Choral Director: Job Description, Duties and Salary

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a choral director. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and important skills to find out if this is the career for you.

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Essential Information

Choral directors, also known as choir or music directors, often manage various aspects of the vocal, and sometimes instrumental, performances of musical groups, such as choirs, ensembles, or glee clubs. Some of their tasks may include composing music, leading performances and performing administrative duties. Demonstrated ability and experience in choral music is generally required for this career. In addition to possessing musical skills, choral directors may need to complete a formal training program in the music field.

Required Education Formal education program related to music
Required Skills Choral music experience and demonstrated ability in music directing
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)* 5% (all music directors and composers)*
Average Salary (2013)* $54,560 annually (all music directors and composers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

Most choral directors provide oversight and administration for the vocal music programs of various organizations, such as schools or churches. Choral directors often compose and lead performances of both vocal and instrumental music, depending on their organization's needs. Those working in public school systems may also be required to hold music education classes.

Job Duties

Responsibilities of choral directors often vary by setting and expectations of employers. Their major duties can include selecting music, conducting rehearsals, choosing individual singers for solos, and choosing accompanists. Choral directors may also be required to handle administrative tasks, such as maintaining a calendar of events for performances, recruiting new members, and ensuring the uniformity of group attire. Directors often need to work well with both adults and children, and are typically required to be able to read music and be familiar with conducting techniques.

Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the annual salaries of most music directors and composers ranged between $22,130 and $87,970 as of May 2013 (www.bls.gov). Overall, directors and composers earned an average salary of $54,560, with those working for performing arts organizations earning an average of $66,610 a year. Those employed by religious organizations earned an average of $46,930 in May 2013, according to the BLS. Career fields related to choral directors can include instrumentalist, vocalist, conductor, music teacher, director of music ministries, or artistic director.

Training

Successful choral directors are typically expert musicians who are accomplished in the field of music. Depending on their employer, directors may be required to have some type of formal training in a related major, such as music or music education. Many of these programs offer concentrations in church music or choral education. Coursework may include choral literature, ensemble conducting, hymnology, voice pedagogy, and children choirs.

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    Areas of study you may find at Boston University include:
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    Areas of study you may find at Michigan State University include:
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    Areas of study you may find at Northwestern University include:
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        • Voice and Opera
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    Areas of study you may find at Temple University include:
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    Areas of study you may find at University of Oregon include:
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        • Music Performing
        • Musical Conducting
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    Areas of study you may find at Baylor University include:
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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics