Tips By Industry Composers
As a composer today, it’s usual, especially for beginners - that one has to take the role as a composer, orchestrator, recording engineer and mixer. What advice do you have for beginners who feel overwhelmed with taking on all these roles? Is there any of these fields you would recommend learning about and practicing first? Would you recommend people to specialize in one field and be less good in others, or to become pretty good in every of them?
Co-Founder of EOS, Composer
For a composer, start with composing and develop a good ear simultabeously. To be successful focus on your best skill but get the basics that come with other aspects in the field youre working on. For composing also be open for all genre. Ahh and also learn to trust your feeling.
I'd say be better than most in what matters, yet still be good enough in other skills to be well grounded. Simply put, specialized I prefer. Also, I think composition is much more important than production. It's the idea that the director treasures most first. Production is about execution, which there are usually other people to help out with. If you're good at production though, it solidifies you more as someone to hire.
Co-Founder of EOS, Composer
I’d make sure to focus on your personal strongest skill the most, but also having basic knowledge of all the other fields is smart, as it influences both your composition and overall end result. In general, I'd focus on one thing; composition for example, and outsource the production if possible.
Composer and Sound Designer
Personally I'm a big preacher of focusing on your strenghts like crazy. If you’re freaking great at composing and totally blow at things like mixing & mastering, outsource that stuff. Focus on stuff related to composing to grow your talent in that field to amazing levels. It's going to take way less effort, and make you way more valuable than an all-rounded person who's not amazing at anything.
No one can be good at everything since day one itself - although ultimately, how good a composer you are is defined by how deep your knowledge runs in all these fields.
I would recommend mastering composition first, because that is where your main contribution comes in. For the rest, you can hire others initially, or if you end up working with a library, they can hire external mixers, orchestrators etc. For this stage, you need to know basic/intermediate knowledge of these fields so you can tell such external sound engineers what you need from them.
So essentially, as a beginner, you need to specialize in composing while being "less good" in others, and once you feel you are extremely well-versed with the composition side of things, you can begin developing more advanced knowledge in the other fields. However, do NOT completely ignore any of these other fields. As I said before, basic/intermediate knowledge of everything is essential, no matter what stage of your career you are at.