What does a Musical Director do?

A Musical Director also known as a Conductor leads a cast, orchestra, choir and other musical groups during a performance. They select musical arrangements and compositions to be performed and study musical scores to prepare for rehearsals. 

Search our training, experience and funding opportunities here.

What are the main responsibilities of a Musical Director?

  • Attend creative team meetings with the Director and Choreographer to develop the overall vision of the show
  • Study the script and music
  • Participate in auditions, evaluate the vocal abilities of all auditionees and offer suggestions on which individual might be best suited to each role based on vocal performance
  • Teach music to the cast and musicians
  • Attend rehearsals
  • Lead regular warm-ups with the cast and musicians before shows
  • Normally serves as the conductor during live performances, directing the orchestra 

What qualifications do I need to be a Musical Director?

A college degree in music or musical theatre is recommended for this career. Courses in composition, orchestration and conducting would be beneficial as well and training in musicianship, voice and acting. A Musical Director must be able to sight read music, write music and they are expected to play the piano.

Search our training opportunities to become a Musical Director here.

What skills do I need to be a Musical Director?

To be a Musical Director you must have a creative flare and be able to work with a variety of different people in different departments. You also must be able to sing (well enough to teach singers), play the piano, and understand other musical instrument as well as being able to read music. 

What does a career in musical directing look like?

Musical Directors can work both permanently and in freelance positions. To work with recording artists on touring concerts or with an opera or orchestra company, you must have years of experience as this is a senior-level management role. You can develop your craft through the use of apprenticeships, however many start with community theatre, eventually moving onto regional theatre and professional work. 

Read our blog 'How to become a freelancer in theatre' here.

How much can I earn as a Musical Director?

The average salary for a Musical Director is around £46,000 per year. 

You can also search for Musical Director positions using The Stage Jobs website here.



Photo: Shutterstock

Published: 23 October 2019


Get personalised theatre opportunities

From an organisation? Share your opportunity

You can list your training, outreach or funding opportunities for free and within minutes. Set up an account now and we’ll start helping you reach the people you need…
Read me aloud