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Is Music Composition a Major Worth Pursuing? – Western Musical Instruments

Is Music Composition a Major Worth Pursuing?

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Is Music Composition a Major Worth Pursuing?

Music is a universal language that connects people from all walks of life. Many aspiring musicians dream of composing their own songs and making a career out of it. However, the question remains, is music composition a major worth pursuing? In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of studying music composition as a major, and help you decide if it’s the right path for you. So, grab your favorite instrument and let’s dive in!

Quick Answer:
Yes, music composition is a major worth pursuing. It can lead to a rewarding career as a composer, music director, or music teacher, among other possibilities. A degree in music composition can provide you with a solid foundation in music theory, composition techniques, and music technology, which are essential skills for a successful career in the music industry. Additionally, pursuing a degree in music composition can also help you develop your creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills, which can be valuable in many different careers. Overall, if you have a passion for music and are interested in pursuing a career in music composition, it is definitely a major worth considering.

Understanding Music Composition as a Major

What is Music Composition?

Definition and Explanation

Music composition refers to the art of creating original music, either by writing sheet music or by recording a performance. It involves arranging musical elements such as melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre to create a composition that can be performed by musicians.

Different Types of Music Composition

There are various types of music composition, including classical, jazz, popular, electronic, and experimental. Each type has its own unique characteristics and techniques, and composers often specialize in one or more genres.

Classical music composition typically involves writing music for orchestras, chamber ensembles, or solo instruments. Jazz composition often involves improvisation and the use of chord progressions and scales unique to jazz. Popular music composition may involve writing music for singers or instrumentalists that can be performed in a variety of settings, from live performances to recordings. Electronic music composition often involves the use of technology to create and manipulate sounds. Experimental music composition may involve unconventional techniques or the use of non-traditional instruments.

In summary, music composition is a broad field that encompasses many different types of music and techniques. Whether or not it is a major worth pursuing depends on individual interests and career goals.

Why Study Music Composition as a Major?

  • Benefits of pursuing a major in music composition
    • Development of creative skills: Music composition as a major provides students with the opportunity to develop their creative abilities by exploring different musical styles and techniques. This allows them to create original works of music that can be performed by themselves or others.
    • Improved technical skills: A music composition major requires students to study music theory, harmony, counterpoint, and orchestration. These subjects help students to develop a strong foundation in music, enabling them to understand and apply musical concepts to their compositions.
    • Collaboration with other musicians: As a music composition major, students have the opportunity to work with other musicians, such as performers, conductors, and music producers. This collaboration allows them to gain a deeper understanding of how music is created and performed, and how it can be used to express emotions and ideas.
  • Opportunities available to music composition majors
    • Performances: Music composition majors have the opportunity to have their compositions performed by university ensembles, student groups, or professional performers. This provides them with valuable feedback on their work and helps them to refine their compositional skills.
    • Internships and jobs: Music composition majors can take advantage of internships and job opportunities in the music industry. These may include positions as music editors, composers for film and television, or music directors for theater productions.
    • Graduate studies: A major in music composition can lead to graduate studies in music composition, music theory, or related fields. This can provide further opportunities for career advancement and creative growth.

How Is Music Composition Taught in Universities?

The study of music composition in universities typically involves a comprehensive curriculum that covers various aspects of music theory, performance, and technology. The following are some of the common courses offered in music composition programs:

  • Music Theory: This course covers the fundamentals of music theory, including notation, scales, modes, chords, and harmony. Students learn to analyze and interpret musical scores and to create their own compositions using these concepts.
  • Composition: This course focuses on the creative aspect of music composition, including techniques for developing musical ideas, structuring compositions, and crafting musical form. Students are encouraged to experiment with different styles and genres and to develop their own unique voice as composers.
  • Electronic Music and Sound Design: This course explores the use of technology in music composition, including the use of digital audio workstations (DAWs), synthesizers, and other electronic instruments. Students learn to create and manipulate sounds, as well as to integrate technology into their compositions.
  • Orchestration: This course focuses on the art of orchestrating music for different instrumental combinations, including string, woodwind, brass, and percussion ensembles. Students learn to write for specific instruments and to create effective textures and colors in their compositions.
  • Music History: This course covers the history of Western classical music, including major composers, styles, and movements. Students learn to contextualize their own compositions within the broader history of music and to appreciate the evolution of musical styles over time.

Overall, the study of music composition in universities provides students with a comprehensive education in music theory, performance, and technology, as well as the opportunity to develop their own creative voice as composers.

Evaluating the Value of a Music Composition Major

Key takeaway: Pursuing a major in music composition can be a worthwhile endeavor for those interested in developing their creative skills, technical abilities, and collaborating with other musicians. It provides a comprehensive education in music theory, performance, and technology, and leads to diverse career options in various industries.

Job Prospects for Music Composition Majors

While pursuing a music composition major, it is crucial to consider the potential career paths and salary expectations. Understanding the job prospects can help students make informed decisions about their future.

Overview of Potential Career Paths

Music composition majors have diverse career options in various industries. Some of the common career paths include:

  • Film and television scoring
  • Video game music composition
  • Advertising and jingle writing
  • Music education and teaching
  • Performance and conducting
  • Classical and orchestral composition
  • Music production and engineering

Salary Expectations for Music Composition Majors

The salary of a music composition major varies depending on the specific job, industry, and location. However, here are some general salary ranges for various music-related careers:

  • Film and television scoring: $50,000 – $150,000+
  • Video game music composition: $40,000 – $120,000+
  • Advertising and jingle writing: $40,000 – $100,000+
  • Music education and teaching: $40,000 – $80,000+
  • Performance and conducting: $50,000 – $150,000+
  • Classical and orchestral composition: $40,000 – $100,000+
  • Music production and engineering: $50,000 – $150,000+

It is important to note that these figures are not definitive and can vary significantly based on factors such as experience, skill level, and geographic location.

In conclusion, while pursuing a music composition major, it is crucial to consider the potential career paths and salary expectations. The diverse career options and earning potential make music composition a major worth pursuing for those passionate about music and eager to build a successful career in the industry.

Importance of Skill Development in Music Composition

While the question of whether pursuing a music composition major is worth it may be subjective, one factor that cannot be overlooked is the importance of skill development in this field. The study of music composition offers students the opportunity to develop a range of skills that are not only valuable in the job market but also essential for creating meaningful and impactful music.

Some of the skills that are acquired through music composition study include:

  • Musical Theory: This is the foundation of music composition and involves understanding the rules and principles that govern the structure of music. Through the study of musical theory, students learn how to read and write sheet music, understand chord progressions, and create melodies that are both harmonious and pleasing to the ear.
    * Arranging and Orchestration: Music composition is not just about creating melodies but also about arranging and orchestrating them for different instruments and ensembles. Through the study of arranging and orchestration, students learn how to write music that is appropriate for different types of ensembles, including orchestras, bands, and chamber groups.
  • Songwriting: In addition to creating classical music, music composition majors also learn how to write songs that are suitable for popular genres such as pop, rock, and hip-hop. Songwriting involves not only creating catchy melodies but also crafting lyrics that are meaningful and memorable.
  • Music Technology: With the rise of digital music technology, music composition majors must also be proficient in using software and hardware tools to create and record music. This includes understanding how to use digital audio workstations (DAWs), mixing and mastering techniques, and various other technologies that are essential for modern music production.

The relevance of these skills in the job market cannot be overstated. Whether pursuing a career in film scoring, music production, or composition, having a strong foundation in musical theory, arranging, orchestration, songwriting, and music technology is essential for success. Moreover, these skills are not limited to the music industry and can be applied in a variety of fields, including advertising, video game development, and theater.

In conclusion, the importance of skill development in music composition cannot be overlooked. Whether one chooses to pursue a career in music or not, the skills acquired through music composition study are valuable and applicable in a variety of fields.

Comparison with Other Music-Related Majors

When considering the value of a music composition major, it is important to compare it with other music-related majors. In this section, we will explore some of the other music-related majors and evaluate the unique value of a music composition major.

Exploring Other Music-Related Majors

There are several music-related majors that students can pursue, including:

  • Music performance
  • Music education
  • Music therapy
  • Music production
  • Music business

Each of these majors has its own unique focus and goals. For example, music performance majors focus on developing technical skills and performing in public, while music education majors focus on teaching music to others.

Evaluating the Unique Value of a Music Composition Major

While there are other music-related majors, a music composition major offers a unique value that is not found in other majors. Here are some reasons why:

  • Creativity: Music composition majors are focused on creating original music. This allows them to express their creativity and develop their own unique style.
  • Technical Skills: Music composition majors learn a variety of musical techniques, including harmony, counterpoint, and orchestration. These skills are essential for composing music, but are not taught in other music-related majors.
  • Career Opportunities: Music composition majors have a wide range of career opportunities, including composing for film and television, writing music for video games, and creating music for theater productions.
  • Academic Challenge: Music composition majors face a rigorous academic challenge, as they are required to study music theory, music history, and other related subjects. This challenge helps them develop critical thinking and analytical skills that are valuable in any career.

Overall, while there are other music-related majors, a music composition major offers a unique value that is not found in other majors. Its focus on creativity, technical skills, career opportunities, and academic challenge make it a major worth pursuing for those interested in a career in music.

Making an Informed Decision About a Music Composition Major

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Major

Choosing a major is a crucial decision that can impact one’s academic and professional life. When considering a music composition major, it is important to evaluate various factors that can affect one’s success and fulfillment in the field. In this section, we will discuss some key factors to consider when choosing a music composition major.

Personal Interests and Goals

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a major is personal interests and goals. Students should ask themselves if they have a genuine passion for music composition and if they see themselves pursuing a career in this field. It is essential to have a deep understanding of music theory, composition techniques, and the creative process to succeed in this major. Students should also consider their long-term goals and how a music composition major can help them achieve them.

Career Aspirations

Another crucial factor to consider is career aspirations. Students should research the job market and the various career paths available to music composition majors. They should consider the demand for music composers in different industries, such as film, television, video games, and advertising. It is also important to consider the competitiveness of the field and the skills and experience required to succeed.

Financial Considerations

Financial considerations are also an essential factor to consider when choosing a major. Music composition majors may require additional expenses for equipment, software, and music lessons. Students should also consider the cost of tuition, room, and board, as well as the availability of financial aid and scholarships. It is important to have a realistic understanding of the financial implications of pursuing a music composition major and to make informed decisions about managing finances.

In conclusion, choosing a major requires careful consideration of various factors, including personal interests and goals, career aspirations, and financial considerations. Students should take the time to evaluate these factors and make an informed decision about pursuing a music composition major.

Advice from Music Composition Professionals

Insights from Successful Music Composition Majors


1. What is music composition as a major?

Music composition is a major that focuses on the creation of original music. This can include composing for various instruments, vocals, and ensembles, as well as electronic and digital media. Students who pursue this major will learn about different musical styles, techniques, and theories, and will develop their skills in composition, arranging, and music notation.

2. What skills do I need to have to succeed in music composition?

To succeed in music composition, it is important to have a strong understanding of music theory and a good ear for music. Students should also have a passion for creating music and be able to express their ideas through composition. Additionally, proficiency in an instrument or voice is helpful, as well as the ability to work well with others in ensemble settings.

3. What careers can I pursue with a degree in music composition?

A degree in music composition can lead to a variety of career paths, including composing for film, television, and video games, teaching music at the college or university level, and working as a freelance composer or arranger. Other possible career paths include conducting, music therapy, and working in the music industry in roles such as music producer or editor.

4. What kind of classes will I take in a music composition program?

In a music composition program, students will take classes in music theory, counterpoint, harmony, composition, and arranging. They may also study music history, music technology, and music education. Some programs may also offer elective courses in areas such as jazz composition, electronic music, and music business.

5. Are there any prerequisites for studying music composition?

Prerequisites for studying music composition can vary depending on the program. Some programs may require an audition or portfolio review, while others may require a minimum GPA or standardized test scores. Some programs may also require prior study in music theory or performance. It is important to check with individual schools to determine their specific prerequisites for studying music composition.

The Honest Truth About Majoring in Music Composition

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