Music Directors: Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Stan T.Career, Overview

Music Directors

Music Directors direct and conduct instrumental or vocal performances by musical groups, such as orchestras or choirs.

Becoming One
Doctoral degree
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth

Interest Match

Job description

Music Directors direct and conduct instrumental or vocal performances by musical groups, such as orchestras or choirs.

  • 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.
  • Consider such factors as ensemble size and abilities, availability of scores, and the need for musical variety, to select music to be performed.
Read more about what does a Music Director really do at work and what is it like being and working as one.


Average salary
$59790 per year

Average hourly wage
$29 per hour

Music Directors with little to no experience tend to make between $21640 and $30950 while the more experienced ones can earn over $69770 per year.

Top 5 paying states Hourly Annual
MN $43 $88,570
CT $37 $77,550
DC $37 $77,220
AL $36 $75,050
GA $35 $73,470

One of the easiest ways to increase your salary as a Music Director is to move to a higher paying state like MN. Right now, the highest paying states for Music Directors are MN, CT, DC, AL and GA.

However, a higher pay at MN doesn’t guarantee that you will make more because the living expenses at MN might be twice as high than where you are currently at now.

Three other factors that can increase your salary as a Music Director is the degree you hold, the industry you work in, and lastly the company you work for.


Recommended degree level
Doctoral degree

We asked other Music Directors what degree they had when they got the job and most of them said they had a PhD followed by a Bachelor’s Degree.

Other than that, we also asked them what did they major in and here are the most popular majors that came up.

Religious/Sacred Music
Musical Theatre
Music Performance, General
Music Theory and Composition
Musicology and Ethnomusicology
Read more about how to become a Music Director and the degree, training and education you need.

Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of being a Music Director.

Suitable for people who likes to work with designs
Suitable for people who values achievements and are results-oriented
Good salary (earns more than 50% compared to other careers)
Demand for this career is growing
Not suitable for people who likes to follow routines
It is hard to get into this career. A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.

What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Is this job meaningful

80% of Music Directors said they were satisfied with their job and 88% said they feel like their job is making other people’s lives better.

Is this right for me

Best personality for this career
The Artists and The Entrepreneurs

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tends to like working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules..

They also like starting up and carrying out projects. They like leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Learn more about Music Directors

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Job Description

Related career information

Music Directors job description, Music Directors salary, Music Directors information, what is the job of a Music Director like, pros and cons about Music Directors, colleges and universities for Music Directors, is Music Directors the right career for me, careers in Art, Entertainment and Sports

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