If you are passionate about music and think you would enjoy working closely with musicians and singers, then becoming a music conductor or producer might be just up your lane! Both these professions are meant for those who love the world of music and want to spend as much time as possible in it.
Conductors, also known as music directors, work with orchestras or other musical groups. Their job encompasses a range of duties that take them from rehearsal spaces to the stage. A conductor is the one in charge of selecting musical arrangements, holding auditions, choosing musicians, conducting rehearsals for performances, and publicly leading the group during a performance. In short, as a conductor, your role would be pivotal to the success of a performance. You may work at a musical theatre, opera house, university, or even a church. The job can entail a great deal of travel and working on weekends. Preparing for a performance can be a grueling affair for conductors, who need to make key decisions about musicians, sound, and the interpretation of the piece. Thus, a genuine interest in music is a pre-requisite.
How does one go about becoming a conductor? A comprehensive understanding of music, theory, and performance are essential. A majority of conductors learn how to play a musical instrument in their early years, helping them hone their understanding of pitch, rhythm, and sound. After high school, you should consider getting a bachelor’s degree in a music-related field, such as music theory or composition. This may be sufficient for you to enter the field. However, many top employers do look for a master’s degree, either in orchestral conducting or in a broader music program with a focus on music conducting.
Becoming a music producer, on the other hand, is less dependent on formal education. While music producers have a myriad of responsibilities, their primary goal is to make sure their artist/band achieves the best possible recorded version of their music. As a producer, you need to know how to get the best out of music studio equipment and understand audio recording techniques. Staying up to date with the latest technologies and trends in the field is a big part of the job. The most successful music producers are versatile, and can work across various genres of music. They also liaise with industry professionals and record labels to ensure good exposure for their artists.
Many producers begin their careers by working with musicians or bands in their local area, while other start out as musicians themselves. This kind of real-world experience is integral in the music production business. If you do not live in a city with a vibrant music scene, you may even consider moving to one to enhance your learning and networking opportunities. While not strictly required, you can enhance your technical know-how by studying audio engineering or music theory/composition at a conservatory or university. Reputed bachelor’s degree programs are offered by the Berklee School of Music, Full Sail University, International Academy of Design and Technology, and McNally Smith College of Music. For diploma certificates, you can consider applying to the Conservatory of Recording Arts or Institute of Audio Research.