responsibility.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 45% responded “Very important results.”
- Letters and Memos — 42% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 40% responded “Every day.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 60% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Physical Proximity — 34% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 48% responded “Extremely important.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 41% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Level of Competition — 46% responded “Extremely competitive.”
- Spend Time Standing — 59% responded “About half the time.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 48% responded “About half the time.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 50% responded “More than half the time.”
|Title||Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.|
|Related Experience||A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.|
|Job Zone Examples||Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, database administrators, graphic designers, chemists, art directors, and cost estimators.|
|SVP Range||(7.0 to < 8.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
Interest code: AES Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- Artistic — Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.
- Enterprising — Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
- Social — Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Wages & Employment Trends
Median wages data collected from Music Directors and Composers.
Employment data collected from Music Directors and Composers.
Industry data collected from Music Directors and Composers.
|Median wages (2018)||$23.86 hourly, $49,630 annual|
|Employment (2016)||75,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2016-2026)||Average (5% to 9%)|
|Projected job openings (2016-2026)||7,700|
|Top industries (2016)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2018 wage data and 2016-2026 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2016-2026). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- American Choral Directors Association
- American Guild of Organists
- American String Teachers Association
- Association of Lutheran Church Musicians
- Choristers Guild
- Chorus America
- Conductors Guild
- League of American Orchestras
- National Association for Music Education
- National Association of Pastoral Musicians
- National Association of Schools of Music
- National Association of Teachers of Singing
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Music directors and composers
- The College Music Society
- The Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts