Job description

Music directors lead musical groups such as orchestras, choirs and bands. They’re responsible for ensuring the precision and quality of the overall sound by checking effects like melody, timing, rhythm and volume.

Music directors are in charge of selecting musical compositions for performances or recordings, selecting performers and directing rehearsals for upcoming shows.


    • Lead and direct musical groups such as orchestras, choirs and bands
    • Review and interpret musical scores
    • Ensure the quality of melody, timing, rhythm and volume
    • Select musical compositions for performances or recordings
    • Audition and choose performers, musicians or singers
    • Direct rehearsals for upcoming performances or recordings
    • Study musical scores to develop skills and knowledge
    • Attend events such as fundraisers
    • Teach music to children and adults in private lessons

Skills and qualities

Musical talent
Critical thinking
Hearing sensitivity
Auditory attention

Job outlook

Projected growth
The projected growth rate of employment in the US from 2018 to 2028, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme. The national average growth rate for all professions is 5%.


New jobs
The number of jobs projected to become available in the US between 2018 and 2028, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme.


Automation risk
The probability of computerisation, based on data published in ‘The Future of Employment’, a 2013 working paper by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne.


Career progression

Music directors have the opportunity to work for a prestigious choir, orchestra or theatre production. With the right qualifications and experience, they may even advance to direct music for movies or television shows.

Working conditions

Average hours

40h/ week

Typical schedule

Full Time

Some evenings and weekends

Music directors typically work in concert halls, theatres and recording studios. They may also spend a lot of time travelling, especially during periods of performances.

Music directors almost always work within a team, and this can be with both adults and children. These professionals must be accustomed to loud surroundings and distracting noise levels, particularly during rehearsals.


Bottom 10%




Top 10%


Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.

Qualifications and training

Education level


Bachelor of Music degree

Study time

4 years

Education requirements vary depending on the particular role. An aspiring choir director, for example, will need a Bachelor of Music (BM) degree, while those who want to become conductors of symphony orchestras will typically need to obtain a master’s degree in music theory, music composition or conducting.

Most music directors would have gained years of experience practising singing or playing an instrument. Previous experience working as a musician or singer in a group, choir or orchestra will also be beneficial.

Those who are interested in directing classical music can gain more training through music camps and fellowships.

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 2, 2022

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