Music directors are responsible for overseeing orchestras, choirs, and other ensembles. They often arrange and direct musical numbers, and direct musicians and vocalists during concerts, plays, and other performances. These professionals work in a variety of settings, including schools, churches, orchestra halls, and movie and radio studios.
A school music director is typically in charge of the school band, orchestra, choir, and other musical ensembles. The director chooses musical pieces for practices and performances, and coaches students in musical technicalities, theory, and expression. At a high school, college, or university, this person may also help coordinate marching band drills or dances for choral or musical theater performances.
Churches of all types and sizes often employ music directors to choose songs for church services, plays, and other events. A music director in a small church often doubles as the main musical performer, usually playing piano or other instruments during worship services. He or she may also act as a conductor and choir director for the church’s choir or other vocal groups.
Orchestra halls and other musical theater venues often have one or more musical directors on staff to select, play, and coach musical numbers for performances. A music director that works for a theater company may also assist with auditions and rehearsals. He or she is also usually responsible for overseeing and conducting actual performances.
A music director working at a movie or radio studio has a very different job than a director who is more concerned with live performances. These directors often assist in obtaining the legal rights to use musical pieces and songs in the film or on the radio. They may also help coordinate appearances by musicians and vocalists, and assist the sound director with coordinating the overall auditory flow of the movie or radio show.
In some instances, music directors also teach private voice or instrument lessons. Students may be individual musicians and performers, who want help to improve their overall musical techniques. Private sessions may be included as part of a director’s employment compensation package, or the director may charge an extra fee for his or her services.
In any setting, a music director’s main responsibility is working with the performers and other members of the management or teaching team to make sure rehearsals and performances go smoothly. Every business or institution has its own expectations of a music director, and his or her required duties. Some settings that involve large groups of performers employ several music directors to work together, to manage the group efficiently.