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Career and Education Opportunities for Music Composers in San Francisco, California

For those living in the San Francisco, California area, there are many career and education opportunities for music composers. There are currently 6,500 working music composers in California; this should grow by 14% to about 7,400 working music composers in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for music composers, which sees this job pool growing by about 10.0% over the next eight years. Music composers generally write and transcribe musical scores.

The income of a music composer is about $25 hourly or $53,240 yearly 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. Jobs in this field include: music arranger, songwriter, and arranger.

There are eighty-six schools of higher education in the San Francisco area, including seven within twenty-five miles of San Francisco where you can get a degree to start your career as a music composer. 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 San Francisco 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

Diablo Valley College - Pleasant Hill, CA

Diablo Valley College, 321 Golf Club Rd, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523. Diablo Valley College is a large college located in Pleasant Hill, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 19,768 students. Diablo Valley College has a less than one year and a two to four year program in Music Management and Merchandising which graduated twenty-five and zero students respectively in 2008.

San Francisco State University - San Francisco, CA

San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Ave, San Francisco, CA 94132. San Francisco State University is a large university located in San Francisco, California. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 30,014 students and an admission rate of 67%. San Francisco State University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Music Performance which graduated twenty-eight and seven students respectively in 2008.

Los Medanos College - Pittsburg, CA

Los Medanos College, 2700 East Leland Road, Pittsburg, CA 94565. Los Medanos College is a medium sized college located in Pittsburg, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,360 students. Los Medanos College has one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Music Management and Merchandising which graduated three, one, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Mills College - Oakland, CA

Mills College, 5000 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland, CA 94613. Mills College is a small college located in Oakland, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,481 students and an admission rate of 55%. Mills College has 3 areas of study related to Music Composer. They are:

  • Music Performance, master's degree which graduated 7 students in 2008.
  • Music Theory and Composition, master's degree which graduated 5 students in 2008.
  • Music, Other Specialties, master's degree which graduated 9 students in 2008.

San Francisco Conservatory of Music - San Francisco, CA

San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 50 Oak Street, San Francisco, CA 94102-6011. San Francisco Conservatory of Music is a small school located in San Francisco, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 405 students and an admission rate of 44%. San Francisco Conservatory of Music has 4 areas of study related to Music Composer. They are:

  • Music Performance, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and post-master's certificate which graduated ten, nineteen, and three students respectively in 2008.
  • Music Theory and Composition, bachelor's degree and master's degree which graduated five and seven students respectively in 2008.
  • Conducting, master's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • Voice and Opera, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and post-master's certificate which graduated eleven, twenty-seven, and three students respectively in 2008.

Holy Names University - Oakland, CA

Holy Names University, 3500 Mountain Blvd, Oakland, CA 94619-1699. Holy Names University is a small university located in Oakland, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,103 students and an admission rate of 74%. Holy Names University has bachelor's degree, postbaccalaureate certificate, and master's degree programs in Music Performance which graduated zero, zero, and one students respectively in 2008.

Notre Dame de Namur University - Belmont, CA

Notre Dame de Namur University, 1500 Ralston Ave, Belmont, CA 94002-1908. Notre Dame de Namur University is a small university located in Belmont, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,478 students and an admission rate of 97%. Notre Dame de Namur University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Voice and Opera which graduated one and four students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

AmSAT Certified Teacher: Certified Alexander Technique Teachers have completed a 3 year, 1600 hour course at an AmSAT certified teacher training center.

For more information, see the American Society for the Alexander Technique website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California
San Francisco, California photo by Optigan13

San Francisco is located in San Francisco County, California. It has a population of over 808,976, which has grown by 4.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in San Francisco, 180, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in San Francisco cost $218,300 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, fifty-seven new homes were built in San Francisco, up from fifty-five the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in San Francisco are professional, scientific, and technical services, health care, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, accommodation and food services, and construction. The average travel time to work is about 31 minutes. More than 45.0% of San Francisco residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 16.4%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of San Francisco residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 41.8%, is less than both the national and state average. Gold Mountain Monastery, Golden Gate Community Church of the Nazarene and Golden Gate Lutheran Church are among the churches located in San Francisco. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the United Methodist Church.

San Francisco is home to the Pier 88 and the Prayer Book Cross as well as Helen Wills Playground and Music Concourse. Shopping malls in the area include Yerba Buena Square Shopping Center, Fox Plaza Shopping Center and Galleria At Crocker Center Shopping Center. Visitors to San Francisco can choose from Astoria Hotel, A-1 Inn Motel and Best Western Canterbury Hotel for temporary stays in the area.