Music Conducting

A career in musical conducting lets you direct music and enjoy musical sounds at the same time. Read further to learn more about this career and typical job duties. Get information about the job outlook and earning potential. See what education and training is required for employment.

Is Music Conducting for Me?

Career Description

As a music conductor, also known as music director, you would organize and lead the performances of musical ensembles, such as concert bands, choirs and orchestras. As a leader of such performance groups, you would also be in charge of selecting musicians and musical compositions for practices and presentations. You would guide performers by setting the tempo of a musical piece, providing cues and improving the overall sound of the performance through artistic direction.

Music conducting techniques vary widely and may be choreographed or unplanned. You must have a strong command of musical performance basics, including articulation, tempo and dynamics.

Job Options

As a professional in this field, you might attain positions with various titles. You could be employed as a music director, music conductor or music minister. You might be an artistic director, chancel choir director, children's choir director, handbell choir director, music ministries director or worship director.

Employment Information

Employment of music directors and composers was projected to grow five percent from 2012-2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which is considered slower than average growth. Strong competition for employment was predicted. Per the BLS, music directors and composers earned an average yearly income of $53,420 as of May 2013 (

How Do I Work in Music Conducting?


A bachelor's degree in music or a related discipline is typically required to direct and conduct music. Conducting degree programs are offered at the graduate level through various universities. You can earn a Master of Music degree or a Doctor of Musical Arts degree. You can concentrate on different areas, such as choral, orchestral or winds. Coursework for a music conducting degree includes history of music, exploration of music, music theories, innovative conducting, bibliography in music and presentation techniques. You'll need to participate in concerts as part of the program.

Most educational institutions require a preliminary audition or regular audition to enter a graduate program in music conducting. For example, some universities may require you to submit an initial recording of you performing. This could lead to an invitation for a formal audition. Contenders are chosen from there.

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