Music Composer

A music composer is a person who composes the music for the players to perform. The person can be writing in any genre/style of music for any ensembles. For example, jingles, film music, electronic music, etc. There’s no one who can master every genre/style of music. Therefore, for each genre/style, the composer has to study for quite a long time to understand and specialize it. 

How can one composer know how to write a specific genre/style of music? What are the skills that they need to have?

1. Music Theory
2. Music History
3. Strong analysis skills
4. Creativity
5. Understand Technology (DAWs, Effects/Plugins),etc. 

If the person understands music history well enough, it is a bonus for him/her. Because we have to understand the composer’s intention and thoughts while composing certain pieces in a particular period.

After knowing these rules, the composer has to try out of their comfort zones, create something unique that can represent their voices. This is very important as this will let the audience recognize directly after listening to your music. 

So, where and how do composers usually write music? In order times, the composers used pencil and paper to write down every single note for each of the instruments if needed, therefore it’s really time-consuming. Very lucky, in this modern period, we have something called music notation software such as Sibelius, Finale, Dorico, etc. 

These music notation software save composers a lot of time, but of course, you have to first study a little of the program itself in order to make your composing workflow faster. Each of the music notation software performs more or less the same.  

How are we going to start to become a composer?

Well, you can always start by analyzing some classical scores, preferably starting from a piano piece or even a single solo instrument piece. The reason being, is not to overwhelm yourself by looking lots of instruments. Concentrate on one instrument at a time, once you are familiar with it, you can try to expand into 2, 3 instruments, or even a quartet and lastly to the orchestra score. Try to analyze and write down the techniques that the composer used, such as structure, harmonic progression, articulations, etc. 
If you are unsure about doing so, another alternative way is try to look for someone who can teach you music composition privately. With someone guiding you, it will definitely be easier and faster to understand about it. 

Lastly if you want to pursue your career as a composer, then there are few options for you. There are some different composition courses for example, jazz composition, music composition (traditional/classical), film scoring, etc for you to choose from. This really depends on you, which one do you like the most. The programs can range from Bachelor Degree, Master Degree or even Ph.D./Doctoral Program.

IU Jacobs School of Music

*Side note* Some of the schools require you to be able to have certain skills to apply. So please be prepared to read through the requirements while you are applying it. 

Lastly, I hope my articles helps you in your research journey. Wishing you all the best in your composer pathway! 

5 3 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x