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Career and Education Opportunities for Music Composers in Los Angeles, California

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for music composers in the Los Angeles, California area. There are currently 6,500 jobs for music composers in California and this is projected to grow 14% to 7,400 jobs by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for music composers are expected to grow by about 10.0%. In general, music composers write and transcribe musical scores.

The income of a music composer is about $25 hourly or $53,240 annually on average in California. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $19 per hour or $41,270 yearly on average. Earnings for music composers are better than earnings in the general category of Musical Entertainment in California and better than general Musical Entertainment category earnings nationally. Music composers work in a variety of jobs, including: music writer, music producer, and songwriter.

There are twenty-eight schools within twenty-five miles of Los Angeles where you can study to be a music composer, among 274 schools of higher education total in the Los Angeles area. Music composers usually hold some college courses, so it will take a short time to learn to be a music composer if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Music Composer

In general, music composers write and transcribe musical scores.

Music composers apply elements of music theory to generate musical and tonal structures, including harmonies and melodies. They also decide on voices and tone balances required to produce the effects desired in a musical composition. Equally important, music composers have to experiment with different sounds, and types and pieces of music, using synthesizers and computers as needed to test and evaluate concepts. They are often called upon to write changes directly into compositions, or use computer software to make changes. They are expected to score compositions so that they are consistent with instrumental and vocal capabilities such as ranges and keys, using knowledge of music theory. Finally, music composers develop original musical forms, or write within circumscribed musical forms such as sonatas or operas.

Every day, music composers are expected to be able to note differences between sounds as they change tone and volume. It is also important that they articulate ideas and problems.

It is important for music composers to talk with producers and directors to define the nature and placement of film or television music. They are often called upon to study films or scripts to establish how musical scores can be used to generate desired effects or moods. Somewhat less frequently, music composers are also expected to write music for commercial mediums, including advertising jingles or film soundtracks.

Music composers sometimes are asked to copy parts from scores for individual performers. They also have to be able to accept commissions to generate music for special occasions and transpose music from one voice or instrument to another to deal with particular musicians. And finally, they sometimes have to transpose music from one voice or instrument to another to deal with particular musicians.

Like many other jobs, music composers must be reliable and believe in innovation and creative thought.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Los Angeles include:

  • Actor. Play parts in stage, television, or motion picture productions for entertainment, information, or instruction. Interpret serious or comic role by speech, gesture, and body movement to entertain or inform audience. May dance and sing.
  • Art Director. Formulate design concepts and presentation approaches, and direct workers engaged in art work, layout design, and copy writing for visual communications media, such as magazines, books, and packaging.
  • Artistic Director. Audition and interview performers to select most appropriate talent for parts in stage, television, or motion picture productions.
  • Camera Operator. Operate television, video, or motion picture camera to photograph images or scenes for various purposes, such as TV broadcasts, advertising, or motion pictures.
  • Choreographer. Create and teach dance. May direct and stage presentations.
  • Dancer. Perform dances. May also sing or act.
  • Film or Videotape Editor. Edit motion picture soundtracks, film, and video.
  • Fine Artist. Create original artwork using any of a wide variety of mediums and techniques.
  • Music Director. Direct and conduct instrumental or vocal performances by musical groups.
  • Musician. Play one or more musical instruments in recital, in accompaniment, or as members of an orchestra, band, or other musical group.
  • Singer. Sing songs on stage, radio, or motion pictures.
  • Writer. Create original written works.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Music Composer Training

California State University-Los Angeles - Los Angeles, CA

California State University-Los Angeles, 5151 State University Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90032. California State University-Los Angeles is a large university located in Los Angeles, California. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 20,856 students and an admission rate of 62%. California State University-Los Angeles has a master's degree program in Music Performance which graduated fifteen students in 2008.

Long Beach City College - Long Beach, CA

Long Beach City College, 4901 E. Carson St., Long Beach, CA 90808-1706. Long Beach City College is a large college located in Long Beach, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 26,097 students. Long Beach City College has less than one year, one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Music Management and Merchandising which graduated fifteen, fifteen, five, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Cerritos College - Norwalk, CA

Cerritos College, 11110 Alondra Blvd, Norwalk, CA 90650-6298. Cerritos College is a large college located in Norwalk, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 22,228 students. Cerritos College has an associate's degree and a two to four year program in Music Management and Merchandising.

California State University-Northridge - Northridge, CA

California State University-Northridge, 18111 Nordhoff St, Northridge, CA 91330. California State University-Northridge is a large university located in Northridge, California. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 36,208 students and an admission rate of 69%. California State University-Northridge has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Music Performance which graduated seventy-five and thirteen students respectively in 2008.

Biola University - La Mirada, CA

Biola University, 13800 Biola Ave, La Mirada, CA 90639-0001. Biola University is a medium sized university located in La Mirada, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,893 students and an admission rate of 81%. Biola University has 4 areas of study related to Music Composer. They are:

  • Religious/Sacred Music, bachelor's degree which graduated 10 students in 2008.
  • Music Performance, bachelor's degree which graduated 9 students in 2008.
  • Music Theory and Composition, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • Music, Other Specialties, bachelor's degree which graduated 8 students in 2008.

Santa Ana College - Santa Ana, CA

Santa Ana College, 1530 W. 17th Street, Santa Ana, CA 92706-3398. Santa Ana College is a large college located in Santa Ana, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 26,464 students. Santa Ana College has a less than one year and a two to four year program in Music Management and Merchandising which graduated two and zero students respectively in 2008.

Orange Coast College - Costa Mesa, CA

Orange Coast College, 2701 Fairview Road, Costa Mesa, CA 92628-5005. Orange Coast College is a large college located in Costa Mesa, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 24,700 students. Orange Coast College has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Music Management and Merchandising which graduated two, eleven, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Los Angeles City College - Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles City College, 855 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029. Los Angeles City College is a large college located in Los Angeles, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 17,310 students. Los Angeles City College has a one to two year program in Music Management and Merchandising.

Antelope Valley College - Lancaster, CA

Antelope Valley College, 3041 West Ave K, Lancaster, CA 93536-5426. Antelope Valley College is a large college located in Lancaster, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,800 students. Antelope Valley College has a less than one year and a two to four year program in Music Management and Merchandising which graduated two and zero students respectively in 2008.

Fullerton College - Fullerton, CA

Fullerton College, 321 E Chapman Avenue, Fullerton, CA 92832-2095. Fullerton College is a large college located in Fullerton, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 22,500 students. Fullerton College has less than one year, one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Music Management and Merchandising which graduated four, seven, zero, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Citrus College - Glendora, CA

Citrus College, 1000 W Foothill Blvd, Glendora, CA 91741-1899. Citrus College is a large college located in Glendora, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 13,501 students. Citrus College has a one to two year and a two to four year program in Music Management and Merchandising which graduated fifty-one and zero students respectively in 2008.

Los Angeles Music Academy - Pasadena, CA

Los Angeles Music Academy, 370 S Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena, CA 91105. Los Angeles Music Academy is a small school located in Pasadena, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs. It has 140 students and an admission rate of 96%. Los Angeles Music Academy has a one to two year program in Music Performance which graduated seventy-one students in 2008.

Golden West College - Huntington Beach, CA

Golden West College, 15744 Golden West, Huntington Beach, CA 92647-2710. Golden West College is a large college located in Huntington Beach, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,000 students. Golden West College has one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Music Management and Merchandising which graduated four, one, and zero students respectively in 2008.

University of Southern California - Los Angeles, CA

University of Southern California, University Park, Los Angeles, CA 90089. University of Southern California is a large university located in Los Angeles, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 33,747 students and an admission rate of 22%. University of Southern California has 7 areas of study related to Music Composer. They are:

  • Music Performance, bachelor's degree, postbaccalaureate certificate, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated fourteen, thirty-two, twenty-seven, and fourteen students respectively in 2008.
  • Music Theory and Composition, bachelor's degree, postbaccalaureate certificate, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated seven, seventeen, two, and one students respectively in 2008.
  • Musicology and Ethnomusicology, doctor's degree which graduated 2 students in 2008.
  • Conducting, bachelor's degree and master's degree which graduated zero and one students respectively in 2008.
  • Voice and Opera, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated eight, twelve, and two students respectively in 2008.
  • Music Management and Merchandising, bachelor's degree which graduated 52 students in 2008.
  • Music, Other Specialties, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree.

University of California-Irvine - Irvine, CA

University of California-Irvine, , Irvine, CA 92697. University of California-Irvine is a large university located in Irvine, California. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 25,899 students and an admission rate of 56%. University of California-Irvine has a bachelor's degree program in Music Performance which graduated twenty-one students in 2008.

Pepperdine University - Malibu, CA

Pepperdine University, 24255 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90263. Pepperdine University is a medium sized university located in Malibu, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 7,170 students and an admission rate of 35%. Pepperdine University has a bachelor's degree program in Music Theory and Composition which graduated one student in 2008.

University of California-Los Angeles - Los Angeles, CA

University of California-Los Angeles, 405 Hilgard Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1405. University of California-Los Angeles is a large university located in Los Angeles, California. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 37,782 students and an admission rate of 24%. University of California-Los Angeles has bachelor's degree, master's degree, post-master's certificate, and doctor's degree programs in Musicology and Ethnomusicology which graduated one, nine, six, and ten students respectively in 2008.

Los Angeles Pierce College - Woodland Hills, CA

Los Angeles Pierce College, 6201 Winnetka Ave, Woodland Hills, CA 91371-0002. Los Angeles Pierce College is a large college located in Woodland Hills, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 21,832 students. Los Angeles Pierce College has a less than one year program in Music Management and Merchandising which graduated two students in 2008.

Concordia University - Irvine, CA

Concordia University, 1530 Concordia West, Irvine, CA 92612-3299. Concordia University is a small university located in Irvine, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,452 students and an admission rate of 62%. Concordia University has a bachelor's degree program in Music Performance.

Chapman University - Orange, CA

Chapman University, One University Dr., Orange, CA 92866. Chapman University is a medium sized university located in Orange, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 6,131 students and an admission rate of 50%. Chapman University has 4 areas of study related to Music Composer. They are:

  • Music Performance, bachelor's degree which graduated 3 students in 2008.
  • Music Theory and Composition, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • Conducting, bachelor's degree.
  • Voice and Opera, bachelor's degree which graduated 10 students in 2008.

Cypress College - Cypress, CA

Cypress College, 9200 Valley View, Cypress, CA 90630-5897. Cypress College is a large college located in Cypress, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,990 students. Cypress College has a less than one year and a two to four year program in Music Management and Merchandising which graduated two and zero students respectively in 2008.

Hope International University - Fullerton, CA

Hope International University, 2500 E Nutwood Ave, Fullerton, CA 92831-3199. Hope International University is a small university located in Fullerton, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 841 students and an admission rate of 80%. Hope International University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Religious/Sacred Music which graduated three and eight students respectively in 2008.

Los Angeles Valley College - Valley Glen, CA

Los Angeles Valley College, 5800 Fulton Avenue, Valley Glen, CA 91401-4096. Los Angeles Valley College is a large college located in Valley Glen, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 18,550 students. Los Angeles Valley College has less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree programs in Music Management and Merchandising which graduated three, one, and one students respectively in 2008.

California State University-Fullerton - Fullerton, CA

California State University-Fullerton, 800 N State College Blvd, Fullerton, CA 92831-3599. California State University-Fullerton is a large university located in Fullerton, California. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 36,990 students and an admission rate of 60%. California State University-Fullerton has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Music Performance which graduated sixteen and twelve students respectively in 2008.

Musicians Institute - Hollywood, CA

Musicians Institute, 1655 McCadden, Hollywood, CA 90028. Musicians Institute is a small school located in Hollywood, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,312 students and an admission rate of 70%. Musicians Institute has 2 areas of study related to Music Composer. They are:

  • Music Performance, one to two year, associate's degree, and bachelor's degree which graduated fifty-two, 232, and nine students respectively in 2008.
  • Music, Other Specialties, less than one year which graduated 344 students in 2008.

California Institute of the Arts - Valencia, CA

California Institute of the Arts, 24700 W McBean Pky, Valencia, CA 91355-2397. California Institute of the Arts is a small school located in Valencia, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,374 students and an admission rate of 37%. California Institute of the Arts has 2 areas of study related to Music Composer. They are:

  • Music Performance, bachelor's degree, postbaccalaureate certificate, and master's degree which graduated twenty, zero, and thirty-nine students respectively in 2008.
  • Music Theory and Composition, bachelor's degree, postbaccalaureate certificate, and master's degree which graduated fifteen, zero, and twenty-four students respectively in 2008.

California State University-Long Beach - Long Beach, CA

California State University-Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90840-0115. California State University-Long Beach is a large university located in Long Beach, California. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 37,891 students and an admission rate of 47%. California State University-Long Beach has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Music Performance which graduated five and twenty-two students respectively in 2008.

Claremont Graduate University - Claremont, CA

Claremont Graduate University, 150 E Tenth St, Claremont, CA 91711-6160. Claremont Graduate University is a small university located in Claremont, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 2,045 students. Claremont Graduate University has 2 areas of study related to Music Composer. They are:

  • Religious/Sacred Music, doctor's degree.
  • Musicology and Ethnomusicology, master's degree and doctor's degree which graduated four and zero students respectively in 2008.

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LOCATION INFORMATION: Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles, California photo by Diliff

Los Angeles is located in Los Angeles County, California. It has a population of over 3,833,995, which has grown by 3.8% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Los Angeles, 166, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Los Angeles are valued at $361,500 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, seven hundred twelve new homes were built in Los Angeles, down from 1,551 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Los Angeles are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 25.5% of Los Angeles residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.1%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Los Angeles is 13.9%, which is greater than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Los Angeles residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 58.1%, is more than both the national and state average. All Peoples Christian Church, All Saints Episcopal Church and All Saints Roman Catholic Church are some of the churches located in Los Angeles. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the LDS (Mormon) Church.

Los Angeles is home to the Balboa Municipal Golf Course and the Angels Flight Railway as well as Hazard Park and State Street Recreation Center. Shopping centers in the area include Encino Junior Shopping Center, Encino Oaks Shopping Center and Encino Town Center Shopping Center. Visitors to Los Angeles can choose from Best Western Mid-Wilshire Plaza, Best Western Westwood Pacific and Alma Lodge for temporary stays in the area.