Music directors typically do the following:
Music directors lead orchestras, choirs, and other musical groups. They ensure that the musicians play with one coherent sound, balancing the melody, timing, rhythm, and volume. They also give feedback to musicians and section leaders so that they can achieve the sound and style they want for the piece.
Music directors may work with a variety of orchestras and musical groups, including church choirs, youth orchestras, and high school or college bands, choirs, or orchestras. Some work with orchestras that accompany dance and opera companies.
Composers typically do the following:
Composers write music for a variety of musical groups and users. Some work in a particular style of music, such as classical or jazz. They also may write for musicals, operas, or other types of theatrical productions.
Some composers write scores for movies or television; others write jingles for commercials. Many songwriters focus on composing music for audiences of popular music.
Some composers use instruments to help them as they write music. Others use software that allows them to hear a piece without musicians.
Some music directors and composers give private music lessons to children and adults. Others work as music teachers in elementary, middle, or high schools. For more information, see the profiles on kindergarten and elementary school teachers, middle school teachers, and high school teachers.
For more information about careers in music, see the profile on musicians and singers.