Last updated: 28 Feb 2023, 16:30

A conductor leads a group of musicians.

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The conductor is the leader of an orchestra or choir. They use specific gestures to direct individuals and sections of an orchestra or chorus through a piece of music in rehearsals and final performances. They instruct in aspects such as tempo, volume, tone and pitch to achieve the desired performance of the piece. Conductors may also be directors, or else work closely with directors to ensure the desired performance is achieved.

Work activities

  • Leading musicians in sectional rehearsals, full rehearsals and performances.
  • Training soloists.
  • Organising rehearsals and concerts.
  • Auditioning musicians and singers.

Work conditions

Travel: is a feature when working with a group which makes worldwide tours.
Working hours: can be long and unsociable.
Location: Some positions exist with local ensembles and choirs. Relocation to large cities may be necessary for more prestigious positions.

Entry requirements

Experience of playing/singing in orchestras, choral groups, church choirs and ensembles as well as formal education in music theory is essential. Some institutes and associations, such as the Association of Irish Choirs, offer courses or summer schools in conducting. Competition is high, so as much experience as possible is key.

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