Music Directors and Composer Career

Job Description: 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.


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Music Directors and Composer Career

What Music Directors and Composers do:

  • Apply elements of music theory to create musical and tonal structures, including harmonies and melodies.
  • Determine voices, instruments, harmonic structures, rhythms, tempos, and tone balances required to achieve the effects desired in a musical composition.
  • Experiment with different sounds, and types and pieces of music, using synthesizers and computers as necessary to test and evaluate ideas.
  • Fill in details of orchestral sketches, such as adding vocal parts to scores.
  • Transcribe ideas for musical compositions into musical notation, using instruments, pen and paper, or computers.
  • Plan and schedule rehearsals and performances, and arrange details such as locations, accompanists, and instrumentalists.
  • Transpose music from one voice or instrument to another to accommodate particular musicians.
  • Direct groups at rehearsals and live or recorded performances to achieve desired effects such as tonal and harmonic balance dynamics, rhythm, and tempo.
  • Use gestures to shape the music being played, communicating desired tempo, phrasing, tone, color, pitch, volume, and other performance aspects.
  • Position members within groups to obtain balance among instrumental or vocal sections.
  • Consider such factors as ensemble size and abilities, availability of scores, and the need for musical variety, to select music to be performed.
  • Explore and develop musical ideas based on sources such as imagination or sounds in the environment.
  • Study scores to learn the music in detail, and to develop interpretations.
  • Write musical scores for orchestras, bands, choral groups, or individual instrumentalists or vocalists, using knowledge of music theory and of instrumental and vocal capabilities.
  • Rewrite original musical scores in different musical styles by changing rhythms, harmonies, or tempos.
  • Arrange music composed by others, changing the music to achieve desired effects.
  • Copy parts from scores for individual performers.
  • Audition and select performers for musical presentations.
  • Collaborate with other colleagues, such as copyists, to complete final scores.
  • Perform administrative tasks such as applying for grants, developing budgets, negotiating contracts, and designing and printing programs and other promotional materials.
  • Create original musical forms, or write within circumscribed musical forms such as sonatas, symphonies, or operas.
  • Confer with producers and directors to define the nature and placement of film or television music.
  • Study films or scripts to determine how musical scores can be used to create desired effects or moods.
  • Write music for commercial mediums, including advertising jingles or film soundtracks.
  • Transcribe musical compositions and melodic lines to adapt them to a particular group, or to create a particular musical style.
  • Assign and review staff work in such areas as scoring, arranging, and copying music, and vocal coaching.
  • Meet with soloists and concertmasters to discuss and prepare for performances.
  • Coordinate and organize tours, or hire touring companies to arrange concert dates, venues, accommodations, and transportation for longer tours.

What work activities are most important?

Importance Activities

Thinking Creatively - Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships - Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Scheduling Work and Activities - Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Interacting With Computers - Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

Communicating with Persons Outside Organization - Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work - Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People - Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.

Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Performing for or Working Directly with the Public - Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.

Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others - Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

Developing and Building Teams - Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.

Performing Administrative Activities - Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.

Developing Objectives and Strategies - Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.

Processing Information - Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Monitoring and Controlling Resources - Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.

Analyzing Data or Information - Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

Coaching and Developing Others - Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.

Training and Teaching Others - Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates - Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.

Selling or Influencing Others - Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.

Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others - Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others - Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.

Provide Consultation and Advice to Others - Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.

Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information - Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.

Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards - Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

Holland Code Chart for a Music Directors and Composer