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What Do Music Director Do?

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

Daily Life Of a Music Director

  • Use gestures to shape the music being played, communicating desired tempo, phrasing, tone, color, pitch, volume, and other performance aspects.
  • Conduct guest soloists in addition to ensemble members.
  • Perform administrative tasks such as applying for grants, developing budgets, negotiating contracts, and designing and printing programs and other promotional materials.
  • Collaborate with music librarians to ensure availability of scores.
  • 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.

What Skills Do You Need to Work as a Music Director?

When polled, Music Directors say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

Instructing: Teaching others how to do something.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

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.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Coordination: Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

Other Music Director Job Titles

  • Band Director
  • Orchestra Director
  • Choir Teacher
  • Music Instructor
  • Band Master

Job Outlook for Music Directors

There were about 74,800 jobs for Music Director in 2016 (in the United States). New jobs are being produced at a rate of 5.7% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 4,300 new jobs for Music Director by 2026. There will be an estimated 7,700 positions for Music Director per year.


The states with the most job growth for Music Director are Colorado, Utah, and North Carolina. Watch out if you plan on working in Vermont, Kansas, or Wisconsin. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Salary for a Music Director

Music Directors make between $21,640 and $112,820 a year.


Music Directors who work in Minnesota, Georgia, or New Jersey, make the highest salaries.

How much do Music Directors make in different U.S. states?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $75,050
Arizona $57,810
California $64,600
Colorado $50,800
Connecticut $77,550
District of Columbia $77,220
Florida $72,420
Georgia $73,470
Hawaii $51,230
Illinois $40,220
Indiana $66,460
Iowa $52,430
Kansas $55,290
Kentucky $49,610
Louisiana $53,600
Maryland $58,570
Massachusetts $56,200
Michigan $51,180
Minnesota $88,570
Mississippi $53,000
Missouri $60,590
Montana $29,100
Nebraska $46,650
New Jersey $73,320
New Mexico $48,440
New York $66,120
North Carolina $48,920
Ohio $44,920
Oklahoma $38,530
Oregon $46,000
Pennsylvania $46,010
Rhode Island $64,200
South Carolina $53,700
Texas $61,210
Utah $57,780
Vermont $56,130
Washington $71,980
Wisconsin $71,350

What Tools & Technology do Music Directors Use?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Music Directors may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft Publisher
  • Apple Final Cut Pro
  • Avid Audio Pro Tools

Becoming a Music Director

Individuals working as a Music Director have obtained the following education levels:


What work experience do I need to become a Music Director?


Where Music Directors Work


The table below shows the approximate number of Music Directors employed by various industries.


You May Also Be Interested In…

Those thinking about becoming a Music Director might also be interested in the following careers:


Image Credit: via Creative Commons CC0

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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