Music Composer: Career Info and Requirements for Becoming a Professional Composer
Music Composers produce, arrange and create music of all styles, from symphonies to rock to jingles. Today, many universities offer bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs in Music Composition to give students the knowledge they need to chase their dreams of becoming professional Music Composers.
Music Composer Career Definition
Music Composers can do more than just create music for a large audience, as enviable as that sounds. Jobs are available conducting orchestras, composing soundtracks for films, writing songs for commercials, producing records and teaching. Many Music Composers find work in media-centric cities such as New York or Los Angeles; however, Music Composers can find jobs all over the country since most cities (and even small towns) have local music groups and performance venues perfect for people to create and hone their art.
How to Become a Music Composer
Required Education for a Career in Music Composition
Many colleges and universities offer degrees such as a Bachelor of Arts in Music Composition, a Bachelor of Music in Music Composition or a Bachelor of Science in Music Composition. Graduate degree possibilities include a Master of Arts in Music Composition, a Master of Music in Music Composition and a Doctor of Philosophy in Music Composition. In most cases, an audition is required for students interested in pursuing these degrees; many schools also require students to perform their own compositions at a recital. Most bachelor's degree programs in Music Composition are rigorous and take four years or more to complete.
Skills Required for a Career as a Music Composer
Being a naturally talented musician is the first key to unlocking a career as a Music Composer. Proficiency with multiple instruments, singing abilities and an appreciation of music history are all helpful attributes. Patience, persistence and the ability to network and market one's talents are also needed in this daunting profession.
Economic Outlook of Music Composition
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that an estimated 68,000 people worked as music directors or Music Composers in 2006. The median annual earnings for composers and music directors was $39,750. Job growth is expected to be 11% over the next decade, with employment opportunities more likely in music industry strongholds such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Las Vegas and Nashville.
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