Composers' Forum

Music Composers Unite!

For the first time in my life I'm considering pursuing a career in writing music. for 20 plus years I've had a passion for writing midi music in many genres for the purpose of experimentation and personal entertainment. I just recently began writing orchestral pieces and feel as though I've uncovered a hidden talent I never knew I had. To this point Ive only written music for my own personal entertainment and haven't shared much with the world but recently there's something deep within my spirit saying "go pursue music." So, where to go? Thats my question to the universe...

My skills: I am good in the art of writing and arranging with midi (logic X). I have incredible natural rhythm and timing and I have a sophisticated ear for harmony and melody. I have purchased the full VSL Vienna suite and have the audio engineering skills to mix and master brilliant sound.  Others have told me I have excellent taste in music. I have a deep irresistible love for music, a passionate empathetic heart, a vibrant imagination, a childlike curiosity and I believe music can heal the world. 

My challenges: I have zero knowledge in reading and writing actual music. I dont know how to write a score down on paper. I have zero college. I also have never been trained on any instrument but have an intermediate understanding of music theory and can hang on the keys in a jam band scenario. To this point I have only scored 2 low budget indie short films so no other professional experience. My skills for the most part lean heavily on my ear and imagination.

My question to the forum is, what are some realistic ways to make composing my career? Are there any real jobs out there that pay you salary or does this have to be contract work? Is it realistic that I can make orchestral (midi mock up, midi production) writing my only job or will it only be plausible as a side hustle? Without any experience or college education is it realistic that my music portfolio could carry me? If no, what if my music is exceptionally good?

So, what kind of work is available in this world in 2021 for a composer like me? I really do wish to quit my day job here, haha! Any input or suggestions are greatly appreciated : )

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Hi Sean, welcome to the forum.  I'm not a professional and I don't have any work prospects for you but I'll take up some space here until someone comes to help you out.

We have some professionals and talented amateurs here but we aren't an employment agency, although someone may have some suggestions for you as there are many here who I'm sure would also like to get some work.

We mainly like to discuss composing with an emphasis on classical and orchestral music and film music as well. We aren't great at production or engineering but we do discuss it sometimes since it's important.

Honestly it's kind of hard to know what to say to you until we can hear some of your music. If you can upload a short piece or link us to a site with a longer work we'd rather talk about one piece at a time than get referred to a song list somewhere. Hopefully that will get a useful discussion started.

Thanks for your reply! I'm working on something now to present to the forum : )

I echo Ingo's views about us here. I realised early on that no way could I earn a living as a composer - which seems to be more about who you know than compositional skills - and the wealth to afford you the right contacts. (They say Beethoven's fame was preordained because he was a most famous performer.)

But I like to put my work before the public with or without payment. So I've worked with various groups locally in London, so it's been multi-media projects, the most recent a contemporary dance group. Unfortunately, lockdown has put the kaibosh on communal activities so orchestras and so on have come to a standstill.

I'm also of the sentiment that I don't want composing to be just a job. It usually means composing to order - which I do to an extent but wouldn't like to rely on for income. 

So, like Ingo, I can't really help except to say that as a composer you're at a disadvantage in being unable to read and write music on paper as that does rule out reproducing scores and parts for conventional instruments. If you can play piano even by ear it's a great help). So it's a question of putting your name around with examples of you work as much as you can. Write to people in multimedia. If you like contemporary music look through the BBC3 programme schedule to see who's on their artists list then make contact with the people. If you're ok in music technology, you have a start and could try to get work in a studio as a stepping stone. You could advertise your services on the web.

I honestly don't think a college education helps a lot except for making contacts. 

I dare say you'll be up against fierce competition. So try to stay optimistic. 

Meanwhile - compose. Post your work here. Comment on others' efforts - you won't be short of variety - or people who use VSL! Take the rough with the smooth.

All the best,

Dane.

Thanks for the advice Dane! I adore your music by the way. Its been exciting to discover the magic that is on this forum. Honestly it's a bit intimidating. I just finished a piece and Im about to post in the "music analysis and critique" forum.. Im a little nervous haha. Hope I don't get my head ripped off ; )

Dane Aubrun said:

I echo Ingo's views about us here. I realised early on that no way could I earn a living as a composer - which seems to be more about who you know than compositional skills - and the wealth to afford you the right contacts. (They say Beethoven's fame was preordained because he was a most famous performer.)

But I like to put my work before the public with or without payment. So I've worked with various groups locally in London, so it's been multi-media projects, the most recent a contemporary dance group. Unfortunately, lockdown has put the kaibosh on communal activities so orchestras and so on have come to a standstill.

I'm also of the sentiment that I don't want composing to be just a job. It usually means composing to order - which I do to an extent but wouldn't like to rely on for income. 

So, like Ingo, I can't really help except to say that as a composer you're at a disadvantage in being unable to read and write music on paper as that does rule out reproducing scores and parts for conventional instruments. If you can play piano even by ear it's a great help). So it's a question of putting your name around with examples of you work as much as you can. Write to people in multimedia. If you like contemporary music look through the BBC3 programme schedule to see who's on their artists list then make contact with the people. If you're ok in music technology, you have a start and could try to get work in a studio as a stepping stone. You could advertise your services on the web.

I honestly don't think a college education helps a lot except for making contacts. 

I dare say you'll be up against fierce competition. So try to stay optimistic. 

Meanwhile - compose. Post your work here. Comment on others' efforts - you won't be short of variety - or people who use VSL! Take the rough with the smooth.

All the best,

Dane.

Hi Sean,

I've been writing music for 40 years and I couldn't do it with learning how to write. If you want others to play your music you have to learn how to notate it. You don't need college for that, and it depends on what sort of music you want to write. If your talking orchestral music, it is best you go to college. 

As for work, well there is still a lot of work around for composers across fields; movies, TV, Radio, advertising and so on, that said, I gave up long ago thinking I could make a living out of music, but many do. I just do not have what it takes. 

Hope this helps.

rob

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