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Music Directors and Composers Job Outlook

Employment of music directors and composers is expected to grow by 10 percent from 2010 to 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Growth is expected from increases in demand for musical performances.

From 2010 to 2020, the number of people attending musical performances, such as symphonies and concerts, and theatrical performances, such as ballets and musical theater, is expected to increase. More music directors will be needed to lead orchestras for concerts and musical theater performances and to accompany ballet troupes and opera companies.

In addition, there will likely be an increased need for composers to write original music and arrange known works for performance. Composers are also expected to be needed to write film scores and music for television and commercials.

However, growth is expected to be limited, because orchestras, opera companies, and other musical groups have difficulty getting funds. Some music groups are nonprofit organizations that rely on donations and corporate sponsorships, in addition to ticket sales, to fund their work. During economic downturns, these organizations may have difficulty finding enough money to cover their expenses.

Job Prospects

Despite expected growth, strong competition for jobs is anticipated because of the large number of people who are interested in entering this field. In particular, there will be considerable competition for full-time positions. Those with exceptional musical talent and abilities should have the best opportunities. Many music directors and composers experience periods of unemployment or work in another occupation and attend auditions or write music outside of working hours.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition