Career and Education Opportunities for Music Directors in Birmingham, Alabama
Music directors can find many career and educational opportunities in the Birmingham, Alabama area. About 1,000 people are currently employed as music directors in Alabama. By 2016, this is expected to grow 26% to 1,260 people employed. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for music directors are expected to grow by about 10.0%. Music directors generally direct and conduct instrumental or vocal performances by musical groups.
The average wage in the general category of Musical Entertainment jobs is $11 per hour or $30,880 per year in Alabama, and an average of $19 per hour or $40,353 per year nationwide. Jobs in this field include: music minister, maestro, and music ministries director.
There are two schools within twenty-five miles of Birmingham where you can study to be a music director, among fifteen schools of higher education total in the Birmingham area. Music directors usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so you can expect to spend about four years training to become a music director if you already have a high school diploma.
CAREER DESCRIPTION: Music Director
In general, music directors direct and conduct instrumental or vocal performances by musical groups.
Music directors direct groups at rehearsals and live or recorded performances in order to produce desired effects such as tonal and harmonic balance dynamics and tempo. They also consider such factors as ensemble size and abilities, availability of scores, and the need for musical variety, so as to decide on music to be performed. Equally important, music directors have to position members within groups to obtain balance among instrumental or vocal sections. They are often called upon to formulate and schedule rehearsals and performances, and arrange details such as locations and instrumentalists. They are expected to audition and decide on performers for musical presentations. Finally, music directors talk with clergy to decide on music for church services.
Every day, music directors are expected to be able to note differences between sounds as they change tone and volume. They need to articulate ideas and problems.
It is important for music directors to meet with soloists and concertmasters to consider and get ready for performances. They are often called upon to assign and review staff work in such areas as scoring and copying music, and vocal coaching. They also perform administrative tasks such as applying for grants and designing and printing programs and other promotional materials. They are sometimes expected to transcribe musical compositions and melodic lines to adapt them to a particular group, or to generate a particular musical style. Somewhat less frequently, music directors are also expected to use gestures to shape the music being played, communicating desired tempo and other performance aspects.
They also have to be able to study scores to learn the music in detail, and to optimize interpretations And finally, they sometimes have to audition and decide on performers for musical presentations.
Like many other jobs, music directors must be able to take change and lead and be reliable.
Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Birmingham include:
- Actor. Play parts in stage, television, or motion picture productions for entertainment, information, or instruction. Interpret serious or comic role by speech, gesture, and body movement to entertain or inform audience. May dance and sing.
- Art Director. Formulate design concepts and presentation approaches, and direct workers engaged in art work, layout design, and copy writing for visual communications media, such as magazines, books, and packaging.
- Artistic Director. Audition and interview performers to select most appropriate talent for parts in stage, television, or motion picture productions.
- Choreographer. Create and teach dance. May direct and stage presentations.
- Dancer. Perform dances. May also sing or act.
- Interpreter. Translate or interpret written, oral, or sign language text into another language for others.
- Music Composer. Write and transcribe musical scores.
- Musician. Play one or more musical instruments in recital, in accompaniment, or as members of an orchestra, band, or other musical group.
- Singer. Sing songs on stage, radio, or motion pictures.
- Writer. Create original written works.
EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Music Director Training
Birmingham Southern College - Birmingham, AL
Birmingham Southern College, 900 Arkadelphia Road, Birmingham, AL 35254. Birmingham Southern College is a small college located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,458 students and an admission rate of 69%. Birmingham Southern College has 3 areas of study related to Music Director. They are:
- Music Theory and Composition, bachelor's degree.
- Voice and Opera, bachelor's degree which graduated 2 students in 2008.
- Music, Other Specialties, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.
Samford University - Birmingham, AL
Samford University, 800 Lakeshore Drive, Birmingham, AL 35229-2240. Samford University is a small university located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,469 students and an admission rate of 89%. Samford University has 4 areas of study related to Music Director. They are:
- Religious/Sacred Music, bachelor's degree and master's degree which graduated two and two students respectively in 2008.
- Music Performance, bachelor's degree and master's degree which graduated thirteen and one students respectively in 2008.
- Music Theory and Composition, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.
- Voice and Opera, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.
AmSAT Certified Teacher: Certified Alexander Technique Teachers have completed a 3 year, 1600 hour course at an AmSAT certified teacher training center.
For more information, see the American Society for the Alexander Technique website.
LOCATION INFORMATION: Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham is located in Jefferson County, Alabama. It has a population of over 228,798, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Birmingham, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Birmingham cost $187,300 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, one hundred thirty-two new homes were built in Birmingham, down from two hundred thirty-two the previous year.
The top three industries for women in Birmingham are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 24 minutes. More than 18.5% of Birmingham residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.6%, is lower than the state average.
The unemployment rate in Birmingham is 12.5%, which is greater than Alabama's average of 10.7%.
The percentage of Birmingham residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.1%, is more than both the national and state average. Williams Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Westminister Presbyterian Church and West End Methodist Church are all churches located in Birmingham. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.
Birmingham is home to the Mineral Park Municipal Golf Course and the Cooper Green Golf Course as well as Avondale Mills Park and Smithfield Historic District. Shopping malls in the area include Acipco Shopping Center, Altadena Square Shopping Center and Parkway East Huffman Shopping Center. Visitors to Birmingham can choose from Marriott Hotel Birmingham, Rime Garden Extended Stay Suites and Studioplus for temporary stays in the area.