Discover your career path

Music Conductor

Lead an orchestra in playing pieces of music.

What does a Music Conductor do?

The job of a Music Conductor is to lead a musical group, be it an orchestra, band, choir or other, through a performance. You’re the person standing in front of a music group as the Music Conductor, waving the thin white stick (known as a baton) that keeps them all playing together.

Although the night of a performance is what most people envision when they imagine the job of a Music Conductor, in reality your job starts months earlier. You start by choosing the music the group will perform by looking at different options, and keeping in mind ability level and the mood or purpose of the concert. If you’re a Music Conductor working on a movie or television soundtrack, your choices will be made for you and you’ll only have to make sure you’re familiar with the piece before you start rehearsals.

Once you have your music you’ll study the score, deciding how to interpret the piece before getting your music group together and setting up rehearsals. Sometimes, especially for well known groups, you’ll be in charge of auditions to decide who’ll perform. Other Conductors, like those at middle schools, don’t usually have to do this step and instead move right into rehearsals.

You lead rehearsals, going over difficult parts with individual players and working to cleanly blend instrument sounds together. After enough practicing it’s show time and you’ll arrive, well dressed, holding your baton, ready to lead your Musicians through that night’s performance.