Music conductors are responsible for leading orchestras, choirs and other musical groups during rehearsals and public performances. Work settings vary and may include opera houses, recording studios, schools or religious facilities.
Inside Musical Conducting
Musical conductors plan, direct and lead vocal or instrumental groups, including choirs and high school bands. These professionals have an excellent working knowledge of percussion, string, wind and brass instruments, as well as piano and vocal techniques. Many aspiring conductors pursue a Master of Music or a Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) in Conducting.
Admission requirements for a master's program in conducting include completion of a bachelor's degree in music performance or a related field. Most programs prefer applicants who have some conducting experience; prospective students may need to submit a DVD that shows them leading both a group rehearsal and performance. Admission prerequisites for a D.M.A. program are often similar to those of a conducting master's program; however, some schools prefer doctoral program applicants who hold a master's degree. In addition, prospective doctoral students may need to complete a live audition that involves conducting a school group.
Some master's and doctoral programs require a specialization, like wind ensemble or choral conducting. Students pursuing either a master's or doctoral degree gain extensive conducting experience by working with school jazz, choral and orchestral groups. Common coursework in a graduate conducting program includes score preparation techniques, group rehearsal methods, advanced music theory and musicology. Both master's and doctoral programs culminate in a final conducting project.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of music directors and composers was expected to increase by ten percent between 2008 and 2018 (www.bls.gov). As of May 2010, music directors and composers earned an average annual salary of $52,750.
Learn More About Musical Conducting
Music conductors might work in church settings or direct community choirs, orchestras and other types of groups. Check out the Education-Portal.com articles listed below to learn more about academic opportunities and job prospects in this field.
Students interested in pursuing a graduate degree in conducting usually start by earning a bachelor's degree in music performance or musical arts. Programs related to conducting may lead to a master's or doctoral degree in music, music theory or music composition. Read the following articles for more information about these programs.
- Music Studies Degrees
- Bachelor's Programs In Musical Arts
- Music Master's Programs
- Doctoral Music Programs
Several related work opportunities exist for individuals interested in musical conducting. The articles listed in this section discuss job responsibilities for musicians, music directors and composers.
Distance Learning Options
Online music training programs are available through some universities and colleges at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. It's important to remember that because of the hands-on nature of the field, some in-person attendance may be required.
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