Musical director duties

Written by jennifer vanbaren | 13/05/2017
Musical director duties
A musical director guides vocalists and instrumentalists with their parts in a musical. (Southern Stock/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

A musical director is a person responsible for the all the vocal and instrumental components within a musical or play. The duties of the musical director may vary by musical, but almost always include several key duties. The musical director auditions musicians, consults with the theatre director, and is responsible for all musical components of the musical. This person is responsible for the overall quality and integrity of all musical aspects.


A musical director is typically responsible for holding auditions for parts in a musical. The director recruits musicians for specific parts if necessary. He also ensures that recruits and musicians are within the allowable budget for the musical. He works with the vocal director in hiring musicians for each part. Musical directors sometimes direct plays in places such as schools, community centres, universities and private theatres.

Consulting with Director

A theatre director leads and directs the musical itself. One of a musical director's main duties is consulting and working with the director. The musical director works individually with the choreographer and the cast members on vocals. The musical director must consult the theatre director with questions about the musical or to work out fine details of the music, such as interpretations of specific parts of the musical. The musical director works with the theatre director determining when practices are, what cast members need to be there, and what they expect to accomplish at each practice.


A musical director is ultimately responsible for the vocals and instrumental parts of the musical. The musical director is responsible for studying music prior to the start of practices. He must know the music in detail himself before he teaches it to the cast. This includes rehearsing music with singers and instrument cast members. This also includes changing the score if necessary to accommodate the ranges and talents of cast members. The musical director teaches the cast the songs, coaches cast members, and directs the orchestra or band. He also meets individually with cast members for private coaching sessions. The director coordinates these private lessons to assist cast members in learning their parts correctly.

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