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Career and Education Opportunities for Music Directors in Charleston, West Virginia

Charleston, West Virginia provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for music directors. The national trend for music directors 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.

The average wage in the general category of Musical Entertainment jobs is $10 per hour in West Virginia, and an average of $19 per hour or $40,353 per year nationwide. People working as music directors can fill a number of jobs, such as: orchestra leader, band master, and music minister.

There are seventeen schools of higher education in the Charleston area, including one within twenty-five miles of Charleston where you can get a degree to start your career as a music director. Given that the most common education level for music directors is a Bachelor's degree, 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 Charleston include:

  • 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.
  • 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

University of Charleston - Charleston, WV

University of Charleston, 2300 MacCorkle Avenue, SE, Charleston, WV 25304. University of Charleston is a small university located in Charleston, West Virginia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,431 students and an admission rate of 66%. University of Charleston has a bachelor's degree program in Music Management and Merchandising.

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: Charleston, West Virginia

Charleston, West Virginia
Charleston, West Virginia photo by Malepheasant

Charleston is situated in Kanawha County, West Virginia. It has a population of over 50,302, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Charleston, 84, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Charleston are priced at $268,400 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, thirty-four new homes were constructed in Charleston, up from twenty-seven the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Charleston are health care, educational services, and public administration. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, health care, and public administration. The average travel time to work is about 16 minutes. More than 32.6% of Charleston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 15.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Charleston is 7.7%, which is the same as West Virginia's average of 7.7%. About 16.7% of Charleston's residents are below the poverty line, which is better than the state average.

The percentage of Charleston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 34.5%, is less than both the national and state average. Starcher Baptist Church, Southeast Church of the Nazarene and South Ruffner Presbyterian Church are among the churches located in Charleston. The largest religious groups are the American Baptist Churches in the USA, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Charleston is home to the John F Kennedy Center and the Kanawha County Courthouse as well as Watt Powell Stadium and Ruffner Memorial Park. Shopping centers in the area include Patrick Street Plaza Shopping Center, Laidley Court Shopping Center and Plaza East Shopping Center. Visitors to Charleston can choose from Days Inn Charleston East WV, Motel 6 and Fairfield Inn Charleston for temporary stays in the area.