Job descriptions and industry overviews

Composer

A composer writes musical compositions.

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Composers use creativity and knowledge of music theory to write and transcribe musical scores. Scores can be for television, films, computer games or stage productions. A composer will reflect moods within the music which have been specified by directors or producers. They experiment with different instruments and sounds to achieve the desired effect.

Full-time work is possible for established composers; however competition is high and some may have to have other sources of income.

Work activities

  • Using knowledge of music theory to create compositions.
  • Using music technology to create, transcribe and arrange musical scores.
  • Producing demos of work for prospective employers.
  • Advising musicians in rehearsals.
  • Liaising with directors and producers.
  • Meeting deadlines.

Work conditions

Travel: is limited; work is based in a studio or at home.
Working hours: can be irregular and unsociable. Evening and weekend hours are common.
Location: opportunities are more likely in larger cities with television production studios and popular theatres.

Entry requirements

Most composers will need to have extensive experience in musical training and in-depth knowledge of various musical styles. Musical talent is essential. A degree in music is advantageous for understanding music theory and music interpretation, and for gathering skills in composition. A Masters in composition may be helpful to extend knowledge. Building up a network of contacts is essential.

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