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Music Composer or Arranger

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What Does it Take to Be a Music Composer or Arranger?

Position Description Write and transcribe musical scores.

Life As a Music Composer or Arranger: What Do They Do?

  • Transcribe ideas for musical compositions into musical notation, using instruments, pen and paper, or computers.
  • Fill in details of orchestral sketches, such as adding vocal parts to scores.
  • Write changes directly into compositions, or use computer software to make changes.
  • Apply elements of music theory to create musical and tonal structures, including harmonies and melodies.
  • Experiment with different sounds, and types and pieces of music, using synthesizers and computers as necessary to test and evaluate ideas.
  • Guide musicians during rehearsals, performances, or recording sessions.

Music Composer or Arranger Skills

These are the skills Music Composers and Arrangers say are the most useful in their careers:

Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Coordination: Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

Types of Music Composer or Arranger

  • Songwriter
  • Copyist
  • Score Composer
  • Film Composer
  • Composer Teaching Artist

Is There Job Demand for Music Composers and Arrangers?

In the United States, there were 74,800 jobs for Music Composer or Arranger in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 5.7% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 4,300 new jobs for Music Composer or Arranger by 2026. The BLS estimates 7,700 yearly job openings in this field.

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The states with the most job growth for Music Composer or Arranger are Colorado, Utah, and North Carolina. Watch out if you plan on working in Vermont, Kansas, or Wisconsin. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

How Much Does a Music Composer or Arranger Make?

Music Composers and Arrangers make between $21,640 and $112,820 a year.

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Music Composers and Arrangers who work in Minnesota, Georgia, or New Jersey, make the highest salaries.

How much do Music Composers and Arrangers make in each U.S. state?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $75,050
Arizona $57,810
California $64,600
Colorado $50,800
Connecticut $77,550
District of Columbia $77,220
Florida $72,420
Georgia $73,470
Hawaii $51,230
Illinois $40,220
Indiana $66,460
Iowa $52,430
Kansas $55,290
Kentucky $49,610
Louisiana $53,600
Maryland $58,570
Massachusetts $56,200
Michigan $51,180
Minnesota $88,570
Mississippi $53,000
Missouri $60,590
Montana $29,100
Nebraska $46,650
New Jersey $73,320
New Mexico $48,440
New York $66,120
North Carolina $48,920
Ohio $44,920
Oklahoma $38,530
Oregon $46,000
Pennsylvania $46,010
Rhode Island $64,200
South Carolina $53,700
Texas $61,210
Utah $57,780
Vermont $56,130
Washington $71,980
Wisconsin $71,350

What Tools do Music Composers and Arrangers Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Music Composers and Arrangers:

  • Audacity
  • Avid Technology Sibelius
  • MakeMusic Finale

How to Become a Music Composer or Arranger

What education is needed to be a Music Composer or Arranger?

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How Long Does it Take to Become a Music Composer or Arranger?

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Where do Music Composers and Arrangers Work?

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Music Composers and Arrangers work in the following industries:

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References:

Image Credit: via Creative Commons CC0

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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