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How Do I Become the Conductor of an Orchestra?

Most conductors know how to play the piano.
An orchestra conductor is responsible for leading musicians through rehearsals and performances.
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  • Written By: Alex Tree
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Images By: Scalaphotography, Oliver.wolf
  • Last Modified Date: 16 October 2014
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You can become the conductor of an orchestra by learning about many different types of instruments, getting a degree in music, and apprenticing under a music conductor. It is important to have a strong interest in music and a vast knowledge of instruments and how they work. Getting a degree in music or at least studying a related field helps develop a deeper understanding of music. In addition, you can get hands-on experience and a mentor by becoming an assistant or apprentice conductor.

To become the conductor of an orchestra, you need to be familiar with a lot of instruments. It is not necessary to know how to play every instrument though. The important thing is to know the capabilities of an instrument and its musician. Most conductors know how to play the piano and at least one string instrument. In general, this type of education often begins at a young age, which is when many people develop and hone their interests and abilities in music.

Potential conductors usually attend higher education to study music on an advanced level. Instrument performance, music theory, and conducting are just a few courses regularly taken in order to become the conductor of an orchestra. These classes help you develop a better understanding of music overall, not just how to play an instrument.

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Some areas of the world have schools specifically for conductors. These schools are very niche, so there aren't many of them. If you have one in your area, this is a great place to start for more education on how to become the conductor of an orchestra. It is also a way of finding people who are willing to take on an apprentice or at least contacts who can introduce you to someone who might be interested in apprenticing.

After completing your higher education or even during higher education, seek a music conductor to study under. To eventually become the conductor of an orchestra, many people become an apprentice to someone who is already successful in the field. This usually leads to hands-on experience, but at the least, you will get to see a music conductor perform on a routine basis.

Besides skills like music theory, you will need strong communication skills, the ability to clearly gesture, and good leadership abilities. These skills are essential in actually conducting and giving positive criticism. A conductor may also have other responsibilities depending on the type of band he or she conducts.

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