Depending on the type of ensemble, choral conductors may:
- conduct rehearsals and performances
- choose suitable musical repertoire
- work with instrumentalists and solo vocalists
- conduct auditions and recruit and educate performers
- plan rehearsal and performance schedules
- book rehearsal and performance venues, accompanists and instrumentalists
- work with clergy to select music for church services
- promote the ensemble, plan and implement fundraising activities, arrange tours and recordings
- co-ordinate parent and support groups.
Rehearsals comprise the major part of a choral conductor's work.
Choral conductors use conducting techniques to communicate their musical intentions, such as tempo, phrasing, tone, colour and volume. A conductor's preparation and enthusiasm contributes greatly to the success of rehearsals and to the quality of the final performance.
When choosing music, conductors consider:
- the size of the ensemble
- the interests and abilities of ensemble members
- providing variety and challenging repertoire to both audience and performers
- suitability for different performance situations
- the availability and skill level of accompanists and instrumentalists
- the availability of scores
- budget limitations.
Unless choral conductors have a manager or administrative assistant, they are usually responsible for administrative tasks such as:
- applying for grants and establishing a budget
- scheduling concerts to co-ordinate with other choral, symphonic and operatic engagements
- designing and printing programs and promotional materials
- ordering musical scores
- arranging the seating of the choir
- encouraging regular attendance and commitment from members
- organizing and enforcing uniforms.
They may enlist choir members to help with administrative functions.
Once the regular performance season is over, choirs often tour locally, nationally or internationally. Choral conductors may co-ordinate tours themselves or hire touring companies to arrange concert dates, venues, accommodation and transportation.