Is Music Composer a Good Career? Pros and Cons to Consider

Are you passionate about music composition and considering it as a potential career path? You’re not alone. Well-known names like John Williams, Ennio Morricone, and Hans Zimmer have shaped the landscape of the music industry with their incredible works. Aspiring composers are now eager to follow in their footsteps and experience the same level of creative freedom while earning a living. But the question remains, is music composition a good career choice?

The answer is not as simple as a binary yes or no. Like many other creative industries, music composition has its ups and downs. While it allows composers to express themselves artistically, it also comes with its share of challenges. One of the most significant issues is the competition – there are many talented composers out there, and breaking through the overcrowded industry can be daunting. But there is good news. With technological advancements and the availability of music libraries, the demand for music is higher than ever before. It’s crucial to understand the intricacies of the industry before pursuing a career in music composition fully.

So, what does it take to succeed in this field? Patience, perseverance, and the unwavering desire to create music that resonates with people is paramount. There is much value in taking the first step towards fulfilling your passion as a music composer, but it’s also wise to weigh your options before diving in. This article will shed light on the pros and cons of a music composition career and provide insights to help you make an informed decision.

Skills Required for a Successful Career as a Music Composer

Many people dream of pursuing a career as a music composer, but not everyone possesses the necessary skills to make it in this competitive industry. In order to succeed as a composer, you must possess certain skills that will set you apart from other aspiring musicians.

  • Musical Talent: Undoubtedly, the most important skill you need as a composer is musical talent. You should have a natural ear for music and be able to create original melodies that are both memorable and unique.
  • Technical Knowledge: In addition to musical talent, you need to have a solid understanding of music theory, composition techniques, and the ability to read and write musical notation. This will make it easier for you to communicate your musical ideas to other musicians and orchestrate your compositions.
  • Creativity: Successful composers have a unique and distinctive sound that sets them apart from others. You should be able to experiment with different musical styles, sounds, and instruments to create innovative and original compositions.

Education and Training

While it’s possible to learn these skills on your own, having a formal education in music can be beneficial. Most music composers have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in music composition, arranging, or orchestration. These programs provide students with a solid foundation in music theory, composition, and performance.

You may also consider enrolling in music workshops or taking private lessons from a music teacher to hone your skills and receive feedback on your compositions.

Software and Tools

Music composition software has revolutionized the way that composers create and produce music. With software like Logic Pro, Ableton Live, and Cubase, musicians can create compositions from scratch, quickly edit and arrange tracks, mix and master their work, and export high-quality audio files.

Alongside composition software, a good set of speakers or headphones is essential for any composer. Additionally, having the right musical instruments and recording equipment can make a world of difference in the quality of your compositions.

Professionalism and Persistence

Attribute Description
Passion Composers should have a deep passion for creating and producing music.
Collaboration Skills Successful composers should be able to collaborate with other musicians, artists, and clients and take feedback constructively.
Persistence Composers often face rejection and criticism before finding success. Persistence and a positive attitude are key to success in this industry.
Professionalism As a composer, you are running your own business. Professionalism is essential in building your reputation and landing gigs.

In addition to technical and creative skills, successful composers must also possess strong professionalism skills. This includes having a positive attitude, being punctual and responsive, and setting realistic goals for yourself. Persistence is equally important, as most composers face multiple rejections and setbacks before achieving success.

By honing your creative, technical, and professional skills, you can increase your chances of success as a composer. With persistence, passion, and a willingness to learn, you can launch a rewarding and fulfilling career in the music industry.

Education and Training Needed to Become a Music Composer

If you have a passion for music and want to become a music composer, you need to understand the educational and training requirements that come along with it. Music composition is not an overnight achievement, and it requires a great deal of dedication, effort, and perseverance to succeed in this industry.

  • Formal education: A formal education in music is essential for a music composer since it provides a strong foundation in music theory, history, and performance. A bachelor’s degree in music or composition is the minimum requirement to become a composer. You can also pursue a graduate degree in music composition if you want to deepen your knowledge and skills.
  • Training: Composing music requires a high level of technical expertise, creativity, and attention to detail. To fine-tune your skills, you can attend workshops, seminars, and classes related to music composition. You can also learn from experienced composers, conductors, and music producers who can guide you about the music industry’s nuances and trends.
  • Software: You need to have expertise in music composition software, which helps you create, record, and edit music compositions. Popular software for music composition includes Logic Pro, Ableton Live, Cubase, and Pro Tools.

Having formal education and training in music composition helps you to develop a unique style and voice, understand music production, and expand your network of contacts in the music industry. But more importantly, it provides you with a critical set of skills and knowledge that will help you navigate the challenges and opportunities of the music industry.

So, if you are planning to pursue a music composition career, it’s essential to seek formal education, training, and guidance from experts in the field to blossom your skills, and showcase your unique style in the music industry.

Type of Education or Training Description
Bachelor’s Degree in Music or Composition The minimum requirement for entry-level positions in music composition
Graduate Degree in Music Composition A higher level of education that provides deeper knowledge and skills in music composition
Workshops, Seminars, and Classes Opportunities to learn from experienced composers and music industry professionals
Music Composition Software Expertise in software such as Logic Pro, Ableton Live, Cubase, and Pro Tools can help in creating, recording, and editing music compositions

Formal education, training, and proficiency in music composition software are the necessary components for a successful music composition career. These provide you with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to produce original, unique, and quality music that can help you establish your name in the music industry.

Pros and Cons of Pursuing Music Composition as a Career

Music composition can be a dream career for many aspiring musicians. The thought of creating beautiful melodies and expressing oneself through music is undoubtedly tempting. But as with any career, there are also challenges and setbacks that come with it. Here are some pros and cons to consider before pursuing music composition as a career:

  • Pros:
  • 1. Creativity: Music composition requires creativity and constantly challenges the composer to come up with new ideas.
  • 2. Personal fulfillment: Composers have the opportunity to create something meaningful and share their emotions through their music, which can be highly fulfilling.
  • 3. Flexibility: Composers can work from anywhere and at any time, giving them freedom to create music on their own terms and schedule.
  • 4. Potential for success: There is always a demand for good music, and a successful composition can lead to royalties and recognition.
  • Cons:
  • 1. Financial instability: Composing music can be an unstable source of income, especially in the beginning. Royalties and commissions may not always be consistent.
  • 2. Competitive industry: It can be difficult to stand out in a sea of other composers and gain recognition for one’s work.
  • 3. Rejection: Composers may face numerous rejections and setbacks throughout their career, which can be disheartening.
  • 4. Demands on time and energy: To succeed, composers must dedicate a significant amount of time and energy to their craft, which can be physically and emotionally exhausting.

While there are certainly many challenges to pursuing music composition as a career, the potential reward and personal fulfillment that comes from creating music can make the journey worthwhile. Aspiring composers should weigh the pros and cons carefully and have a backup plan in case their music composition career doesn’t take off as planned.

Ultimately, it’s up to the individual to decide if music composition is the right career path for them. But with passion, perseverance, and a dedication to their craft, the possibilities are endless.

Job Outlook and Opportunities for Music Composers

If you have a passion for music and music composition, pursuing a career in this field can be rewarding. In recent years, the industry has grown substantially, creating numerous job opportunities for aspiring music composers.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of music composers and arrangers is projected to grow 3 percent from 2019 to 2029, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. Additionally, the demand for original music for movies, television shows, and video games is expected to increase, further contributing to job growth opportunities for music composers.

  • Music composers can find work in various industries, including:
  • Film and television
  • Video and mobile game development
  • Advertising and marketing
  • Music production and publishing
  • Live performance and theater

While the competition for these jobs can be fierce, music composers who demonstrate talent, creativity, and professionalism can set themselves apart and increase their chances of landing gigs.

In addition to traditional job opportunities, music composers can also create their own path by leveraging the power of the internet. Many composers have found success by creating and selling their music digitally on platforms such as iTunes, Spotify, and SoundCloud. This approach allows music composers to gain exposure and build a fan base without the need for a music label.

Job Title Median Annual Salary (May 2019) Job Growth (2019-2029)
Music Composer/Arranger $50,590 3% (as fast as average)
Music Director/Conductor $35,800 -2% (decline)
Sound Engineering Technician $53,390 2% (slower than average)

While music composition can be a challenging field, the job outlook and opportunities are promising for those who have the passion and drive to succeed. By staying up-to-date with industry trends and leveraging the power of digital platforms, music composers can build their careers and make their mark in the music industry.

Income Potential as a Music Composer

For many people, becoming a music composer is a dream come true. But it’s not just about the passion for music, as financial stability is also a factor to consider when choosing this career path. Below are some things to keep in mind when it comes to the income potential of a music composer:

  • The average salary of a music composer in the United States is around $51,000 per year. This can vary depending on factors such as experience, location, and genre of music.
  • Some music composers earn a significant amount of money through royalties. This is the amount paid to a composer every time their music is played in public, such as on the radio or in a movie. The amount of royalties received can vary greatly depending on the popularity and success of the music.
  • Being a freelance music composer can offer more flexibility and potentially higher income than working for a company. However, it may also require more work and networking to find clients and opportunities.

It’s important to note that income as a music composer can be inconsistent and may require a lot of hard work and dedication to establish a successful career. However, with the right opportunities and talent, the income potential can be very rewarding and fulfilling.

Here’s a table summarizing the median salaries for music composers in various industries:

Industry Median Salary
TV and film scoring $50,000 – $100,000+
Video game music $50,000 – $75,000
Classical music composition and arrangements $40,000 – $70,000
Commercial jingle writing $40,000 – $60,000

Keep in mind that these are just averages and that income can vary depending on the composer’s experience and success. Overall, music composition can be a financially viable career choice for those with a passion for music and the dedication to succeed.

Challenges Faced by Music Composers in their Professional Journey

In pursuing a career as a music composer, one may face different challenges that can hinder success. These obstacles can range from technical to interpersonal difficulties that require constant effort and perseverance. Hence, if you’re planning to pursue this field, it’s essential to be aware of the challenges you may face as a music composer.

Technical Challenges

  • Mastering Complex Music Theory – Composing music requires in-depth knowledge of music theory, which can be challenging to master, especially for beginners. Learning the different concepts and putting them into practice can take up a lot of time and effort.
  • Creating Original Music – In a competitive industry where originality is highly valued, music composers face the challenge of coming up with unique sounds and styles that capture their audience’s attention.
  • Utilizing Technology – The use of technology has immensely impacted the music composing industry. Some emerging music composers may find it challenging to learn the latest software and hardware used in music production, such as digital audio workstations and virtual instruments.

Interpersonal Challenges

Music production is not a one-person job; thus, interpersonal skills are crucial in navigating the industry. Some interpersonal challenges that may arise are:

  • Teamwork – Bringing different musical elements together requires excellent teamwork skills. Music composers must collaborate with different artists, including performers, producers, and audio engineers, to deliver a final product.
  • Communication – Effective communication is vital, especially in expressing musical ideas and collaborating with other artists. Composers must articulate their vision in a clear and concise manner to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts.
  • Networking – Establishing connections in the music industry is beneficial in growing one’s career. However, some music composers may find it challenging to build a network of clients and collaborators.

Financial Challenges

Despite the passion for music, being a music composer may not always be financially rewarding in the early stages of one’s career. Some financial challenges that music composers may face are:

  • Finding Work Opportunities – Emerging music composers may struggle to find job opportunities in the industry, leaving them with limited earning options.
  • Pricing – Setting a fair and competitive price for their services can also be a challenge, particularly for novice composers who may not have enough experience in the industry.


Being a music composer may sound like an exciting and glamourous career, but as with any profession, it comes with its set of challenges. Overcoming these challenges requires hard work, dedication, and ongoing learning to succeed in this highly competitive industry.

Top Music Composers and their Inspiring Journeys

For aspiring music composers, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the highly competitive music industry. However, with passion, hard work, and dedication, some composers have managed to make a name for themselves and inspire others. Here are seven top music composers and their inspiring journeys:

  • Hans Zimmer: Known for his work on the iconic soundtracks of The Lion King, Pirates of Caribbean, and Inception, Hans Zimmer started his career as a keyboardist in the 70s before transitioning to composing. He’s since won several awards and is one of the most sought-after composers in Hollywood.
  • John Williams: With over 100 film scores, John Williams is one of the most successful music composers in the entertainment industry. He’s famous for his work on Star Wars, Jaws, and Jurassic Park, to name a few. Williams has won five Academy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards, and 25 Grammy Awards.
  • Ennio Morricone: Regarded as one of the greatest film composers of all time, Ennio Morricone is famous for his scores for the Spaghetti Western films of the 1960s. He’s won two Academy Awards, four Grammy Awards, and countless other accolades during his six-decade-long career.
  • Howard Shore: Howard Shore is best known for his work on the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which won him three Academy Awards. He’s also composed scores for other famous films such as The Silence of the Lambs and The Departed.
  • Alexandre Desplat: Alexandre Desplat is a French composer who’s won two Academy Awards for his work on the films The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Shape of Water. He’s also composed for films such as The King’s Speech, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, among others.
  • Mychael Danna: Mychael Danna is a Canadian composer who’s known for his work on Life of Pi, for which he won an Academy Award. He’s also composed for other films such as Moneyball, Little Miss Sunshine, and The Good Dinosaur.
  • Jóhann Jóhannsson: The late Jóhann Jóhannsson was an Icelandic composer known for his work on the film scores of Sicario, Arrival, and The Theory of Everything, for which he won a Golden Globe Award. Sadly, he passed away in 2018, but his work continues to inspire aspiring composers.

Each of these composers has a unique journey that aspiring music composers can learn from. They started with an idea, worked hard to bring it to fruition, and became a source of inspiration for aspiring music composers worldwide.

FAQs about Is Music Composer a Good Career

1. What does a music composer do?

A music composer creates original compositions or arrangements of music for various mediums such as film, television, commercials, video games, and more.

2. Is it hard to become a music composer?

Becoming a music composer takes a lot of dedication, hard work, and training. It can take several years of education and practice to develop the necessary skills and build a solid portfolio.

3. Can you earn a living as a music composer?

Yes, it is possible to earn a living as a music composer. The pay varies depending on the medium and the level of experience, but it can be a lucrative career once you establish yourself in the industry.

4. Is music composition in demand?

Yes, music composition is in demand in various fields such as film, television, video games, and more. As entertainment and media continue to evolve, the need for original music continues to grow.

5. What skills do you need to be a music composer?

As a music composer, you need to have a solid understanding of music theory, composition techniques, and the ability to use digital audio workstations and music notation software. You also need to have good communication skills, as you will often work with clients and collaborate with other musicians.

6. Is music composition a fulfilling career?

For those who have a passion for music and creativity, music composition can be a very fulfilling career. You get to express your emotions and ideas through music and collaborate with other talented individuals in the industry.

7. What are the challenges of being a music composer?

As with any creative career, there are challenges in being a music composer. These challenges can include the competition for jobs, meeting tight deadlines, dealing with rejection, and constantly improving your skills to stay ahead in the industry.

Closing Title: Is Music Composer a Good Career?

Becoming a music composer requires dedication, patience, and hard work, but it can be a rewarding career for those who have a passion for music and creativity. With the growing demand for original music in various industries, there is a lot of potential for growth and success as a music composer. Thank you for reading and we hope you visit again for more career advice and tips!