Advertising & Arts

Music Composer

Music composers write music and transcribe musical scores.

  • Entry-level education

    Bachelor’s degree

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does a Music Composer do?

Music composers write music and transcribe musical scores.

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Work activities

As a composer, you would:

  • use music theory to create musical and tonal arrangements, including harmonies and melodies
  • practice with musical instruments or computers to compose, orchestrate, and arrange music
  • determine elements including voices, instruments, harmonic structures, rhythms and tempos required for the optimal musical composition
  • experiment with different sounds, and types and pieces of music
  • write changes directly into compositions, or use computer software to make changes
  • transcribe ideas for musical compositions into musical notation, using instruments, pen and paper, or computers
  • discuss requirements with film directors, TV producers, theatre directors or other clients.
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Key skills and interests

To become a music composer, you would need:

  • highly-developed musical skills
  • self-confidence, motivation and dedication
  • good communication skills
  • the ability to concentrate for long periods
  • the ability to work to deadlines
  • intimate knowledge of one or more musical styles
  • creativity and flair.
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Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

Many composers work part-time, often alongside other jobs.

Conditions

Composers can work in offices, recording studios, or their own homes.

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How to become an Music Composer?

Entry Level Education

Composers are generally first and foremost accomplished musicians, with a flair for creating music.

To become a musician you usually have to complete formal training in a chosen musical field, although some musicians are self-taught. You can become a musician by obtaining a degree in music at university. To get into degree courses you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent. English and music would be appropriate subjects to study prior to university. Applicants may also be required to attend an audition, interview or musicianship theory test.

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Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

This is a specialised occupation, which is projected to grow somewhat slower than the average for all occupations.

There will continue to be a need for composers to write original music and arrange known works for performances. Composers are also expected to be needed to write film scores and music for television and commercials.

However, growth is expected to be limited because of the costs involved with commissioning new music or musical scores.

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