Description: Composers create original music such as symphonies, operas, sonatas, radio and television jingles, film scores, and popular songs. They transcribe ideas into musical notation, using harmony, rhythm, melody, and tonal structure. Some use computer software to compose and edit their music.
Knowledge Required: Music theory, music interpretation, composition, conducting, performing
Skills: Musicians must be knowledgeable about a broad range of musical styles. Having a broader range of interest, knowledge, and training can help expand employment opportunities and musical abilities.
Career Path: Musicians need extensive and prolonged training and practice to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to interpret music at a professional level. Formal training may be obtained through private study with an accomplished musician, in a college or university music program, or in a music conservatory.
Best Cities for this job: Composers will do well in large metropolitan areas with a concentration of entertainment such as LA, New York City, San Francisco, and San Diego.
Median Annual Income: National: $41,270 CA: $71,190
Future Growth: The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the employment of composers to grow 8 percent over the 2008–18 decade.
From the field: “I think to be a film composer, personality is almost as important as musical talent. Write as much music as possible and go see lots of movies.” - Nathan Barr, Film ComposerView more Day in the Life videos »