A music conductor is responsible for planning, directing, and conducting a musical performance by an orchestra or choral group. A bachelor’s degree in music and significant experience with a wide variety of musical instruments is typically required to become a music conductor. Performing experience and basic administrative skills are also needed for this profession. Once trained for this position, you can usually find employment with an orchestra, band, or choir.
Most conductors begin their career by completing a bachelor’s degree program in music. These programs typically provide instruction in subjects such as music theory, music interpretation, and conducting, as well as instrument and voice performance. Coursework in control, tempo, and dynamics should also be completed before you become a music conductor. In addition to their college studies, conductors often participate in an internship under the guidance of an experienced conductor to fully learn the various elements of conducting used in this profession. You may also need to complete a master’s degree in this field to be hired by a well-known organization.
Along with your formal education and internship, you must also be able to play a variety of instruments to become a music conductor. Many conductors begin their musical training at an early age and continue until they have learned to play each type of instrument. In order to properly conduct a band or orchestra, you must fully understand each instrument and its capabilities. The primary goal of a conductor is to produce music that closely matches the intent of the composer. Music conductors usually spend time as a member of an orchestra or choir to learn all aspects of this field.
You will also need to have a certain amount of performance experience to become a music conductor. The best way to gain this experience is by performing before a live audience as a member of an orchestra or choir. Most conductors are also required to possess basic administrative skills in order to hire and manage a large group of musicians. A conductor is usually responsible for holding auditions and arranging fundraising events, as well as various marketing and grant-writing duties.
After you have become a music conductor, employment can usually be found with an orchestra, band, or choir. Although the number of full-time positions is somewhat limited, conductors with sufficient training can often find work at high schools, colleges, and community theaters, as well as conservatories and regional symphonies. You might also consider working as an interim or guest conductor if steady employment is unavailable.