Music Conductors and Directors



Music conductors direct large groups of musicians or singers in the performance of a piece of music. There are various types of conductors, including those who lead symphony orchestras, dance bands, marching bands, and choral groups. They use their hands, a baton, or both to indicate the musical sound variations and timing of a composition. Their chief concern is their interpretation of how a piece of music should be played. They are responsible for rehearsing the orchestra and auditioning musicians for positions in the ensemble.

Quick Facts


Median Salary



Employment Prospects



Minimum Education Level

High School Diploma



Several years' experience required





Personality Traits



The range of earnings for music conductors and directors is enormous, and there is variation from one category of conductors to another. For instance, many conductors work only part time and make quite small yearly incomes for their conducting endeavors. Full-time church choir directors, for instance, earned salaries that averaged $21,172, ranging from a low of $11,000 to a high of $81,000, acc...

Work Environment

The working conditions of conductors range as widely as their earnings. The conductors of small musical groups at the community level may rehearse in a member's basement, a community center, a high school gym, or in a church or temple. Performances may be held in some of those same places. Lighting, heating or cooling, sound equipment, and musical instrument quality may all be less than adequat...


The operating cost for an orchestra continues to grow every year, and music organizations are in constant budget-trimming modes, as have been most other professional business organizations in the last decade. This has tended to affect growth in the orchestra field and, accordingly, the number of conducting jobs. Additionally, the overall number of orchestras in the United States has grown only ...