Careers in Composition
Below are some of the many careers a composition major can pursue.
Visit Berklee's Career Communities site to explore more roles by community, industry, program, or location.
An arranger reimagines an existing composition, adapting the instruments, voices, rhythms, and tempo to create a new sound for a piece of music.
Composer's Assistant, Composer Tech, Tech Assistant
An assistant to a composer helps make the composer’s life and work easier through a combination of technical, musical, and day-to-day support.
Composers create musical works that may be performed or recorded by new music ensembles, synchronized with a visual element to create a multimedia experience, or performed as part of an opera or dance concert.
Film Composer, Film Scorer
Film composers create the musical scores that accompany movies.
Television Composer, Film and TV Composer
Television composers write the themes, background score, and source music used in television shows.
Video game composers create the musical scores for video games on a variety of platforms, including consoles, mobile phones, personal computers, and virtual and augmented reality systems.
Conductors prepare orchestras, choral groups, and other music ensembles for performance and lead them on the concert stage. Conductors who play a wider managerial and administrative role within an orchestra are called music directors, while those who focus on studio work are known as session conductors.
Copyists are responsible for proofreading scores and preparing individual parts for performances and recording sessions.
Music Library Composer, Custom Music Composer, Advertising Music Composer, Production Music Writer, General Business Composer
Writing for a wide variety of clients—including businesses, event production companies, software and hardware developers, nonprofits, films and TV shows, and music libraries—freelance composers create music not for the stage but for use in the world around them.
The music director of an orchestra performs three overlapping roles—principal conductor, artistic director, and community arts leader—and has enormous influence over the orchestra's creative direction.
Film Music Editor
Music editors are responsible for editing and syncing the music used in films and television with the action unfolding on screen, along with a number of other important duties.
Music Instructor, Music Lecturer, College/Conservatory/University Professor
A college, conservatory, or university music professor educates students in a variety of topics, from music history and composition to modern entrepreneurship and music business.
Employing the skills of a composer, arranger, and librettist, musical theater adapters fuse existing music, lyrics, and stories with original content to create brand new musicals.
An orchestrator takes a composer's musical sketch and turns it into a score for orchestra, ensemble, or choral group, assigning the instruments and voices according to the composer's intentions.
Film Conductor, Film Score Conductor
Conductors, composers, and orchestrators with strong conducting skills and excellent industry reputations can work as session conductors, helping prepare and lead orchestras in recording studio sessions. The bulk of these opportunities are in the film, television, and video game industries.
Working alone or in collaboration with others, staff writers are content providers who create hit songs for other artists to record and perform.
Teaching artists are practicing, professional artists who have dual careers as educators. They come from every artistic field—music, dance, theater, visual arts, writing—and work in many settings, from schools and museums to hospitals and prisons.
Music Transcriber, Music Transcriptionist
Using specialized computer programs, keen ears, and a deep knowledge of music notation, transcribers create sheet music and, occasionally, entirely new arrangements from musical recordings.