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How to Become a Music Director or Composer

Bachelor's or higher degree, plus work experience

Individuals interested in becoming a composer or a music director has the talent to write, play and conduct music. The training requirements and education for these occupations vary. For instance, a symphony orchestra conductor often requires a master's degree; however a choir director may only require a bachelor's degree. Those interested in writing music have no formal education requirements to meet. Composers and music directors often start their musical training while they are young with an interest in singing or learning to play an instrument.

Work Experience

Commonly, composers and music directors work as singers in choir, orchestra or a group setting prior to adapting a leadership role. This time is utilized to comprehend how to function within a group while mastering their instrument.

Education & Training

Individuals who wish to work as a classical composer or a conductor need a degree in music theory. In order to obtain entry to these programs, applicants typically need to audition or submit recordings.

Programs are available to teach students about music styles, conducting techniques, composing and history. The National Association of Schools of Music offers a variety of information on these programs. Individuals wishing to secure a career as a choir director often need a bachelor's degree.

Individuals interested in writing music do not require certain educational requirements. Composers often find employment by submitting recordings of their singers, compositions and music to movie studios and individual bands. Composers may promote themselves through online audio or video and personal websites to showcase their talent.


Those interested in classical music may attend fellowships and music camps to obtain more knowledge. Individual programs offer participants the chance to work with different lesson, classes and performance opportunities.

Skills and Qualities that will Help

Discipline: In order for the majority of composers and music directors to find employment, talent is not always enough. It is necessary to improve their style and techniques by continually practicing their craft.

Interpersonal skills: Music composers and directors need to work with musicians, recording studios and agents. Being respectful and friendly goes a long way. It is vital to be open to praise and constructive criticism in order to enjoy the benefits that come alongside being with other composers and music directors.

Leadership: Music composers and directors often guide singers and musicians by setting up musical arrangements and helping individuals achieve the best kind of sound possible.

Musical talent: Natural talent is a huge aspect involved in becoming a music composer or director.

Perseverance: Submitting compositions and attending auditions is time consuming. Frustration may set in as it can take multiple submissions and auditions to find a job. Music composers and directors require perseverance and determination to keep attending auditions and sending in work after facing numerous rejections.

Promotional skills: Music composers and directors must promote their performances via social media, word of mouth and local communities. Having excellent self promotion skills is important for acquiring more work opportunities and building a fan base.