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Career and Education Opportunities for Music Directors in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Grand Rapids, Michigan provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for music directors. About 1,410 people are currently employed as music directors in Michigan. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 11% to about 1,570 people employed. This is better than the national trend for music directors, which sees this job pool growing by about 10.0% over the next eight years. Music directors generally direct and conduct instrumental or vocal performances by musical groups.

Income for music directors is about $20 hourly or $42,530 annually on average in Michigan. Nationally, their income is about $19 hourly or $41,270 annually. Earnings for music directors are better than earnings in the general category of Musical Entertainment in Michigan and better than general Musical Entertainment category earnings nationally. Music directors work in a variety of jobs, including: music instructor, artistic director, and band leader.

The Grand Rapids area is home to nineteen schools of higher education, including seven within twenty-five miles of Grand Rapids where you can get a degree as a music director. Given that the most common education level for music directors is a Bachelor's degree, it will take about four years to learn to be a music director if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Music Director

Music Director video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

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 Grand Rapids 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

Grand Rapids Community College - Grand Rapids, MI

Grand Rapids Community College, 143 Bostwick Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503-3295. Grand Rapids Community College is a large college located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,403 students. Grand Rapids Community College has 2 areas of study related to Music Director. They are:

  • Music Performance, associate's degree which graduated 2 students in 2008.
  • Music, Other Specialties, associate's degree which graduated 3 students in 2008.

Kuyper College - Grand Rapids, MI

Kuyper College, 3333 East Beltline N.E., Grand Rapids, MI 49525-9781. Kuyper College is a small college located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 322 students and an admission rate of 86%. Kuyper College has a bachelor's degree program in Religious/Sacred Music which graduated three students in 2008.

Grace Bible College - Wyoming, MI

Grace Bible College, 1011 Aldon SW, Wyoming, MI 49509. Grace Bible College is a small college located in Wyoming, Michigan. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 177 students and an admission rate of 65%. Grace Bible College has 2 areas of study related to Music Director. They are:

  • Music Performance, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • Music, Other Specialties, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.

Aquinas College - Grand Rapids, MI

Aquinas College, 1607 Robinson Rd SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506-1799. Aquinas College is a small college located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,159 students and an admission rate of 82%. Aquinas College has 2 areas of study related to Music Director. They are:

  • Religious/Sacred Music, associate's degree and bachelor's degree.
  • Music Performance, bachelor's degree.

Cornerstone University - Grand Rapids, MI

Cornerstone University, 1001 E Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525-5897. Cornerstone University is a small university located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,759 students and an admission rate of 75%. Cornerstone University has a bachelor's degree program in Music Performance which graduated eight students in 2008.

Calvin College - Grand Rapids, MI

Calvin College, 3201 Burton SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546. Calvin College is a small college located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,171 students and an admission rate of 94%. Calvin College has a bachelor's degree program in Music Performance which graduated one student in 2008.

Hope College - Holland, MI

Hope College, 141 E 12th St, Holland, MI 49423. Hope College is a small college located in Holland, Michigan. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,238 students and an admission rate of 82%. Hope College has 2 areas of study related to Music Director. They are:

  • Music Performance, bachelor's degree.
  • Voice and Opera, bachelor's degree which graduated 2 students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

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: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Grand Rapids, Michigan
Grand Rapids, Michigan photo by Grguy2011

Grand Rapids is located in Kent County, Michigan. It has a population of over 193,396, which has shrunk by 2.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Grand Rapids, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Grand Rapids cost $98,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, forty-three new homes were built in Grand Rapids, down from ninety-two the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Grand Rapids are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, transportation equipment, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 19 minutes. More than 23.8% of Grand Rapids residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.0%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Grand Rapids is 15.4%, which is greater than Michigan's average of 14.3%.

The percentage of Grand Rapids residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 52.9%, is more than both the national and state average. Church of Jesus Christ, Immanuel Church and Trinity Church are among the churches located in Grand Rapids. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Christian Reformed Church in North America and the Reformed Church in America.

Grand Rapids is home to the Kent Country Club and the Walker Juvenile Court as well as Comstock Riverside Park and Richmond Park. Visitors to Grand Rapids can choose from Hampton Inn Grand Rapids, Hampton Inn Grand Rapids/North- Mi and Hampton Inn Fax for temporary stays in the area.