Getting Started with Composing for Films

film composersLearning how to read and write music can open up tons of possible pathways for music careers, including composing for films. Read on for some helpful advice from Linden, NJ piano teacher Richard D




Have you ever found yourself listening to your iPod or stereo, and felt like the music was perfect for whatever you were doing in that moment?  Sometimes, when I’m walking to the store or heading to work while listening to music, the song plays with my imagination and emotions, almost as if I’m in a music video or a movie. Maybe I just have an overactive imagination, but this is the power that music has over us. We can feel the emotions that the piece is expressing. If you’ve ever wanted to be a film composer, I have a few tips that I’d love to share with you.

Pay attention to what other successful composers are doing, because there’s a reason they’re successful. This will begin to change the way you watch movies, as I tend to study movies now, instead of watch them. I like to sit and enjoy the movie, then listen to the soundtrack by itself at a later time. Although sometimes, it’s tough for me not to take notes.

Never stop writing music. The only way you can consistently grow as a composer is to keep working and learning. You need to keep evolving as a musician. The music in a movie is very important; so important that it was the only thing heard in silent movies.  The better you are at your craft, the better your music will be.

Make friends with directors, writers and anyone else in the business. It doesn’t matter how many pieces you write if no one hears them. Building your network is very important in the music industry. Keeping your music on your computer or in your notebook makes it impossible for anyone to hear it. Share what you’ve created, and be proud of it. Creating your own website is a great way to build a network. When you have people to give you projects, whether they are films, commercials or videos, then your work will be seen by their friends as well. In the meantime, practice on movies you already own… just press mute. If you have a program that can rip DVDs and allow you to work on the actual file with Pro-Tools or Logic, practice on those.

Don’t delete anything, and don’t share anything you aren’t finished with yet. This is two points in one for me. There will come a time when you’re working on a piece, and you just don’t like it. Don’t delete it. Just because it isn’t working out now, doesn’t mean it still won’t work later.

Linden, NJ piano lessons with Richard D.Richard D. teaches piano, music recording, music theory and songwriting lessons to students of all ages in Linden, NJ. His specialties include Logic studio and other digital software, hip hop songwriting and production, R&B songwriting, orchestral composition, music theory, and composing for film. He joined the TakeLessons team in December 2012. Learn more about Richard, or search for a teacher near you! 


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