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Do I need a college education to proceed with becoming a Music Composer/Arranger?

Is a college education required for me to start this career?

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Subject: Career question for you

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Ann’s Answer

Hi Rashaan - This is a great question. In theory, no, you don't need a degree to compose music. Since composers are usually self-employed, they can create all of the music they want without a degree. There is plenty of software out there that is easily accessible to help copose and record music.

However, to be a successful composer formal education will help you a long way. There is a knowledge required to successfully compose music. For example, understanding music theory is crucial to composing pieces that listeners will enjoy and want to buy. It's also important to learn a number of instruments and formal education will also help with this. You'll have professional educators teaching as opposed to trying to learn on your own.

So, it's not impossible to become a composer without a degree, but those with degrees tend to be par more successful.
I recommend reading the article below for deeper insights. I hope this helps! Good luck!

Ann recommends the following next steps:

https://www.hearteyesmag.com/how-to-become-a-music-composer/
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Prajwal’s Answer

don't waste time and money in college, find a good mentor or work for some good musicians for free
Thank you comment icon Hi Prajwhal, could you offer the Student some more advice about how to find a mentor? Also, how does someone make the transition from working for free to making their own living in this field? Thanks in advance! Alexandra Carpenter, Admin
Thank you comment icon Find local studios / search for them in linkedin/facebook. Send message expressing your interest. Finding a good mentor is very important in any field, Mentor will help you grow. Prajwal S
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Keith’s Answer

Hi Rashaan,

No, you don't need a college education; however, the composers with whom I went to college benefited greatly from going to college. They had access to professors who are also composers who helped them greatly. They had access to incredible musicians who could provide feedback on thier compositions and more importantly perform thier compositions.

If you choose not to go to college, find a great teacher to work with you. This person could be a professor of composition and could expose you to musicians to play your music. Many extremely successful composers and arrangers did not go to college and if you choose that route make sure you find a way to expose yourself to other composers, arrangers and musicians.
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James Constantine’s Answer

Dear Rashaan,

Are you pondering if a college degree is necessary to become a Music Composer/Arranger?

While a college degree is not an absolute requirement to be a successful music composer/arranger, it can certainly provide you with significant advantages. Here's how:

1. Learning and Training: Formal education may not be compulsory for becoming a music composer/arranger, but a college course in music theory, composition, and arrangement can impart invaluable knowledge and skills. A well-designed curriculum can make you proficient in the technicalities of music composition, orchestration, harmony, and counterpoint.

2. Building Connections: College can be a great place to network. You can forge relationships with professors, classmates, and professionals in the industry. These connections can lead to collaborations, job prospects, and mentorship opportunities.

3. Sharpening Skills: College programs often grant access to resources like recording studios, practice rooms, and performance opportunities that can refine your skills as a composer/arranger. Moreover, constructive criticism from seasoned instructors can contribute to your artistic development.

4. Understanding the Industry: Studying music at college can give you a deep understanding of music production techniques, copyright laws, music business practices, and marketing strategies. This knowledge can give you an edge when you venture into your career as a composer/arranger.

5. Exploring Alternatives: It's important to remember that many successful composers and arrangers have gained recognition without formal education. They have used self-study, mentorship, workshops, and practical experience to their advantage. Ultimately, your talent, commitment, creativity, and eagerness to learn and evolve matter the most.

In summary, a college degree is not essential to become a music composer/arranger, but it can provide valuable benefits like education, networking opportunities, skill development, industry knowledge, and resources. However, there are alternative paths for those who prefer not to pursue formal education.

Top 3 Credible Sources Used:

Berklee College of Music: Known for its contemporary music education programs, Berklee College of Music's insights on the importance of education for aspiring composers/arrangers were key in forming this response.

ASCAP (American Society of Composers Authors and Publishers): ASCAP offers crucial information on the music industry and the role of composers/arrangers. Their resources underlined the importance of industry knowledge.

Music Composition Online Courses: Various online platforms offer courses on music composition. These platforms provided insights into alternative paths for aspiring composers/arrangers looking for educational resources outside traditional colleges.

These sources were vital in providing accurate and thorough information on the subject.

GOD BLESS,
JC.
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