Music Directors and Composers

Overview
Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed
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.

Education

Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

Job Training

Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Examples

Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include real estate brokers, sales managers, database administrators, graphic designers, chemists, art directors, and cost estimators.

Conduct, direct, plan, and lead instrumental or vocal performances by musical artists or groups, such as orchestras, bands, choirs, and glee clubs; or create original works of music.

Salary Salary

Salary at 10th Percentile: $23K
Salary at 25th Percentile: $33K
Median Salary: $52K
Salary at 75th Percentile: $76K
Salary at 90th Percentile: $124K

Demand
Career Demand by State Career Demand by State Legend
Core Tasks

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.

Apply elements of music theory to create musical and tonal structures, including harmonies and melodies.

Consider such factors as ensemble size and abilities, availability of scores, and the need for musical variety, to select music to be performed.

Determine voices, instruments, harmonic structures, rhythms, tempos, and tone balances required to achieve the effects desired in a musical composition.

Experiment with different sounds, and types and pieces of music, using synthesizers and computers as necessary to test and evaluate ideas.

Transcribe ideas for musical compositions into musical notation, using instruments, pen and paper, or computers.

Audition and select performers for musical presentations.

Plan and schedule rehearsals and performances, and arrange details such as locations, accompanists, and instrumentalists.

Write musical scores for orchestras, bands, choral groups, or individual instrumentalists or vocalists, using knowledge of music theory and of instrumental and vocal capabilities.

Perform administrative tasks such as applying for grants, developing budgets, negotiating contracts, and designing and printing programs and other promotional materials.

Position members within groups to obtain balance among instrumental or vocal sections.

Confer with producers and directors to define the nature and placement of film or television music.

Fill in details of orchestral sketches, such as adding vocal parts to scores.

Meet with soloists and concertmasters to discuss and prepare for performances.

Explore and develop musical ideas based on sources such as imagination or sounds in the environment.

Write music for commercial mediums, including advertising jingles or film soundtracks.

Transpose music from one voice or instrument to another to accommodate particular musicians.

Rewrite original musical scores in different musical styles by changing rhythms, harmonies, or tempos.

Arrange music composed by others, changing the music to achieve desired effects.

Assign and review staff work in such areas as scoring, arranging, and copying music, and vocal coaching.

Coordinate and organize tours, or hire touring companies to arrange concert dates, venues, accommodations, and transportation for longer tours.

Study films or scripts to determine how musical scores can be used to create desired effects or moods.

Transcribe musical compositions and melodic lines to adapt them to a particular group, or to create a particular musical style.

Create original musical forms, or write within circumscribed musical forms such as sonatas, symphonies, or operas.

Collaborate with other colleagues, such as copyists, to complete final scores.

Copy parts from scores for individual performers.

Technology Skills
Technology
Example
Hot Technology
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
Wusik Wusikstation VSTi
Office suite software
Microsoft Office
Presentation software
Microsoft PowerPoint
Spreadsheet software
Microsoft Excel
Video creation and editing software
Apple Final Cut Pro
Word processing software
Microsoft Word
Tools Used
Tool
Example
Audio and visual presentation and composing equipment
Digital audio workstations
Components for information technology or broadcasting or telecommunications
Musical instrument digital interface MIDI sequencers
Computer Equipment and Accessories
Laptop computers
Consumer electronics
Portable loudspeakers
Musical Instruments and parts and accessories
Bass guitars
Office machines and their supplies and accessories
Copy machines
Top 10 Knowledge Required
Fine Arts
94%
Importance

Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.

English Language
80%
Importance

Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

Computers and Electronics
73%
Importance

Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

Customer and Personal Service
72%
Importance

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.

Education and Training
66%
Importance

Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Communications and Media
65%
Importance

Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.

Administration and Management
62%
Importance

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.

Philosophy and Theology
60%
Importance

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.

Psychology
59%
Importance

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
57%
Importance

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.

Top 10 Skills
Active Listening
73%
Importance

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
73%
Importance

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

Judgment and Decision Making
72%
Importance

Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Speaking
72%
Importance

Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Coordination
70%
Importance

Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

Monitoring
68%
Importance

Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Reading Comprehension
68%
Importance

Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Time Management
68%
Importance

Managing one's own time and the time of others.

Writing
68%
Importance

Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Instructing
65%
Importance

Teaching others how to do something.

Top 10 Abilities
Hearing Sensitivity
83%
Importance

The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.

Originality
77%
Importance

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.

Oral Comprehension
74%
Importance

The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

Oral Expression
74%
Importance

The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

Fluency of Ideas
73%
Importance

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).

Speech Recognition
72%
Importance

The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.

Near Vision
70%
Importance

The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

Speech Clarity
70%
Importance

The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.

Auditory Attention
69%
Importance

The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.

Written Comprehension
69%
Importance

The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

Top 10 Work Activities
Thinking Creatively
93%
Importance

Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
88%
Importance

Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

Getting Information
86%
Importance

Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Scheduling Work and Activities
81%
Importance

Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
80%
Importance

Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Interacting With Computers
78%
Importance

Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
77%
Importance

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.

Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
77%
Importance

Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People
75%
Importance

Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.

Making Decisions and Solving Problems
74%
Importance

Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Detailed Work Activities

Coordinate musical rehearsals or performances.

Study details of musical compositions.

Create musical compositions, arrangements or scores.

Determine presentation subjects or content.

Audition or interview potential performers or staff members.

Select staff, team members, or performers.

Design layout of art or product exhibits, displays, or promotional materials.

Negotiate for services.

Direct fundraising or financing activities.

Collaborate with others to determine technical details of productions.

Collaborate with others to prepare or perform artistic productions.

Coordinate artistic activities.

Study scripts to determine project requirements.

Coordinate logistics for productions or events.

Operate audio recording equipment.

Stay informed about current developments in field of specialization.

Majors
Major
Religious/Sacred Music
Worship Ministry
Musical Theatre
Music Performance, General
Music Theory and Composition
Musicology and Ethnomusicology
Conducting
Voice and Opera
Music Technology
Sound Arts
Music, Other
Music Management
Interests
Artistic
98%
Importance

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
67%
Importance

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
48%
Importance

Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Realistic
36%
Importance

Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Conventional
34%
Importance

Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Investigative
31%
Importance

Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Top 10 Work Styles
Dependability
95%
Importance

Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.

Attention to Detail
92%
Importance

Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.

Cooperation
92%
Importance

Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.

Integrity
91%
Importance

Job requires being honest and ethical.

Innovation
90%
Importance

Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.

Achievement/Effort
89%
Importance

Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.

Initiative
88%
Importance

Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

Persistence
88%
Importance

Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.

Independence
86%
Importance

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.

Stress Tolerance
86%
Importance

Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.

Work Values
Achievement
91%
Importance

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
79%
Importance

Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

Recognition
74%
Importance

Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.

Relationships
69%
Importance

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.

Working Conditions
64%
Importance

Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.

Support
46%
Importance

Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.