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Career and Education Opportunities for Music Directors in Seattle, Washington

If you want to be a music director, the Seattle, Washington area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. Currently, 1,560 people work as music directors in Washington. This is expected to grow by 10% to 1,710 people by 2016. 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.

Income for music directors is about $26 hourly or $55,270 per year on average in Washington. Nationally, their income is about $19 per hour or $41,270 yearly. Compared with people working in the overall category of Musical Entertainment, people working as music directors in Washington earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Musical Entertainment nationally. People working as music directors can fill a number of jobs, such as: music pastor, maestro, and orchestra leader.

The Seattle area is home to sixty-five schools of higher education, including six within twenty-five miles of Seattle where you can get a degree as a music director. 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

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 Seattle 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

Shoreline Community College - Shoreline, WA

Shoreline Community College, 16101 Greenwood Ave N, Shoreline, WA 98133-5696. Shoreline Community College is a medium sized college located in Shoreline, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,823 students. Shoreline Community College has 2 areas of study related to Music Director. They are:

  • Music Management and Merchandising, associate's degree which graduated 10 students in 2008.
  • Music, Other Specialties, less than one year and associate's degree which graduated thirteen and twenty-three students respectively in 2008.

Northwest University - Kirkland, WA

Northwest University, 5520 108th Ave NE, Kirkland, WA 98083-0579. Northwest University is a small university located in Kirkland, Washington. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,310 students and an admission rate of 79%. Northwest University has 2 areas of study related to Music Director. They are:

  • Religious/Sacred Music, bachelor's degree which graduated 3 students in 2008.
  • Music Theory and Composition, bachelor's degree which graduated 11 students in 2008.

University of Puget Sound - Tacoma, WA

University of Puget Sound, 1500 N Warner, Tacoma, WA 98416. University of Puget Sound is a small university located in Tacoma, Washington. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,829 students and an admission rate of 65%. University of Puget Sound has 2 areas of study related to Music Director. They are:

  • Music Performance, bachelor's degree which graduated 5 students in 2008.
  • Music Management and Merchandising, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.

Cornish College of the Arts - Seattle, WA

Cornish College of the Arts, 1000 Lenora Street, Seattle, WA 98121. Cornish College of the Arts is a small college located in Seattle, Washington. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 815 students and an admission rate of 78%. Cornish College of the Arts has a bachelor's degree program in Music Performance which graduated twenty-one students in 2008.

University of Washington-Seattle Campus - Seattle, WA

University of Washington-Seattle Campus, 1400 NE Campus Parkway, Seattle, WA 98195-4550. University of Washington-Seattle Campus is a large university located in Seattle, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 39,675 students and an admission rate of 61%. University of Washington-Seattle Campus has 6 areas of study related to Music Director. They are:

  • Music Performance, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated eight, two, and one students respectively in 2008.
  • Music Theory and Composition, doctor's degree which graduated 2 students in 2008.
  • Musicology and Ethnomusicology, bachelor's degree and master's degree which graduated one and four students respectively in 2008.
  • Conducting, master's degree and doctor's degree which graduated two and three students respectively in 2008.
  • Voice and Opera, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated two, seven, and four students respectively in 2008.
  • Music, Other Specialties, master's degree which graduated 3 students in 2008.

Trinity Lutheran College - Everett, WA

Trinity Lutheran College, 2802 Wetmore Ave., Everett, WA 98206. Trinity Lutheran College is a small college located in Everett, Washington. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 91 students and an admission rate of 60%. Trinity Lutheran College has a bachelor's degree program in Religious/Sacred Music which graduated two 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: Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington photo by Dschwen

Seattle is located in King County, Washington. It has a population of over 598,541, which has grown by 6.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Seattle, 126, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Seattle are valued at $206,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred ninety-five new homes were built in Seattle, down from seven hundred seventy-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Seattle are health care, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 47.2% of Seattle residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Seattle is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.

The percentage of Seattle residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Seattle is home to the Berth 5 and the Akli Point Lighthouse as well as Lincoln Park and Myrtle Edwards Park. Shopping centers in the area include Lake City Shopping Center, Westwood Village Shopping Center and Oak Tree Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Seattle can choose from A-1 Motel, Arlington Suites and Marriott Sea-Tac Airport for temporary stays in the area.