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.
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.
Copyists are responsible for proofreading scores and preparing individual parts for performances and recording sessions.
Copyists are responsible for proofreading scores and preparing individual parts for film, TV, and video game music 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.
Book Writer, Dramatist
Librettists write the scripts and lyrics for operas and musicals.
Lyricists write the words to pop songs, show tunes, commercial jingles, and other musical compositions.
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.
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.
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.
Artist Songwriter, Singer-Songwriter
Working alone or in collaboration with others, performing songwriters create, record, release, and perform original songs.
Music Producer, Producer
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.
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.
Working alone or in collaboration with others, staff writers are content providers who create hit songs for other artists to record and perform.
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.
Top-liner, Vocal Producer
A unique hybrid of singer and songwriter, top-line songwriters work in popular music genres, where they create the vocal melodies, harmonies, and lyrics to accompany producers’ "beats"—digitally constructed instrumental tracks.
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.