What Does a Composer Do?

February 16, 2018, 3:56 AM · I'm cheating. This is the title of a video I have just watched.

And I thought some forum members might be interested in these thoughts.



Replies (4)

February 16, 2018, 8:12 AM · From my experience (M.Mus. in Composition) "what a composer does" is find a remunerative position in another field.

Or starve...

February 16, 2018, 8:37 AM · An exception may be composing for movies and TV documentaries and drama. I know such a person, formerly head of music at a fee-paying school, who left teaching to become a full-time composer in those fields, quite remunerative I understand.
February 16, 2018, 10:59 AM · A composer composes whether he makes money or not.It is who you are after all.

If this isn't who you are there is no point in running with the kite to make it fly.

Similar to many other pursuits in life, finding a way to prosper in composition takes time away from composition. If a composer does his or her very best and the stars don't line up for you, you'll simply do it for yourself and for free and find another way to live.

Life as a TV composer is usually dogged with one difficult client after another who don't recognize the effort put into it which is reflected monetarily. The main budget concentrates on the video.Music in this line of work is usually secondary.

A few. I mean a very few people land positions with large companies who like them enough to retain them indefinitely. For the rest a divorce is only a better sound or lower price away.To say the industry is fickle would be an understatement.

Madeye Hobbit is spot on here.If you intend to pursue composition as a way to an income be sure you are either very lucky, as in your father happens to own a motion picture company, or you diversify well.

Most who went into this occasionally land the occasional track in a music library or get gigs sporadically here and there. Remember the ratio of lower budget films to block busters is probably 500/1 so your bread and butter will come mainly from those.

I really don't intend to rain on anyone's parade. If you have lots of drive go for it. You might be one of the few lucky ones.

Edited: February 16, 2018, 3:43 PM · Madeye Hobbit is spot on.

But then, only for a very small period of the World's history have musicians expected to make a living from their art.

As a teacher responsible for large ensembles I must say that what put composing aside for me was the "better returns" I received from arranging. People -- audiences, performers, colleagues -- gave me much better feed back from my arrangements of music they already knew (film and TV themes, pop songs, standards, etc) than from the original work I walked out in front of them.

But that was OK: I also got a lot of satisfaction from writing and performing these arrangements. And it made my daily work a lot of fun.

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