Life As a Music Composer or Arranger
Job Description & Duties Write and transcribe musical scores.
Daily Life Of a Music Composer or Arranger
- Determine voices, instruments, harmonic structures, rhythms, tempos, and tone balances required to achieve the effects desired in a musical composition.
- Write musical scores for orchestras, bands, choral groups, or individual instrumentalists or vocalists, using knowledge of music theory and of instrumental and vocal capabilities.
- Copy parts from scores for individual performers.
- Rewrite original musical scores in different musical styles by changing rhythms, harmonies, or tempos.
- Transpose music from one voice or instrument to another to accommodate particular musicians.
- Experiment with different sounds, and types and pieces of music, using synthesizers and computers as necessary to test and evaluate ideas.
Qualities of a Music Composer or Arranger
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.
Related Job Titles for this Occupation:
- Creative Director
- Song Writer
- Digital Composer
- Jingle Writer
- Record Producer
Is There Going to be Demand for Music Composers and Arrangers?
There were about 74,800 jobs for Music Composer or Arranger in 2016 (in the United States). 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.
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.
What is the Average Salary of a Music Composer or Arranger
The salary for Music Composers and Arrangers ranges between about $21,640 and $112,820 a year.
Music Composers and Arrangers who work in Minnesota, Georgia, or New Jersey, make the highest salaries.
Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Music Composers and Arrangers in different U.S. states.
|State||Annual Mean Salary|
|District of Columbia||$77,220|
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:
- Avid Technology Sibelius
- MakeMusic Finale
Becoming a Music Composer or Arranger
Education needed to be a Music Composer or Arranger:
How Long Does it Take to Become a Music Composer or Arranger?
Who Employs Music Composers and Arrangers?
The table below shows the approximate number of Music Composers and Arrangers employed by various industries.
More about our data sources and methodologies.
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