A choral director needs to be a skilled musician, and also a strong and competent leader. A formal education in music and demonstrated experience working with choral music, choirs or musicians are requirements for this job.
Choral directors, also known as choir or music directors, often manage various aspects of the vocal, and sometimes instrumental, performances of musical groups, such as choirs, ensembles, or glee clubs. Some of their tasks may include composing music, leading performances and performing administrative duties. Demonstrated ability and experience in choral music is generally required for this career. In addition to possessing musical skills, choral directors may need to complete a formal training program in the music field.
|Required Education||Formal education program related to music|
|Required Skills||Choral music experience and demonstrated ability in music directing|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||3% (all music directors and composers)*|
|Median Annual Salary (2015)*||$49,820 annually (all music directors and composers)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Most choral directors provide oversight and administration for the vocal music programs of various organizations, such as schools or churches. Choral directors often compose and lead performances of both vocal and instrumental music, depending on their organization's needs. Those working in public school systems may also be required to hold music education classes.
Responsibilities of choral directors often vary by setting and expectations of employers. Their major duties can include selecting music, conducting rehearsals, choosing individual singers for solos, and choosing accompanists. Choral directors may also be required to handle administrative tasks, such as maintaining a calendar of events for performances, recruiting new members, and ensuring the uniformity of group attire. Directors often need to work well with both adults and children, and are typically required to be able to read music and be familiar with conducting techniques.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the annual salaries of music directors and composers ranged between $21,070 and $101,150 as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov). Overall, directors and composers earned a median salary of $49,820, with those working for performing arts organizations earning a mean salary of $69,250 a year. Those employed by religious organizations earned a mean salary of $52,880 in May 2015, according to the BLS. Career fields related to choral directors can include instrumentalist, vocalist, conductor, music teacher, director of music ministries, or artistic director.
Successful choral directors are typically expert musicians who are accomplished in the field of music. Depending on their employer, directors may be required to have some type of formal training in a related major, such as music or music education. Many of these programs offer concentrations in church music or choral education. Coursework may include choral literature, ensemble conducting, hymnology, voice pedagogy, and children choirs.
Choral directors may be required to oversee all artistic and administrative aspects of a choir's operations, and they work in a variety of settings, from schools to churches. Those with formal musical training and extensive experience with choral music will have the best access to available jobs. Job opportunities in this field are predicted to grow slower than average through the year 2024.