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Music Composer or Arranger

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Life As a Music Composer or Arranger

Position Description Write and transcribe musical scores.

A Day in the Life of a Music Composer or Arranger

  • Confer with producers and directors to define the nature and placement of film or television music.
  • Fill in details of orchestral sketches, such as adding vocal parts to scores.
  • Copy parts from scores for individual performers.
  • Guide musicians during rehearsals, performances, or recording sessions.
  • Study films or scripts to determine how musical scores can be used to create desired effects or moods.
  • Arrange music composed by others, changing the music to achieve desired effects.

What Every Music Composer or Arranger Should Know

When polled, Music Composers and Arrangers say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Coordination: Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

Types of Music Composer or Arranger Jobs

  • Score Composer
  • Conceptor
  • Music Producer
  • Arranger
  • Jingle Writer

Are There Job Opportunities for Music Composers and Arrangers?

In the United States, there were 74,800 jobs for Music Composer or Arranger in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 5.7% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 4,300 new jobs for Music Composer or Arranger by 2026. There will be an estimated 7,700 positions for Music Composer or Arranger per year.


The states with the most job growth for Music Composer or Arranger are Colorado, Utah, and North Carolina. Watch out if you plan on working in Vermont, Kansas, or Wisconsin. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Music Composer or Arranger Average Salary

The salary for Music Composers and Arrangers ranges between about $21,640 and $112,820 a year.


Music Composers and Arrangers who work in Minnesota, Georgia, or New Jersey, make the highest salaries.

How much do Music Composers and Arrangers make in each U.S. state?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $75,050
Arizona $57,810
California $64,600
Colorado $50,800
Connecticut $77,550
District of Columbia $77,220
Florida $72,420
Georgia $73,470
Hawaii $51,230
Illinois $40,220
Indiana $66,460
Iowa $52,430
Kansas $55,290
Kentucky $49,610
Louisiana $53,600
Maryland $58,570
Massachusetts $56,200
Michigan $51,180
Minnesota $88,570
Mississippi $53,000
Missouri $60,590
Montana $29,100
Nebraska $46,650
New Jersey $73,320
New Mexico $48,440
New York $66,120
North Carolina $48,920
Ohio $44,920
Oklahoma $38,530
Oregon $46,000
Pennsylvania $46,010
Rhode Island $64,200
South Carolina $53,700
Texas $61,210
Utah $57,780
Vermont $56,130
Washington $71,980
Wisconsin $71,350

Tools & Technologies Used by Music Composers and Arrangers

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Music Composers and Arrangers may use on a daily basis:

  • Audacity
  • Avid Technology Sibelius
  • MakeMusic Finale

Becoming a Music Composer or Arranger

Learn what Music Composer or Arranger education requirements there are.


What work experience do I need to become a Music Composer or Arranger?


Where do Music Composers and Arrangers Work?


Music Composers and Arrangers work in the following industries:



Image Credit: via Creative Commons CC0

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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