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Career and Education Opportunities for Music Composers in Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for music composers. There are currently 4,430 working music composers in Texas; this should grow by 12% to about 4,970 working music composers in the state 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%. Music composers generally write and transcribe musical scores.

A person working as a music composer can expect to earn about $22 hourly or $47,110 per year on average in Texas and about $19 per hour or $41,270 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Music composers earn more than people working in the category of Musical Entertainment generally in Texas and more than people in the Musical Entertainment category nationally. Jobs in this field include: creative director, copyist, and record producer.

There are thirty-five schools of higher education in the Austin area, including five within twenty-five miles of Austin where you can get a degree to start your career as a music composer. The most common level of education for music composers is some college courses. You can expect to spend a short time training to become 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 Austin 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

Austin Community College District - Austin, TX

Austin Community College District, 5930 Middle Fiskville Rd, Austin, TX 78752. Austin Community College District is a large college located in Austin, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 35,798 students. Austin Community College District has an associate's degree program in Music Management and Merchandising which graduated fifteen students in 2008.

The University of Texas at Austin - Austin, TX

The University of Texas at Austin, , Austin, TX 78712. The University of Texas at Austin is a large university located in Austin, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 49,984 students and an admission rate of 44%. The University of Texas at Austin has 2 areas of study related to Music Composer. They are:

  • Music Performance, bachelor's degree which graduated 15 students in 2008.
  • Music Theory and Composition, bachelor's degree which graduated 2 students in 2008.

Texas State University-San Marcos - San Marcos, TX

Texas State University-San Marcos, 601 University Dr, San Marcos, TX 78666. Texas State University-San Marcos is a large university located in San Marcos, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 29,125 students and an admission rate of 74%. Texas State University-San Marcos has a bachelor's degree program in Music Performance which graduated six students in 2008.

Concordia University Texas - Austin, TX

Concordia University Texas, 11400 Concordia University Dr., Austin, TX 78726. Concordia University Texas is a small university located in Austin, Texas. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,147 students and an admission rate of 66%. Concordia University Texas has a bachelor's degree program in Religious/Sacred Music.

Southwestern University - Georgetown, TX

Southwestern University, 1001 University Ave, Georgetown, TX 78626. Southwestern University is a small university located in Georgetown, Texas. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,270 students and an admission rate of 65%. Southwestern University has 3 areas of study related to Music Composer. They are:

  • Music Performance, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • Music Theory and Composition, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • Musicology and Ethnomusicology, bachelor's degree.

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: Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas
Austin, Texas photo by Wikidiculous

Austin is located in Travis County, Texas. It has a population of over 757,688, which has grown by 15.4% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Austin, 88, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Austin are valued at $139,500 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, 1,928 new homes were constructed in Austin, down from 3,155 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Austin are educational services, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 22 minutes. More than 40.4% of Austin residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 14.7%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Austin is 6.5%, which is less than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of Austin residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 46.2%, is less than both the national and state average. Pilgrim Rest Primitive Baptist Church, Adam and Eve Garden Baptist Church and Pleasant Hill Baptist Church are all churches located in Austin. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

Austin is home to the Morris Williams Golf Course and the Sixth Street Historic District as well as Wild Basin Wilderness Park and Rudolph Gamblin Field. Shopping centers in the area include Capital Plaza Shopping Center, Capital Plaza Shopping Center and Lamar Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Austin can choose from Club Hotel by Doubletree Austin University Area, Austin Folk House and AmeriPark at Austin for temporary stays in the area.