What Do Music Composers and Arrangers Do (including Their Typical Day At Work)

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Job Description, Daily Responsibilities, and Work Life

Music Composers and Arrangers

Music Composers and Arrangers write and transcribe musical scores.

Salary
$65720
Becoming One
Medium
Education
Associate's degree
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth

Personality
Interest Match


Job Description

Job Description

Music Composers and Arrangers write and transcribe musical scores. They also apply elements of music theory to create musical and tonal structures, including harmonies and melodies.

Other tasks include:

  • Use computers and synthesizers to compose, orchestrate, and arrange music.
  • Determine voices, instruments, harmonic structures, rhythms, tempos, and tone balances required to achieve the effects desired in a musical composition.
  • Experiment with different sounds, and types and pieces of music, using synthesizers and computers as necessary to test and evaluate ideas.
  • Write changes directly into compositions, or use computer software to make changes.
  • Transcribe ideas for musical compositions into musical notation, using instruments, pen and paper, or computers.
  • Guide musicians during rehearsals, performances, or recording sessions.

We asked Music Composers and Arrangers how satisfied they are with their job. Here is what they said.

Job satisfaction

80%

How meaningful is this job

88%


80% of them said they were satisfied with their job and 88% said they find that their job makes the world a better place or helps to make someone else’s life better.



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Typical Day At Work

On a daily basis, Music Composers and Arrangers determine voices, instruments, harmonic structures, rhythms, tempos, and tone balances required to achieve the effects desired in a musical composition. They use computers and synthesizers to compose, orchestrate, and arrange music.

A typical day for a Music Composer and Arranger will also include:

  • Experiment with different sounds, and types and pieces of music, using synthesizers and computers as necessary to test and evaluate ideas.
  • Explore and develop musical ideas based on sources such as imagination or sounds in the environment.
  • Apply elements of music theory to create musical and tonal structures, including harmonies and melodies.
  • Transcribe ideas for musical compositions into musical notation, using instruments, pen and paper, or computers.
  • Score compositions so that they are consistent with instrumental and vocal capabilities such as ranges and keys, using knowledge of music theory.

We asked some Music Composers and Arrangers a few questions to find out what else does their work day look like. Here is what we found.

Do you have telephone conversations everyday in this job? 60% said yes
How important is it to work in a team in this job? 25% said very important
Do you have group discussions everyday in this job? 26% said yes
Do you talk or work with customers everyday in this job? 18% said yes
Do you have to deal with angry customers everyday in this job? 2% said yes
Do you have to make decisions everyday in this job? 45% said yes

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Music Composers and Arrangers also accept commissions to create music for special occasions. They may also transpose music from one voice or instrument to another to accommodate particular musicians.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Music Composers and Arrangers Guide musicians during rehearsals, performances, or recording sessions. They might also Fill in details of orchestral sketches, such as adding vocal parts to scores.

In addition, they Study original pieces of music to become familiar with them prior to making any changes.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them Write changes directly into compositions, or use computer software to make changes.

To some Music Composers and Arrangers, it is also their responsibility to Study films or scripts to determine how musical scores can be used to create desired effects or moods.


Working life

Working hours

More than 40 hours per week

Working schedule

Irregular work schedule that changes depending on weather conditions, customer demand or contract duration.

In a typical work week as a Music Composer and Arranger, you can expect to work more than 40 hours per week.

Do Music Composers and Arrangers work in an office-style work environment?

Every day
71%


Never
17%


Do Music Composers and Arrangers work outdoors?

Never
85%


Once a year
12%



Is this right for me

Best personality for this career

The Artists and The Entrepreneurs

People who are suitable for this job tends to like working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules..

They also like starting up and carrying out projects. They like leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

You can read more about these career personality types here.



Learn more about Music Composers and Arrangers

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Related to Music Composers and Arrangers Job Description

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Additional resources

http://www.bls.gov/OOH/entertainment-and-sports/music-directors-and-composers.htm
http://nasm.arts-accredit.org/
http://futureofmusic.org/


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