USA Career Guide - Music Director and Composer

Education and Training of a Music Director and Composer in the US

  • Conductor for a symphony orchestra needs a master’s degree
  • A choir director needs a bachelor’s degree
  • Degree in music theory, music composition, or conducting is generally preferred for those who wants to work as a conductor or a classical composer. It is important to submit recordings for applying to these programs. The programs cover topics such as music history and styles, as well as composing and conducting techniques.

Related Instructional Programs for a Music Director in USA

  • Conducting
  • Music Management
  • Music Performance, General
  • Music Technology
  • Music Theory and Composition
  • Music
  • Musical Theater
  • Musicology and Ethnomusicology
  • Religious/Sacred Music
  • Voice and Opera


Pay of a Music Director and Composer in the US


Median annual wages, May 2010

Music Directors and Composers: $45,970
Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media Occupations: $42,870

(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics)


Industry Overview


Employment of music directors and composers is expected to grow by 10 percent from 2010 to 2020. The number of people attending musical performances, such as concerts, ballets, musical theater and symphonies is expected to increase from 2010 to 2020.

More music directors will be needed to lead orchestras for concerts and musical theater performances and to accompany ballet troupes and opera companies. With the increase in video shows and motion pictures, demand for composers is also on the rise. However, despite a positive growth indicated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is a very competitive market and many composers can experience long periods of unemployment.

Job Prospects of a Music Director and Composer

A music director and composer can work in:

  • Orchestras
  • Theater
  • Motion Picture
  • Television and Video Shows
  • Music Schools
  • Universities

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