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Occupational Profile

Choral Conductor

Choral conductors organize, direct and conduct choral groups such as community and school choirs, church choirs, children's choirs, chamber choirs, college choral ensembles, opera choruses and other groups that specialize in particular periods or styles of music.

  • Avg. Salary $36,221.00
  • Avg. Wage $32.85
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook N/A
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Choir Director, Conductor, Music Director

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

28%
28%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Choral Conductor is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Conductors
NOC code: 5132.1
DIRECTIVE

Interest in instructing instrumentalists and performers to achieve rendition required; and in leading bands, orchestras and choirs during rehearsals and performances, in auditioning and selecting instrumental and vocal performers, and in supervising and co-ordinating activities of studio and company personnel

INNOVATIVE

Interest in synthesizing information to control balance, rhythm, dynamics and entries of instruments and voices to create interpretation of scores; and in planning and organizing musical productions, and in assigning parts to performers so the meaning and feeling of interpreted scores are expressed

METHODICAL

Interest in precision working to memorize musical scores; and in selecting music to accommodate talents of groups, and in positioning performers to obtain balance and harmony of instruments and voices

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Mar 20, 2017

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.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 20, 2017

When preparing scores and performing administrative tasks, choral conductors work alone. On other tasks, they work with choir members and others. Long hours are often required for rehearsals and when preparing new musical works for the group. Most rehearsals and performances are held in the evenings or weekends.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 20, 2017

Choral conductors need to possess:

  • musical talent
  • a genuine appreciation of each member's contribution to the group
  • self-confidence and leadership skills
  • good communication skills
  • creative problem-solving skills
  • the ability to work long hours and with frequently limited rehearsal schedules, in stressful and demanding settings.

They should enjoy taking charge of situations and developing innovative approaches to their work.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 20, 2017

Excellent musical ability and a thorough music education are essential. Choral conductors must be able to detect and correct errors related to pitch, rhythm, intonation, vocal tone and diction.

Formal training requirements for choral conductors vary greatly:

  • Church choir conductors may be congregation members who have musical experience and a suitable personality, or professional musicians who have degrees in conducting or organ performance. Community choir leaders come from equally varied backgrounds.
  • Conductors of school choirs may be teachers who have a special interest in music, or teachers who have degrees in both music and education.
  • Positions in colleges and universities often require a doctoral degree in choral conducting.
  • Conductors of professional groups are hired by audition and on the basis of their performance-history.

Choir Alberta offers resources, educational opportunities and professional development programs throughout the province for choir members, choral groups, conductors, organists and other interested individuals. These programs cover topics such as choral repertoire, conducting and rehearsal techniques and administration of choral groups.

Those wishing to teach music and conduct groups in schools may take any of the following educational routes:

  • a 4-year bachelor of education (B.Ed.) degree specializing in music
  • a 5-year combined bachelor of music/B.Ed. degree
  • a 3-year or 4-year bachelor of music degree followed by 2 or more additional years in a bachelor of education (after degree) program.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Ambrose University

Grande Prairie Regional College

Red Deer College

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 20, 2017

Choral conductors may work with:

  • elementary and secondary school choirs
  • university and college choirs
  • church choirs
  • professional choirs
  • amateur groups.

Working as a choral conductor in a school often involves teaching other areas of music, including band and music theory. In many schools, conductors teach other subjects as well as music.

University and college positions are limited in number and generally include teaching as well as conducting responsibilities. These positions usually require at least a master's degree in music and often a doctoral degree.

Church choral directors may have other duties such as being the church organist and planning the musical parts of worship services.

There are a limited number of professional choral groups in Canada that offer full-time employment. Exceptional choral conductors arer sometimes hired nationally or internationally as guest conductors for particular performances.

Many choral conductors who work with amateur groups must supplement their incomes by working in other occupations.

Choral conductors are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 5132: Conductors, composers and arrangers. In Alberta, 89% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook (PDF) in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions)
  • size of the occupation.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 20, 2017

Salaries for professional choir conductors and school choral directors vary depending on the individual's qualifications and experience. Church choir directors may be paid lower salaries or they may volunteer. Amateur community choirs usually give conductors honorariums.

Conductors, composers and arrangers
NOC code: 5132

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $0.00 $0.00 $29.46 $23.08
Overall $0.00 $0.00 $32.85 $25.27
Top $0.00 $0.00 $33.20 $25.27

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

D: Lowest Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lowest Reliability, represents a CV of more than 33.00% and/or if fewer than 10 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 25% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

28%
28%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

N/A

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

N/A

2015 Vacancy Rate

N/A
Related High School Subjects
  • Fine Arts
    • Music
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Fine Arts and Performing Arts
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 20, 2017

Choir Alberta website: www.choiralberta.ca

Cultural Human Resources Council website: www.culturalhrc.ca

 

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 20, 2017. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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