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.



Also called:

Music Arranger

Description:

An arranger reimagines an existing composition, adapting the instruments, voices, rhythms, and tempo to create a new sound for a piece of music. 


Also called:

Composer's Assistant, Composer Tech, Tech Assistant

Description:

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.


Also called:

Classical Composer

Description:

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.


Also called:

Film Composer, Film Scorer

Description:

Film composers create the musical scores that accompany movies.


Also called:

Television Composer, Film and TV Composer

Description:

Television composers write the themes, background score, and source music used in television shows. 


Description:

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.


Also called:

Maestro

Description:

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.


Also called:

Music Prep

Description:

Copyists are responsible for proofreading scores and preparing individual parts for performances and recording sessions.


Also called:

Music Library Composer, Custom Music Composer, Advertising Music Composer, Production Music Writer, General Business Composer

Description:

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.


Also called:

Musical Director

Description:

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.


Also called:

Film Music Editor

Description:

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.


Also called:

Music Instructor, Music Lecturer, College/Conservatory/University Professor

Description:

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. 


Description:

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.


Description:

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.


Description:

Proofreaders examine music notation for errors or ambiguity, correcting problems as they're found. Their careful attention allows composers, arrangers, and transcribers to focus solely on the music.


Also called:

Film Conductor, Film Score Conductor

Description:

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.


Also called:

Staff Songwriter

Description:

Working alone or in collaboration with others, staff writers are content providers who create hit songs for other artists to record and perform.


Also called:

Artist Educator

Description:

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.


Also called:

Music Transcriber, Music Transcriptionist

Description:

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.