How do you find work as a composer? | Trailer Music, Video Games, Music Business
What is the average salary for jobs in music composition?
The average salary for music composition jobs varies, as there are many careers in and related to music composition. Salaries also vary because many composers work freelance or contract assignments as opposed to, or in addition to, steady employment.
What kinds of music composition jobs are there?
Many people who want to work in music composition hope to become composers. Composers create musical scores for many industries, including film, advertising and theater.
There are also many careers related to music composition, such as conducting and transcribing. Some people choose one of these jobs to work their way up to being a music composer. Others decide to pursue music composition part-time alongside an adjacent career.
21 jobs in music composition
Here are 21 jobs in music composition to consider:
1. Film composer
Film composing jobs are among the most competitive jobs in music composition. Film composers develop the scores of movies. They typically work long hours during individual film projects. To create the score, film composers consider multiple aspects of the film, such as:
Film composers typically begin composing after the film has finished shooting when they can view an early version of the movie. The early version of the film allows composers to figure out exactly how long certain musical sections or songs should last.
2. Jingle writer
Jingle writers compose music for television and radio commercials. They sometimes also arrange and record the tune. A jingle writer might compose a song for one specific advertising campaign or a song thats used repeatedly in advertisements for years. Some brands might request jingle writers to compose in a particular musical style or include the brands slogan in the jingle. Jingle writing jobs tend to be among the more lucrative careers in music composition.
3. Music performer
Many composers start out as musical performers. Music performers play their musical instruments or sing in front of an audience. A music performer might play in an orchestra, band or solo at large or small venues. Composers who decide to continue their careers as performers can play the music they compose exactly as they want audience members to hear it.
4. Classical composer
Classical composers are sometimes called opera composers, jazz composers or composers for concerts and stages. Classical composers create music for opera houses, dance companies, symphony orchestras and performing arts centers. While more experienced composers might receive commissions, novice composers typically first have to establish themselves in the field by:
5. Music director
Music directors, also called conductors, guide orchestras, bands and choirs as they play music. Conductors lead these musical groups during live performances, recording sessions and rehearsals. Their primary goal is to help musicians play well, both individually and as a group. Many composers also pursue careers as music directors to give them more control over how musical groups perform or record their compositions.
6. Instructor or professor of composition
Composers interested in pursuing higher education may consider becoming music composition instructors. Most composition instructors teach at the university level, although some may find jobs at other educational facilities or community centers. Composers who become professors are capable of and enjoy teaching the art of music composition to others. Working at a university can also help further a composers career, as universities may provide additional funding and networking opportunities.
7. Video game composer
Video game composers create soundtracks for mobile, console, computer and augmented reality video games. Similar to composing for film and television, video game composers consider a particular video games setting, genre, characters and emotional changes. However, video game composers must also think about elements unique to the interactive aspect of video games, such as how the music might change depending on the choices an individual player makes.
8. Music copyist
Copyists organize and edit sheet music into its finalized written form. Copyists first receive a copy of the master score, which details the scores for a variety of instruments. Copyists separate the master score into written sheet music for each instrument. Copyists must also be skilled at proofreading music, taking into consideration factors such as the location of page turns or rest breaks. Many composers begin their careers as copyists to provide supplemental income and network with professionals in the music industry.
9. Composers assistant
A composers assistant supports a composer by completing tasks necessary for their supervisors work. Daily responsibilities of a composers assistant vary based on the type of composer they work for, as well as the composers current projects. Most composers assistants handle administrative tasks such as sorting files, managing audio cables or delivering messages to other music professionals. Many also assist with technical responsibilities such as updating audio software or mixing audio tracks.
10. Musical theater composer
Musical theater composers create music for live theatrical performances. These performances might be traditional musical theater shows, but they could also be cabarets, plays, experimental theater or circuses. A musical theater composers pieces might accompany lyrics, serve as overtures to the show, give the audience enjoyment during scene changes or play beneath onstage dialogue. Composers for traditional musical theater usually work closely with a lyricist and book writer to create a unified work of musical theater.
11. Music software consultant
Many music software developers are interested in working with composers. Depending on the particulars of the job assignment and software, composers may need to have some skills in technology or computers. There are many kinds of music software that might require a trained composers help, such as notation, audio and educational music software. Music software consultants with composing experience might also work on the designs for keyboards or musical instrument digital interfaces (MIDIs).
12. Television composer
Television composers create music for television. If a television composer is working on a specific television program, their work resembles a film or video game composers as they consider the TV shows genre, aesthetic, characters and emotional scenes. However, some television composers may create works unique to TV, such as the theme music for a news broadcast or a jingle to accompany a network logo.
13. Music journalist
Music journalists, also called music reporters or critics, write about music for online and print publications. Music journalists might write about concerts, live recordings, business deals in the music industry, breaking music news or the history of a musical genre or group. Becoming a music journalist can be a great opportunity for a composer because it helps them remain aware of other musicians and trends in the industry.
14. Arts administrator
Some music composers find jobs in arts administration. Depending on a composers particular interests and skills, they might consider working at an arts organization in the marketing, legal, educational or financial department. Many composers also work as presenters for arts organizations, which means they help put on concerts for the public.
15. Radio DJ
Radio stations with dedicated programs to new music often prefer to hire composers. Radio DJs for new music segments pick the music repertoire and briefly introduce their selections over the radio.
16. Publishing scout
Publishing scouts work for music publishing companies. A publishing scout attends concerts and other performances to discover and contract new musical talent at their publishing house. Composers may find working as a publishing scout a good way to experience new music and network with other music professionals.
17. Music arranger
Music arrangers alter existing musical compositions. A music arranger might change aspects of the original song, such as the:
Musical arrangers work in numerous fields on various projects. While some, for example, might create alternative versions of songs for popular recording artists, others might adapt stage musical songs into film scores.
18. Music editor
Composers with interest or skill in technology might consider becoming a music editor. Music editors compile, edit and sync film or television reels with their accompanying scores. A music editor supervises the score recording, uses a recording mixer to balance the films score with other sounds and creates a record of all the music in the final film to help with royalty calculations.
Orchestrators turn a composers musical sketch into a full score. An orchestrators responsibilities vary depending on how detailed a composers outline is. Orchestrators may assign roles to various instruments, decide how many of each instrument to include in the orchestra or even create additional harmonies.
20. Staff writer
A staff writer composes music for popular recording artists. Staff writers typically sign contracts that give publishers instant publication rights to their songs in exchange for monetary advances and marketing help. Staff writers are typically given a music genre or market to write in and, sometimes, details about the individual recording artist. Staff writers both compose and create demo recordings of their songs.
21. Music transcriber
Music transcribers are similar to orchestrators in that both create detailed sheet music. However, while an orchestrator works from a written outline, a transcriber works from an audio recording. Transcribers must be able to listen closely and interpret an audio recordings arrangement, instrumentation, harmonies and other musical elements. Transcribers are then responsible for creating accurate music notations based on the recording.
What can you do with a degree in music composition?
- Be a university professor/instructor of composition (and/or another field)
- Be a pianist/music director/dance accompanist/rehearsal pianist.
- Compose music for video games!
- Work at a publishing house or recording company.
- Work in radio.
- Work in software.
How do I get a job composing music?
- Diversify Yourself. …
- Be Prepared for Auditions. …
- Maintain Relationships with Directors. …
- Build Community. …
- Position Yourself Tactically. …
- ABOUT JEREMY BORUM. …
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Are music composers in demand?
What are 5 music careers?
- Music Producer.
- Recording Engineer.
- Artist Manager.
- Tour Manager.
- Booking Agent.
- Music Publicist.
- Music Arranger.