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Music Conductors and Directors

Overview
Music Director—Career Q&A: Professional Advice and Insight

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Music conductors direct large groups of musicians or singers in the performance of a piece of music. There are various types of conductors, including those who lead symphony orchestras, dance bands, marching bands, and choral groups. They use their hands, a baton, or both to indicate the musical sound variations and timing of a composition. Their chief concern is their interpretation of how a piece of music should be played. They are responsible for rehearsing the orchestra and auditioning musicians for positions in the ensemble.

Conductors must have the complete respect of the musicians they lead. The great conductors have a personal charisma that awes both musician and listener alike. Conductors are unique in the modern musical world in that they make no sound themselves yet control the sound that others make. The orchestra is their instrument. Music conductors sometimes carry the title of music director, which implies a wider area of responsibilities, including administrative and managerial duties. Approximately 21,540 music directors and composers are employed in the United States.

Salary Range

Below $25,000 to $100,000+

Minimum Education Level

High School Diploma

Certification/License

None

Outlook

Little Change or More Slowly than the Average
Personality Traits

Creative

Organized

Outgoing

Career Ladder
Director or Conductor of Major Orchestra

Director or Conductor

Assistant Director or Conductor

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