Music Directors and Composers


Salary Median (2020)


Projected Job Growth (2019-2029)

+4.9% (slower than the average)


What Music Directors and Composers Do

Conduct, direct, plan, and lead instrumental or vocal performances by musical artists or groups, such as orchestras, bands, choirs, and glee clubs; or create original works of music.

Other Job Titles Music Directors and Composers May Have

Choir Director, Conductor, Music Composer, Music Director

How Leaders Describe a Typical Day at Work

President & Music Supervisor ,

Commotion Records

What’s wonderful about my work is that no two days are alike. I read and breakdown scripts for music ideas, listen to new music sent my way to discover, review submitted music for select projects, interface with our record label distributor to organize releases…and of course, manage and negotiate any deals required.

Songwriter/Composer ,

Just Walden

In the morning, I like to spend some time on the piano just messing around, not necessarily with anything in mind, but sometimes these are the times when you make your best discoveries. Then inevitably, I get to the computer. I usually work on a mix about 2-3 hours at a time. And later in the day I like to record for a new track, either a piano part, vocals, guitars, or a drum beat. Then late at night I will probably return to a mix or something I recorded earlier.

Tasks & Responsibilities May Include

  • 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.
  • Apply elements of music theory to create musical and tonal structures, including harmonies and melodies.
  • Consider such factors as ensemble size and abilities, availability of scores, and the need for musical variety, to select music to be performed.

This page includes information from theO*NET 26.1 Databaseby the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under theCC BY 4.0license. O*NET® is a trademark of USDOL/ETA.