Music, Movies, & TV

Becoming a Music Director

Mar 12, 2023 ByClaire Miles

Becoming a music director is an exciting and ambitious undertaking. Depending on the size of your operation, whether in film, television, or live theater, becoming a music director requires an understanding of many disciplines. From hiring musicians to reading book scores to acting as a liaison between performers and management staff, those aspiring to pursue this career pathway must know precisely what they are signing up for. Here are some necessary steps one must take before becoming a music director. It is important to have a strong background in music and conducting before seeking a Music Director position. Learning the basics of putting together a string orchestra, conducting a choir or band, scheduling practices/concerts, and managing budgets are just some of the skills required for this demanding and challenging career. Experiences in another field, such as teaching, customer service, marketing, or business, are essential for any successful Music Director. Being able to bring aspects of your previous job into the music world will show that you can handle the stress and pressures of leading an entire ensemble.

One of the best ways to build a career as a music director is to network widely. Make connections with colleagues, professors, and other professionals in the field and build alliances that will help you grow and succeed. Be proactive about seeking opportunities and building relationships with people who can help you achieve your goals.

Mixed race conductor pointing baton

Getty Images/Tetra images/Eric Raptosh Photography

A successful Music Director also knows how to manage a team and has excellent organizational skills. Keeping schedules on track, handling egos well, getting reviews from staff and members, scheduling rehearsals/concerts/auditions, etc., are all necessary in this demanding industry. The final piece of being a successful Music Director can compromise on specific issues. No one wants sound quality sacrificed to save time or money on rehearsal costs; likewise, no one wants an underperforming group of musicians who could have had a fantastic performance with better preparation and organization.