What do Music Directors do?

Direct and conduct instrumental or vocal performances by musical groups, such as orchestras or choirs.

  • 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 in order to achieve desired effects such as tonal and harmonic balance dynamics, rhythm, and tempo.
  • Plan and schedule rehearsals and performances, and arrange details such as locations, accompanists, and instrumentalists.
  • Consider such factors as ensemble size and abilities, availability of scores, and the need for musical variety, in order to select music to be performed.
  • Study scores to learn the music in detail, and to develop interpretations.
  • Position members within groups to obtain balance among instrumental or vocal sections.
  • 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.
  • Audition and select performers for musical presentations.
  • Meet with soloists and concertmasters to discuss and prepare for performances.
  • Assign and review staff work in such areas as scoring, arranging, and copying music, and vocal coaching.
  • Perform administrative tasks such as applying for grants, developing budgets, negotiating contracts, and designing and printing programs and other promotional materials.
  • Plan and implement fund-raising and promotional activities.
  • Coordinate and organize tours, or hire touring companies to arrange concert dates, venues, accommodations, and transportation for longer tours.
  • Collaborate with music librarians to ensure availability of scores.
  • Conduct guest soloists in addition to ensemble members.
  • Meet with composers to discuss interpretations of their work.
  • Engage services of composers to write scores.

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Necessary Skills

  • Instructing
  • Monitoring
  • Coordination
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Speaking
  • Time Management
  • Critical Thinking
  • Active Listening
  • Social Perceptiveness

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