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Career and Education Opportunities for Music Composers in Santa Clara, California

Music composer career and educational opportunities abound in Santa Clara, California. 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. In general, music composers write and transcribe musical scores.

Music composers earn about $25 per hour or $53,240 per year on average in California and about $19 hourly or $41,270 per year on average nationally. Compared with people working in the overall category of Musical Entertainment, people working as music composers in California earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Musical Entertainment nationally. Jobs in this field include: music writer, music producer, and songwriter.

There are five schools within twenty-five miles of Santa Clara where you can study to be a music composer, among thirty-five schools of higher education total in the Santa Clara area. The most common level of education for music composers is some college courses. 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 Santa Clara 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

Stanford University - Stanford, CA

Stanford University, , Stanford, CA 94305. Stanford University is a large university located in Stanford, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 19,782 students and an admission rate of 9%. Stanford University has a doctor's degree program in Music Theory and Composition which graduated three students in 2008.

San Jose State University - San Jose, CA

San Jose State University, 1 Washington Sq, San Jose, CA 95192-0001. San Jose State University is a large university located in San Jose, California. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 32,749 students and an admission rate of 64%. San Jose State University has a bachelor's degree program in Music Performance which graduated fourteen students in 2008.

Ohlone College - Fremont, CA

Ohlone College, 43600 Mission Blvd, Fremont, CA 94539-0390. Ohlone College is a large college located in Fremont, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 11,083 students. Ohlone College has a less than one year and a two to four year program in Music Management and Merchandising which graduated three and zero students respectively in 2008.

Santa Clara University - Santa Clara, CA

Santa Clara University, 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95053. Santa Clara University is a medium sized university located in Santa Clara, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 7,987 students and an admission rate of 61%. Santa Clara University has a master's degree program in Religious/Sacred Music.

Foothill College - Los Altos Hills, CA

Foothill College, 12345 El Monte Rd, Los Altos Hills, CA 94022. Foothill College is a large college located in Los Altos Hills, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 19,837 students. Foothill College has one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Music Management and Merchandising which graduated one, seven, and zero 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: Santa Clara, California

Santa Clara, California
Santa Clara, California photo by Coolcaesar

Santa Clara is located in Santa Clara County, California. It has a population of over 110,200, which has grown by 7.7% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Santa Clara, 158, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Santa Clara cost $196,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, forty-three new homes were constructed in Santa Clara, down from eighty-five the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Santa Clara are computer and electronic products, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is computer and electronic products, professional, scientific, and technical services, and construction. The average commute to work is about 22 minutes. More than 42.4% of Santa Clara residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 16.6%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Santa Clara is 10.9%, which is less than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Santa Clara residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 43.2%, is less than both the national and state average. Peace Lutheran Church, Good News Community Church and Universal Church of the Master are some of the churches located in Santa Clara. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Muslim Estimate.

Santa Clara is home to the Santa Clara Unified School District Office and the Santa Clara Municipal Golf Course as well as Westwood Acres Park and Washington Park. Shopping centers in the area include Moonlite Shopping Center, Fairway Glen Shopping Center and Youth Shopping Center.