Overview

Being a conductor can be challenging and requires a deep understanding of musical theory beyond simple appreciation. Among many guidelines laid out by Sir Henry Wood in 1945, a background in musical performance is a must, whether that is through obtaining a formal musical education at a university, or being educated through private instruction preferably by an established musical director.

It is also recommended that one interested in becoming a conductor also be proficient with at least one musical instrument, but familiar with a variety of others; the piano and a string instrument being the most preferable. A musical director must understand the elements of musical composition from the ground up, including tempo, harmony, dynamics, and theory.

The position requires a considerable amount of skill beyond musical comprehension as well. Firm leadership is required to keep the ensemble on cue and working together to convey the musical piece as a unified whole. Being able to quickly read and process sheet music at a glance is vital during the execution of a performance. Physically being able to follow through gestures quickly and consistently will help the artists understand how to pace and shape their individual responses. Also, the ability to hear the group in its entirety, but to still be able to pick out the pitch of individual instruments is very important to keeping the overall harmony.

Even before the final performance, a conductor must be able to direct musicians throughout the rehearsals and give constructive criticism to ensure the best possible outcome. No matter the venue or title, the conductor is to be the leader of a group, applying personal understanding and expertise of musical composition as a whole to those who are familiar with only specific elements of its performance.

What are Conductors like?

Artistic

Based on our pool of users, conductors tend to be predominately artistic people. Take our career test to see what career interest category best describes you.

Conductors by Strongest Interest Archetype

Based on sample of 109 Sokanu users

Are Conductors happy?

77%Happy

Conductors rank highly among careers. Overall they rank in the 77th percentile of careers for satisfaction scores.

Conductor Career Satisfaction by Dimension

Percentile among all careers

Education History of Conductors

The most common degree held by conductors is Music. 25% of conductors had a degree in music before becoming conductors. That is over 31 times the average across all careers. Art And Music Education graduates are the second most common among conductors, representing 8% of conductors in the Sokanu user base, which is 33.5 times the average.

Conductor Education History

This table shows which degrees people earn before becoming a Conductor, compared to how often those degrees are obtained by people who earn at least one post secondary degree.

Degree % of conductors % of population Multiple
Music 25.5% 0.8% 31.4×
Art And Music Education 8.2% 0.2% 33.5×
English Literature 2.7% 4.9% 0.6×

Conductor Education Levels

37% of conductors have a doctorate degree. 32% of conductors have a bachelor's degree.

No education 0%
High school diploma 1%
Associate's degree 7%
Bachelor's degree 32%
Master's degree 23%
Doctorate degree 37%

How to Become a Conductor

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