Career Development

16 Music Composer Skills for Your Career and Resume

Learn about the most important Music Composer skills, how you can utilize them in the workplace, and what to list on your resume.

Music composers create original music for a variety of purposes, including movies, video games, advertisements, and more. To be a successful music composer, you need to have a strong understanding of music theory and composition, as well as the ability to use music software to create your compositions. If you’re interested in becoming a music composer, learning about the necessary skills can help you get started in this rewarding career.

Score Reading

Music composers use their score reading skills to interpret the musical notes and symbols that represent a song. This allows them to understand how each instrument should play its part in order to create the desired effect. Music composers also need to be able to read music notation, which is a system of written symbols that represents musical sounds.


Music composers often work with other people, so it’s important to be patient and willing to collaborate. You may also need patience when waiting for feedback on your music from clients or producers. It can take time to create a full song, so you should be able to wait patiently while working on the project.

Music Theory

Music theory is the knowledge of how to read and write musical notation. It’s important for music composers to understand how to read and write sheet music so they can communicate their ideas clearly with other musicians. Music theory also helps them understand how different notes, chords and scales work together to create a melody or song. This skill also allows them to compose original songs that sound professional and polished.

Musical Instruments

Musical instruments are the tools you use to create music. Music composers often have a variety of musical instrument skills, including knowledge of how to play various instruments and an ability to read sheet music for each instrument they can’t play. For example, if you’re composing music for a string quartet, you need to know how to play the violin, viola and cello so you can write music that matches the sound of those instruments.


Communication is the ability to convey information clearly and concisely. As a music composer, you may work with other musicians or artists who need to understand your musical ideas. You also might be working on projects that require collaboration between different departments, such as marketing and production. Communication skills are important in any workplace environment, so it’s beneficial for a music composer to have strong communication abilities.


Creativity is the ability to think of new ideas and solutions. Music composers use creativity when they create music that fits a specific purpose or audience. For example, if you’re composing background music for an advertisement, you might need to come up with unique melodies and rhythms that are attention-grabbing but not distracting. You can also be creative in how you present your work. For example, some composers compose music for video games, which requires them to think of ways to make their music interactive.

Time Management

Time management is the ability to plan and execute tasks in a timely manner. Music composers often work with clients who have deadlines, so it’s important for them to be able to meet those expectations. For example, if a client hires a composer to write an original song by Friday, they need to know how long it will take the composer to complete the task and then ensure that they can finish on time.

Audio Editing Software

Audio editing software is a tool that allows you to alter audio files. This can include removing background noise, adjusting the volume of certain sounds or adding effects like echo or reverb. Having proficiency in audio editing software can help you make changes to your music compositions and improve their quality. You may also use this skill when creating soundtracks for video games, movies or television shows.


Arranging is the process of modifying existing music to fit a specific purpose. Music composers often use arranging skills when creating background music for films, television shows or video games. For example, if a director requests an instrumental track that can be used in multiple scenes, the composer may rearrange the original song into several shorter versions. This allows the director to choose which version works best with each scene.


Transcription is the ability to write down music from memory. Music composers often use transcription when they’re creating new compositions based on existing songs. For example, if a composer wants to create an original version of a song that already exists, they can listen to the original song and transcribe it into sheet music. This allows them to understand how the song was composed so they can recreate it with their own style.

Attention to Detail

Attention to detail is a necessary skill for music composers, as it allows them to create accurate and detailed scores. Music composers must be able to notice small changes in pitch or rhythm when composing melodies and harmonies. They also need to pay close attention to the instruments they’re writing for so that their compositions are easy to read and play.


Conducting is the ability to lead a group of musicians in playing music. Music composers often conduct their own compositions, and they may also be hired by other musicians or groups to direct them. This skill involves knowing how to read sheet music and understanding musical theory so you can explain what each part of the composition should sound like.


Organization is the ability to keep track of your work and materials. As a music composer, you may need to organize your musical scores, recordings, samples and other resources for each project. Having strong organizational skills can help you stay on task and complete projects efficiently. You may also use organization skills when creating budgets or planning travel for live performances.

Sound Design

Sound design is the process of creating and manipulating sound effects for a project. Music composers often use sound design to add depth to their music, which can help listeners visualize what they’re hearing. For example, if a composer creates an instrumental track about a forest, they might use sound design to create the sounds of birds chirping or water flowing in order to make the listener feel like they’re in nature.

Recording Equipment

Music composers use recording equipment to capture the sounds they need for their compositions. They may also use this equipment to record themselves playing instruments or singing so they can hear how their music will sound when it’s played back. Knowing how to operate and maintain recording equipment is an important skill for a music composer because it allows them to produce high-quality work that listeners enjoy.


Orchestration is the process of creating musical scores for an orchestra to perform. Music composers use this skill when they create music that requires a large group of musicians to play together. This includes composing classical music, which often requires orchestration skills.

Music composers also use orchestration when they write songs with multiple instruments or vocalists. For example, if a song has two singers and one singer sings higher than the other, the composer may need to adjust their notes so both singers can sing in harmony.

How Can I Learn These Music Composer Skills?

There is no one answer to this question, as everyone learns differently and at their own pace. However, some suggestions on how to learn the skills mentioned above could include studying music theory, practicing with musical instruments, and using audio editing software to create and arrange music. Additionally, it is important to be patient and have attention to detail when composing music. Being organized and having good time management skills is also crucial in order to be a successful music composer.


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