Music Composer

Job Description:

A music composer is a creative professional who is responsible for creating original music compositions.

Job Category:
Tourism, Hospitality & Entertainment

What you will do:

Here are the key responsibilities and activities typically associated with being a music composer:

  • creating original music
  • understanding musical theory
  • composers often work closely with directors, producers, or clients to understand their vision and requirements
  • composers may work in various genres such as classical, jazz, electronic, rock, or experimental. They must be versatile and able to adapt their style to suit the requirements of the project
  • composers often engage in the process of editing and arranging their compositions to ensure they flow smoothly and effectively convey the desired emotions or messages
  • composers need to understand the legal aspects of music composition, including copyright laws, licensing agreements, and royalties


You’ll need:

  • technical knowledge of musical theory
  • knowledge of different instruments, their ranges, timbres, and how they work together
  • familiarity with music production software
  • recording and mixing skills
  • melodic and harmonic sensibility

As well as:

  • creativity and artistic skills (creative skills)
  • being able to convey emotion and meaning through your music is a crucial aspect of composition
  • to be innovative and original
  • to have good listening and conversational skills
  • be open to new ideas and approaches
  • have a willingness to experiment with different styles, genres, and techniques
  • the ability to collaborate effectively with others (teamwork skills)
  • time management skills
  • be self-motivated and disciplined
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a music composer, specific qualifications are not strictly required. However, certain subjects and skills can be beneficial in preparing for this career, as they can provide you with a strong foundation in music theory, composition techniques, and general knowledge about music. Here are some subjects and skills that can be valuable for aspiring music composers:

  1. Music: Music is highly recommended for aspiring composers. It provides a solid foundation in music theory, notation, harmony, and composition techniques.
  2. English: Strong communication skills, including writing, can be valuable for expressing your artistic ideas and concepts related to your compositions.
  3. Mathematics: While not directly related to music composition, mathematics can help with understanding rhythm, timing, and complex musical structures.
  4. Art or Design and Technology: These subjects can enhance your creativity and help you develop a strong sense of aesthetics, which can be valuable for creating visually appealing compositions.
  5. ICT (Information and Communication Technology): Basic knowledge of digital audio workstations (DAWs), music production software, and technology used in music composition can be useful.
  6. Drama or Performing Arts: These subjects can help you understand performance dynamics, which can be important when writing music for theatrical productions or other performance contexts.
  7. Foreign Languages: Knowledge of different languages and cultures can provide inspiration and open up opportunities for creating multicultural or multilingual compositions.
  8. History: Depending on your musical interests, a background in music history can provide you with a broader perspective on various musical styles, genres, and historical contexts.

Post School

Further Education in Music Composition
Consider enrolling in higher education programs, such as a Bachelor of Music (BMus) or Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Composition, to receive formal training in music composition.

Private Lessons and Workshops
Seek out private lessons with experienced composers or attend workshops and masterclasses to refine your composition techniques and receive feedback on your work.

Participation in Music Groups and Ensembles
Joining musical groups or ensembles can provide practical experience in composing for different instruments and ensembles.

Networking and Building a Portfolio
Connect with fellow musicians, performers, and industry professionals. Build a portfolio of your compositions to showcase your work to potential clients, performers, or employers.

Career Tips
Remember that a career in music composition often involves a combination of formal education, practical experience, networking, and a strong portfolio of original compositions. Continual learning, creativity, and a passion for music are key elements to succeed as a composer.

Working Hours and Environment:

Typically you could work 44 to 48 hours a week.

A music composer typically works in a private studio, creating and arranging music.

They may also collaborate with musicians, conductors, and producers in recording studios or concert venues.

Some composers may teach or work in academic settings part-time.

Career Path & Progression:

Some composers choose to supplement their income by teaching music composition at schools, universities, or private lessons.