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  • Writer's pictureJack Hughes

ARTICLE - 5 Tips for Young Composers.

Becoming a composer can be a very daunting task at first glance. There are many different skills to learn such as creating convincing orchestral mockups, writing memorable themes or designing new sounds.

In this article, we share with you 5 useful tips that can be utilised to improve your music when starting out as a film composer.

1 – Learn your theory

Film music theory can often be overlooked; it can make all the difference between you and another competitor. From sync points to the musical links between the screen and the underlying emotion, music can completely change the tone of a scene without the audience even realizing, and learning the theory of film music makes this all the easier to apply to your music.

Learning music theory will help you to understand the fundamental building blocks of composition.

2 – Listen to the greats

They are known as the best for a reason. You should broaden your listening across the board by listening to some of the most renowned works and composers such as John Williams, Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman; and works like The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Mission and Braveheart. Try to imitate some of their techniques and see how it interlinks with film music theory.

Studying the work of established composers can be a great way to develop your listening skills when starting out.

3 – Practice orchestral mockups

A great way to improve the quality of your orchestral mockups is to replicate someone else’s work. Take a piece of music from a film you like and try to replicate to the best of your ability with the tools you have at your disposal. This can not only help with your mockup quality, but also improve your scoring ability; directly seeing how composers spread the orchestra, how they use the sections, and the common techniques can take your music up to the next level it may need.

Practice makes perfect: Hone your composition and productions skills so you can create compelling orchestral mockups that will make your clients say "Wow!".

4 – Feedback

Now that you’ve improved your orchestral mockups, the next best thing to do would be to get feedback. Ideally from someone with film music knowledge, in order to inform you on the actual quality of the composition and the fidelity to a real orchestra; however, anyone can tell you how the music feels with the film and how they believe it should feel musically.

Working on student film project can be a great way to build credits for your professional portfolio as a film composer.

5 – Getting projects

One of the most difficult parts to starting out is that you will be using clips for your portfolio that have already been done before. At first this can be great, and a good way to build a starter portfolio, however, it quickly gets dull and uninspiring. At this point, you will be wanting new content for you to compose to. A great place to start is student films, they would be unpaid, but at first, that’s the best you can find for easy supply of content and early portfolio building. There are also hundreds of forums and social media platforms that advertise composer opportunities.

We hope you enjoyed checking out this blog post! Please check out some of our other posts for more film music content likes this.


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