Who Is A Music Composer?
If you’ve ever thought about creating your own music, you’ve come to the right place! A music composer is someone who writes, creates and produces original music for the purpose of entertainment or art. A music composer also directs their work by training a symphony of singers and musicians who bring their work to life!
Some composers create music specifically for movies, ad films, TV shows and other forms of entertainment. Some create symphonies that are performed by an orchestra. But the life of a music composer can be quite the struggle – you’re going to need an extensive knowledge of the music industry, a tremendous passion for your job and the ability to storm through the competition!
Roles & Responsibilities
Developing original works of music. This is where you progress from listening to creating. It could be anything from a tune to a jingle to an actual song. As a music composer, you may find yourself composing a toothpaste jingle one day and working on a whole album on another day.
Writing variations for musical tunes to be performed for an audience. Your role doesn’t just end at creating one masterpiece. You will also have to create several variations as per your client’s requirements.
Portraying and converting ideas into written musical notes. You just had a brilliant idea for a song. But composing it isn’t the only task on your list. You will also have to create a script of musical notes so your fellow singers and musicians understand what you intend to play.
Producing relevant tunes for clients. If you’re composing music for a client, it is important to ensure that your tunes go hand-in-hand with scripts and other media presented by your client.
Applying music theory knowledge while composing a tune. There’s more to music than just creativity. It is structured in a mathematical manner, which is why you will need to know various musical theories well so your compositions are flawless.
Sourcing music ideas for bands and productions houses. You will need to have in-depth discussions with bands you’re contributing to and even production houses, helping them source ideas as per their requirement.
Recording the tune/song with other musicians. Your job doesn’t end at composing. You will also be required to record it with singers, guitarists, drummers, and other instrument players. It is important to be well-coordinated with them to ensure a smooth execution and create a recording everyone’s happy with.
Blending different musical tones and audio files. Developing a tune or song involves a lot of hard work, and a part of your job will involve mixing different tones and files accurately and seamlessly to create your final track.
Checking for errors. You will have to analyse the track you have produced for errors and other minor flaws that may have crept in during the recording. You wouldn’t want all that hard work you put in going to waste over a minor glitch now, would you?
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What Skills Will I Need To Have To Do This Job Well?
As exciting as this sounds, there are some things you’ll need to learn to do the job right:
Knowledge is power. It is essential for you to have the right knowledge about different musical instruments. The sounds produced by every instrument breathes life into your tune/song. Understanding the theory behind producing soothing tunes develops only when you have the relevant knowledge.
MUSIC WRITING SKILLS
A musician understands how to jot down sounds in terms of words and notations. These musical notes are the syntax and grammar of music. All musicians, singers or instrument players like guitarists, pianists, etc., are well-versed with them. Having the ability to write music that fits your requirements, as well those of your client, can take you a long way.
A certain instrumental tune may represent sadness for one person but cheer up someone else and make them happy. This is where vocals come in, adding clarity to the tune. You can bring out the true meaning behind your song with your singing skills, and make your audience’s listening experience more personal and memorable.
Technology has enhanced every field of life, and music isn’t an exception. Software helps you recreate the sounds of every possible musical instrument and enhance your tunes. Be it recording your first cut or preparing your final mix, working with software like DAWs- Digital Audio Workstations and Digital Performer etc., will make your work easier and help you create a brilliant end-product.
What Will My Workplace Look Like?
Music composers aren’t confined to offices. As a composer, you will spend your working hours in studios, production houses or even at home. Production houses will hire you to create or contribute to music albums, movies and advertisements.
A professional recording studio has a control room from where you will give instructions to other musicians and singers. It also has a control panel that allows you to adjust various notes. This room usually faces a large live room where musicians and singers record their songs. There are also small isolation booths where musicians can practise before performing. All rooms are soundproofed so that external sounds do not interfere with music production.
Many freelancers set up a home-based studio and work from home. Their studios are often simpler.
What Is My Scope For Career Growth As A Music Composer?
The scope for music composers is enormous. And it’s a long way up the musical ladder.
You will begin as a freelancer, where you will land small gigs and projects. Joining a local music band will help you hone your skills, make some money and gain recognition. Once you’ve gained some fame, you can even start performing at festivals and clubs. You will have to promote your efforts online if you want the world to hear your tunes. You can also join a production house or media centre, which gives you bigger opportunities and helps you reach a larger fan base.Try building a reputation for your work. As your reputation grows, the scope of opportunities will expand instantly. A few years down the line, you can then associate your work with bigger brands for a higher pay. However, connections can only take you so far. It’s your talent that will eventually determine your success.
How Much Will I Get Paid?
The pay scale is extremely flexible, as numerous factors determine the worth of your creation. But we can give you a general idea.
Your starting pay can be anywhere between INR 10,000 to INR 20,000 per month, depending on how skilled and confident you are. You can also take on freelancing projects or get signed by labels to maintain a stable flow of income. Freelancers generally get paid around INR 5000 to INR 10,000 initially, soon moving up to a range of INR 50,000 to INR 1,00,000. Once you’ve become famous, only the sky is your limit!
Okay, I'm sold. This is amazing
STEP 1: XI-XII/Junior College
While music doesn’t exactly require a certified educational degree, basic education certainly goes a long way. You may choose to take up the arts stream in high school or junior college if you wish to pursue a B.A. in Music. While you are studying, if you have ideas for tunes or songs, put them out for your listeners! A lot of young musicians record in their homes and share them on a website/blog or social media! Your work will go viral when people start connecting with your music. If you are successful and gain a foothold in the industry, you won’t even need to study further. You can begin your musical career while you’re still in high-school or pre-university.
STEP 2: Graduation
If you would like to follow the traditional way of building a career, there are courses and programmes offered by different music schools and institutions. You could enrol for a Certificate Programme in Music, Diploma in Music, or a B.A. in music. A diploma course requires you to have basic background knowledge in music. A certificate course will help you fulfil the minimum eligibility criteria for a diploma programme. B.A. in Music is an extensive degree programme that requires you to have a diploma in music studies or meet the passing requirement of 10+2.
STEP 3: Land a Job
There are two ways to land a good gig – you either build your reputation by sharing your work, or you get a good degree in music. If you have a good reputation, you could assist an already-established music composer. This would help you gain an understanding of the industry and build your network. You can also get a job as a music therapist, private music tutor, sound technician, music school teacher and more by successfully completing your music studies.
Congratulations! You are now a music composer!
STEP 4: Masters in Music
If you wish to study music further, you could pursue a master’s degree in Arts. This programme stretches over a span of two years. Pursuing a Master of Philosophy in Music provides exposure to numerous opportunities and current trends in music. The duration of this programme is one year. However, the time span can be extended to two or three years if you choose to do it part-time. You will need a master’s degree to enroll for M.Phil. in Music.
STEP 5: PhD in Music
Considered the highest degree a music enthusiast can go for, the Doctor of Philosophy in Music is a three-year full-time programme, focusing primarily on in-depth musical studies. Opting for a part-time programme may stretch the span of the course to five years.
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