How to Become a Music Composer (A 6 Step Guide)
Composing as a job can give opportunities for artistic engagement and fulfillment. Because the profession is so competitive, it’s a good idea to understand what a composer is and what abilities they require before choosing if the position suits you.
If you want to become a professional composer, several tools like Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) and FL studio and programs are available to you.
This article defines how to become a music composer, lists some of their typical responsibilities, expands on useful abilities, provides income outlook information, details some of their job requirements, and describes a composer’s work.
So, what are you waiting for? Let’s explore the steps to becoming a musical composer and other details.
What is A Musical Composer?
A composer is a professional who writes unique music, such as soundtracks for films or TV shows, tunes for bands or symphonies to play, or for a solo artist.
Their responsibilities include conceptualizing and scoring all aspects of a song, such as melodies and harmonies, tempo, and structure, and writing music for as many instruments or voices as they choose to employ for a specific song or arrangement.
If they work in entertainment, they frequently collaborate with filmmakers after the film has been shot. Their tasks include analyzing the visual components, structure, and tale and creating music to suit it.
6 Steps to Become a Good Music Composer
To become a composer of music, there are different steps that you need to take and different stages you need to go through. Let us take a look at all of these in detail.
- Understanding Music Composition
- Developing Skills for Music Composition
- Getting Educated
- Building a Portfolio
- Networking and Promotion
- Finding Opportunities
Step # 1 Understanding Music Composition
The first and foremost step that you must take to become a music composer is to develop an understanding of music composition itself. You should have a command of music notation as well as music theory.
This is very basic. For this, you can enroll in an online course by checking out the best music theory courses.
Secondly, you should also develop a profound understanding of different genres and styles of music. Not only that, you should note different musical instruments and their sounds and familiarize yourself with their technique and use.
You must be focused with attention on this step of the process of becoming a musical composer as this revolves around strengthening your fundamentals.
Step # 2 Developing Skills in Music Composition
Now moving on to the next step in your journey towards becoming a music composer, which is developing skills for music composition. You should learn to read sheet music, and this can be done through online training and courses such as the best music composition courses.
Move to move on. You should start focusing on the aesthetics of music, the rhythm and melody, and how you can develop a sense of it naturally in your mind. Not only that, an understanding of chords and harmonies is very important, and you should develop the courage to experiment with these and improvise a tune or a harmony whenever required.
Lastly, do not be afraid to depend on technology and use different software tools for music production. We recommend GarageBand as a software of choice for music composition and suggest that you take top notch GarageBand courses to learn online.
Step # 3 Getting Educated as Music Composer
Now that you have mastered the fundamentals and basics of music composition as part of your career plan, we recommend formally enrolling in different music schools and programs. You can try finding mentors and teachers to help you get through this learning process.
Not only that, but you can also prefer the route of self-education through different online tutorials, and courses that are available across different platforms.
For this, we recommend that you check out the Internet of Learning in order to help you in finding different courses, tutorials, and relevant information about how to become a music composer.
Step # 4 Building a Strong Music Composer Portfolio
This step is a very obvious one. While you are working towards becoming a music composer, you should keep a record of all your work, whether it’s published or not.
Focus on creating original compositions that are unique and likable and even collaborate with other musicians and artists to not only take your compositions to other levels but also learn from them.
You can also participate in different contests and competitions to display your skills and competencies and help open opportunities. But the obvious end of all of these should be that no matter what work you do. It should all be arranged in the form of a portfolio that is ready to present at any time when a need or opportunity arises.
Step # 5 Networking and Promotion
Moving on, once you’ve created your portfolio, you should focus your efforts on networking and promoting your work. This can be done by joining different music communities and associations and building a professional network by interacting with musicians and local artists, and composers in your community.
As the next step towards being a composer, you should also try to promote yourself on different social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to put yourself out there and the rest to be aware of your presence and the kind of work that you do.
Step # 6 Finding Opportunities
Lastly, we recommend that you should work towards finding opportunities for music composition in different areas such as television, film, and stage. Not only that, you should reach out to agents and music publishers by yourself and try to get an opportunity in the first place.
One of the best ways to become a good music composer is to put your work out there for the public to listen to and critique. This is why we recommend performing live and showcasing your work, creativity, and ability.
What Does a Music Composer Do?
Composers create music by writing and arranging it in conventional musical notation that musicians can understand. When composing for numerous musical instruments or vocal categories, the notations used must match the specialties of the instruments or vocalists for whom they are writing.
This implies that a single piece of music might include various sets of instructions for each of the performers’ or sections’ individual components.
When writing for an orchestra, for example, songwriters create a musical score that allows the conductor to see all of the piece’s components simultaneously. They may utilize different clefs, a symbol signifying pitch, in the score for different instruments or singer types. Some common composer tasks include as follows:
- Create music that is tailored to the needs of a musician or an instrument.
- Arrange musical compositions
- Study the fundamentals of the instruments or voice ranges for which they write to comprehend their sound and influence on the song.
- Recognize various notations
- Learn about music theory.
- Examine how the piece’s distinct components interact.
Give directions for music speed, notes, and rests.
- Create music to match a specific topic or mood.
- Transcribe music for a variety of instruments or vocalists.
What Skills Are Required to Become a Professional Music Composer?
To become a professional music composer, several skills are essential to master. Here are some skills required to pursue a successful career as a music composer:
- Musical Proficiency
- Composition Techniques
- Creativity and Originality
- Knowledge of Music Technology
- Listening and Analytical Skills
- Collaboration and Communication
- Time Management and Discipline
- Adaptability and Versatility
- Emotional and Expressive Interpretation
- Business and Entrepreneurial Skills
1. Musical Proficiency
A strong foundation in music theory, including knowledge of scales, chords, harmony, rhythm, and melody, is crucial. Being proficient in playing at least one instrument, such as piano, guitar, or a virtual instrument, allows you to translate your musical ideas effectively.
2. Composition Techniques
Understanding composition techniques, such as counterpoint, orchestration, arrangement, and form, enables you to create well-structured and compelling musical pieces. Studying the works of renowned composers and analyzing various musical genres can enhance your compositional skills.
3. Creativity and Originality
Developing a unique musical voice and the ability to generate fresh and original ideas is essential. Being able to think outside the box and innovate within your compositions helps you stand out as a composer.
4. Knowledge of Music Technology
Familiarity with music production tools, including digital audio workstations (DAWs), virtual instruments, and effects plugins, allows you to harness the full potential of technology in your compositions. Understanding MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) and audio recording techniques is also beneficial.
5. Listening and Analytical Skills
Having a keen ear and the ability to analyze music critically is crucial. Listening to a wide variety of musical genres and styles, dissecting their structures, and recognizing different instrumentation and production techniques can deepen your understanding and broaden your compositional palette.
6. Collaboration and Communication
Collaborating with musicians, performers, and other professionals in the music industry is common for composers. Strong communication skills and the ability to effectively convey your musical ideas and vision to others are vital for successful collaborations.
7. Time Management and Discipline
Meeting deadlines, managing multiple projects simultaneously, and staying organized are essential skills for a professional music composer. Being disciplined and dedicated to honing your craft, consistently practicing, and working on your compositions is crucial for long-term success.
8. Adaptability and Versatility
The ability to compose in different styles and genres, adapting to various project requirements, is highly valued. Versatility allows you to cater to different musical needs and expand your opportunities as a composer.
9. Emotional and Expressive Interpretation
Music is a powerful means of emotional expression. Being able to convey and evoke emotions through your compositions, effectively communicating with the listener, is an important skill for a music composer.
10. Business and Entrepreneurial Skills
As a professional composer, understanding the business aspects of the music industry, including copyright laws, royalties, contracts, and marketing strategies, can help you navigate the industry successfully and monetize your compositions.
How to Become a Music Composer -FAQs
How Much Does a Composer Make?
As per Glassdoor.com, a music composer in the US on average, makes $61,055 dollars per year.
What Is a Career in Music Composition?
A career in music composition means that you will be composing original tunes and soundtracks for movies, TV, ads, and even video games.
How Long Will It Take to Become a Music Composer?
There is no certain limit on how long it will take for someone to become a music composer, but on average, an individual takes at least 4 to 6 years to learn about music composition, music theory, and other fundamentals of this job role.
Music composition is not only an artistic but an interesting field that requires passion and dedication for one to succeed. Through this blog, we hope that we are able to highlight the major stages that are involved and the steps on how to become a music composer.
But always remember that there is no one defined way to become a composer as music and its composition especially come from the soul. Sometimes it can be frustrating when learning this beautiful art but do not lose hope.
If you find yourself in a rut, always come back to this guide to help you redirect and refresh your mind toward your goal again.
We wish you the best of luck in your journey toward becoming a music composer!