Should a Musical Director Know How to Play All Instruments

Should a Musical Director Know How to Play All Instruments

The musical director plays an essential role in an orchestra, choir, cast, and other musical groups during performances. Some of their tasks include choosing musical arrangements, learning musical scores, preparing the group for rehearsals, and leading regular warm-ups. However, people still argue that musical directors should also know how to play all the instruments in an orchestra aside from their default tasks. How and why is that so?

Why Should a Music Director Learn How to Play Certain Instruments

A music director needs to master certain instruments for some important reasons.

It opens you to different avenues of learning that surround music

Directing an orchestra or any musical group would be hard if you are not one of them. This means that you need to understand the basics and complexities of music when it comes to playing instruments. If a music director knows how to play certain instruments, then he can direct and manage the group more effectively because he knows where the difficulties and challenges should be met. Likewise, music is a pretty broad thing, and each instrument requires a specific knowledge bank so you can make the most out of it. If you know the strengths and weaknesses of every instrument, then you can better complement it on the group’s performance.

It helps you understand music theories and other concepts quickly

Music has a very strong and solid foundation. It emerges from various theories and includes tons of concepts that might seem too much for some. For music directors, one way to harness and apply these theories and concepts is through instrument playing. When they put their mind and hands on their instrument, they automatically comprehend what is needed to form effective music.

Here are some of the instruments you must consider learning


Violin is one of the single-voiced instruments that can teach you human aspects of music like listening and motion. If you’re just starting out, a violin would be very helpful to understand music. There are lots of violin brands you can choose from that cater from beginners to advanced players.


Cello is also an example of a single-voiced instrument. It came from the string family and is one of the very challenging yet sophisticated instruments you can learn. Like the violin, because of the single rhythm it promotes, you can easily learn the fundamentals and human aspects of music with the cello.


If you want to get away with one rhythm, the piano is the best instrument to learn. A piano or keyboard is perfect for learning motor skills, music theories, melodic development, ear training, and harmonic improvement.


As a musical director, your knowledge about instruments is vital. However, it is not required that you know how to play all the instruments. It is just fine to master certain instruments like violin, cello, or piano as long as you’ll grasp the concepts, theories, and most especially the skills you need to lead a group of musicians.