What do they do?

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.

Also known as:

Arranger, Artistic Director, Band Director, Choir Director, Choirmaster, Choral Director, Composer, Conductor, Film Composer, Handbell Choir Director, Jingle Writer, Liturgical Music Director, Music Arranger, Music Composer, Music Director, Music Minister, Music Ministries Director, Music Pastor, Music Producer, Orchestra Director, Orchestrator, Producer, Songwriter

Typical Wages

Projected Growth Rate

Employment of Music Directors and Composers is projected to grow 7 percent from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as average compared to all occupations.

Projected Employment in VA

No Data Available
  • 7.7%

    Change

    Ranks #29 in job growth rate
    30

    Job Openings

    Ranks #26 in net job growth

Best colleges for Music Directors and Composers

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Education Level

Percent of workers in this field with these degrees:

  • Doctorate or Professional Degree  (6%)
  • Master's degree  (21%)
  • Bachelor's degree  (43%)
  • Associate's degree  (5%)
  • Some college, no degree  (15%)
  • High school diploma equivalent  (8%)
  • Less than high school diploma  (1%)

Typical College Majors

Most Popular Majors that prepare Music Directors and Composers

Select Type of Degree:

  • #1
    • Degrees Granted

      3,972
    • Female Students

      1,826
    • Male Students

      2,146
    • Median Starting Salary

      $38,300
  • #2
    • Degrees Granted

      1,332
    • Female Students

      644
    • Male Students

      688
    • Median Starting Salary

      $39,600
  • #3
    • Degrees Granted

      1,076
    • Female Students

      721
    • Male Students

      355
    • Median Starting Salary

      $37,200
  • #4
    • Degrees Granted

      761
    • Female Students

      348
    • Male Students

      413
    • Median Starting Salary

      $38,300
  • #5
    • Degrees Granted

      678
    • Female Students

      155
    • Male Students

      523
    • Median Starting Salary

      $38,300

People in this career often have these skills:

  • 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.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

People in this career often know a lot about:

  • Fine Arts - Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

People in this career often have talent in:

  • Hearing Sensitivity - The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Fluency of Ideas - 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).
  • Originality - 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.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Auditory Attention - The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.

People in this career often do these 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.
  • Coordinate logistics for productions or events.
  • Study scripts to determine project requirements.

This page includes data from:

O*NET OnLine Career data: O*NET 28.1 Database by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (“USDOL/ETA”). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license. O*NET® is a trademark of USDOL/ETA

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Logo Occupation statistics: USDOL U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics

careeronestop logo Videos: CareerOneStop, USDOL/ETA and the Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development

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