Becoming a successful composing artist is something that millions of talented creators dream about. Getting to experience a career in such a fast-paced, innovative, and exciting field is certainly worth the thrill. Unfortunately, countless people never quite reach the stardom that they are hoping for as the competition is fierce and the requirements to get an entry-level opportunity are quite tough. After all, spending years on training or going to college to get a degree within this field is often mandatory. So, how exactly should someone passionate about composing pursue their dream role?
Start the Process Early
Given the level of competition that you will face as an aspiring artist of any kind, you must start your venture early. This means learning the basics of music history and theory at a relatively early age. Since there are many resources that anyone can use for free, you could easily build a strong foundation of knowledge by relying on Google and YouTube. Besides the theoretical side of things, you will need to begin working on your music as well. One of the easiest and most efficient ways to improve your skills fast is to attend a music camp where experienced professionals hold lectures for dozens of students. These tend to be seasonal events with very wide eligibility criteria. In other words, you should have no issues finding a good camp that welcomes people of all ages and experience levels.
Go to College
In case that you are beyond the stage of learning the basics and attending camps, it is probably time to take your passion to the next level. That stage will be post-secondary education. Courtesy of the rise of music degrees, there are now hundreds of options for anyone seeking to get a bachelor’s as a composing artist. Before choosing any particular program, however, you must complete your due diligence and research all of the alternatives. Doing so will help you narrow down your options and focus on the ones that are the best fit for your personality, expectations, and goals.
It is further important that you recognize how your job outlook will not disappear in case you decide to skip college. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, the music directing and composing industry is a slow-moving one. In 2018, for instance, the job outlook had a one-percent increase compared to the year prior. That means that there was practically no relevant change to the number of jobs. So, while a bachelor’s degree may not be mandatory, not having one will make it extremely difficult to get a job.
Choose an Area to Specialize In
As you approach the end of your post-secondary education, you will start taking classes that aim to specialize in a certain area. This is also the best timeframe for you to look into internship opportunities. Most students who attend programs to become composing artists are eligible for paid internships that offer solid compensation and overtime pay. Thus, you will be able to cover the cost of your education while getting to see a glimpse of your upcoming career. Not to mention the excellent networking opportunities and relationships that you will build.
In case that your school offers specialization tracks, you will have to determine what sub-field of composing interests you the most. This is because the employers who seek composers come from a wide range of markets such as film, marketing, live performance, or freelance spheres. Someone who decides to work for a company that produces movies will need to know different things than someone who works directly with musicians. Hence why the specialization is amongst the most important parts of your education.
Consider an Additional Degrees
Although you may be impatient to complete all of your coursework and finish college, you will eventually need to consider prolonging your academic career. More specifically, you should weigh the benefits and shortcomings of getting a master’s degree. Most composing artists spend anywhere from one to three years on such studies and often can complete them at the same institution. As per the aforementioned data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, having a master’s will make you eligible to work as a music director. In case you just want to do composing, however, getting a master’s right after your bachelor’s degree is generally not needed.
Network and Look for Jobs
Once you finish your college education and decide to venture out into the workforce, it is time to start looking for a job. For those who completed an internship, have outstanding grades, multiple demo records, and many professional relationships, getting an entry-level position will be borderline effortless. Folks that will not be so lucky are those who did not do any industry-related work yet, have average grades, and possess no experience with professional networking. Nonetheless, if you belong to the latter group, you will still be able to find a job. The only difference is the fact that you will need to double or triple the amount of research and time that you invest in the process. Regardless of your status, always remember to use modern resources such as online hiring platforms. Doing so could significantly reduce the overhead costs related to your job hunting and minimize the downtime between your graduation and professional start date.
One of the most important common denominators to each of the aforementioned steps is hard work and persistence. That means that you should always seek new ways to improve your skills. Moreover, you must continue composing as much as you can and try to build a versatile portfolio that includes various types of demonstration records. That way, you will learn some of the most common software that the industry uses, unique inversions, and much more. Not to mention that all employers seeking to hire a composing artist will prioritize candidates who bring rich experiences.