Example Careers in Contemporary Writing and Production

Below are some of the many careers a contemporary writing and production 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:

Although there are many different kinds of composers assistants, the job, in essence, is about making the composer’s life easier through a combination of technical, musical, and day-to-day help.


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, musical theater show, 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. 


Also called:

Music Prep

Description:

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


Also called:

Music Prep

Description:

Copyists are responsible for proofreading scores and preparing individual parts for film, TV, and video game music 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:

Lyric Writer

Description:

Lyricists write the words to pop songs, show tunes, commercials, and other musical compositions. 


Description:

Music directors oversee the musical elements of a wide variety of television shows and televised events, among them daytime and late-night talk shows; talent competitions such as The Voice and Dancing with the Stars; major broadcast events such as the Super Bowl, the Kennedy Center Honors, and the opening and closing ceremonies for the Olympics; and annual awards shows such as the Oscars and Tonys.


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:

Orchestrators play an important role in the film and television industries, where they create finished scores based on the sketches of composers in those industries. MIDI orchestrators, a distinct group, forgo traditional orchestration techniques, instead specializing in using samples to improve the quality of demos.


Also called:

Artist Songwriter, Singer-Songwriter

Description:

Working alone or in collaboration with others, performing songwriters create, record, release, and perform original songs. 


Also called:

Music Producer, Producer

Description:

Record producers oversee and direct recording projects for musical artists. Although their roles vary by project, producers commonly help artists choose material and adapt arrangements, coach them in the studio, select and hire side musicians, work with the recording engineer, and weigh in on decisions about mixes.


Description:

Possessing excellent songwriting ability and developed track production skills, songwriter-producers are involved every step of the way in the songs they choose to take on—from the writing process to the studio and in between.


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:

Product Representative

Description:

Technology trainers and specialists work with colleagues and clients to help them become proficient using music or sound technology products, and demonstrate the capabilities of these products at industry events.


Also called:

Top-liner, Vocal Producer

Description:

A unique hybrid of singer and songwriter, top-line songwriters work in popular music genres, creating the vocal melodies and lyrics to accompany producers’ “beats,” or electronically produced backing tracks.


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.