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Music Composers and Arrangers

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

Career Description Write and transcribe musical scores.

List of Music Composer or Arranger Job Duties

  • Explore and develop musical ideas based on sources such as imagination or sounds in the environment.
  • Write musical scores for orchestras, bands, choral groups, or individual instrumentalists or vocalists, using knowledge of music theory and of instrumental and vocal capabilities.
  • Transcribe ideas for musical compositions into musical notation, using instruments, pen and paper, or computers.
  • Study original pieces of music to become familiar with them prior to making any changes.
  • Transpose music from one voice or instrument to another to accommodate particular musicians.
  • Apply elements of music theory to create musical and tonal structures, including harmonies and melodies.

Skills Needed to be a Music Composer or Arranger

Music Composers and Arrangers state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

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

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

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.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

  • Copyist
  • Digital Composer
  • Music Writer
  • Music Producer
  • Score Composer

Is There Job Demand for Music Composers and Arrangers?

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 74,800 jobs in the United States for Music Directors and Composers.

New jobs are being produced at a rate of 5.7% which is lower than average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 4,300 new jobs for Music Composers and Arrangers by 2026. There will be an estimated 7,700 positions for Music Composer or Arranger per year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Music Composers and Arrangers in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Music Directors and Composers are Florida, New York, and Texas.

Watch out if you plan on working in Wisconsin, Vermont, or Kansas. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Music Composer or Arranger Salary

The typical yearly salary for Music Directors and Composers is somewhere between $21,640 and $112,820. A Music Composer or Arranger median salary is $49,630.

Salary Ranges for Music Composers and Arrangers

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for jobs of this type in different U.S. states.

Annual Mean Salary by State
State Annual Mean Salary

Minnesota

$88,570

Connecticut

$77,550

District of Columbia

$77,220

Alabama

$75,050

Georgia

$73,470

New Jersey

$73,320

Florida

$72,420

Washington

$71,980

Wisconsin

$71,350

Indiana

$66,460

New York

$66,120

California

$64,600

Rhode Island

$64,200

Texas

$61,210

Missouri

$60,590

Maryland

$58,570

Arizona

$57,810

Utah

$57,780

Massachusetts

$56,200

Vermont

$56,130

Kansas

$55,290

South Carolina

$53,700

Louisiana

$53,600

Mississippi

$53,000

Iowa

$52,430

Hawaii

$51,230

Michigan

$51,180

Colorado

$50,800

Kentucky

$49,610

North Carolina

$48,920

New Mexico

$48,440

Nebraska

$46,650

Pennsylvania

$46,010

Oregon

$46,000

Ohio

$44,920

Illinois

$40,220

Oklahoma

$38,530

Montana

$29,100

How to Become a Music Composer or Arranger

Learn what Music Composer or Arranger education requirements there are.

Music Composer or Arranger Degree Level

What work experience do I need to become a Music Composer or Arranger?

Music Composer or Arranger Work Experience

Where Music Composers and Arrangers Work

Music Composer or Arranger Sectors

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics

College Factual

O*NET Online

Image Credit: Via Wikimedia Commons

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