Why Composers Need To Learn Music Production
Things have truly changed in the music industry since the rise of powerful computing and the accessibility of having a personal computer in your home and while travelling. The musician can create entire orchestral pieces, fully fledged with the entire range of the orchestra, choirs, synthesizers, and anything musical one can imagine - it's all possible on a small computer today. And that's where the job of the composer also has changed from being solely about writing the music to now having to be composer, orchestrator, mixing & mastering engineer - pretty much do everything on your own from beginning of writing music to releasing a finished master.
The film directors, game creators and everyone who needs music on their projects are now getting used to a composer doing it all on their own. They expect you to be able to write and produce the music they hire you for. The only exception is when there is a big budget, because then they will pay for recording, mixing and mastering and the entire package while you only write the music.
Being then able to produce your own music with a high production value is something that will set you up for a good career in music - and it's just really nice to have the skill and knowledge of how to actually make properly sounding music. People in the industry will want to hire you further because you deliver awesome music to them quickly and with production quality that truly pleases their ears.
Of course, if you're getting the gigs where the client has enough money to hire proper mixing and mastering engineers to create the final mixdowns for the film or game, you don't have to bother too much with the final mix of your music - just use some great sample libraries, make your music as you want it and just throw it over to the mixing guys and your job is done.
In those cases, you don't need to worry too much about producing your music before letting go of it for the next man or woman.
But for most of composers today, having the skills to produce your own music is quite frankly a necessity. For trailer music, this is even more true. Publishers of trailer music expect their composers to be able to produce clean and powerful mixes so they can further send it to a mastering engineer to do the final master. Of course you also have the huge budget projects here too where a live orchestra is involved but that's a tiny minority of all trailer music
You may still collaborate with people for important mixes and masters to games and movies, but having the knowledge and proficiency to do it yourself will put you on an edge in the industry - especially if you're good. And it's become quite easy to learn and do because of the tools and products of today's technological advancement. Composers with insane production skills are highly praised for their music today!
You also save some money and gain important skills in your own field - not so shabby! And if you have solid skills in production, you will also have great insight into the big budget projects you will be involved in and can speak the language of the mix/master engineers.
Now go, young padawan (ugh that's getting old), and learn how to produce some sick mixes and masters of your own music! You and your clients will both be happy for it.
Until next time!
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Co-founder of Evenant, Walid is a composer, mechanical engineer,
concept artist and entrepreneur from Sweden. Travelling and exploring new opportunities, always looking for new things to learn and create.