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Suppose I'm a music major in a traditional college music program?
Great! Chances are that a lot of the tools you'll need to be successful at writing music for film are included in your composition program.

But there are many areas that are not, and it's best to start early in ramping up your education to include music for picture.

A great way to do this is by studying books about the industry, including "On The Track" by Karlin/Wright (Schirmer Books), "The Film and Television Composer's Resource Guide" by Northam/Miller (Hal Leonard Corp.), "Music, Money and Success" by Brabec/Brabec (Schirmer Books) and others.

Then, try and learn as much as you can from people currently working in the business... read interviews, articles, etc. and get a handle on how things are done in the industry and how you can apply your compositional skills.

The bottom line is that you'll need to augment your traditional college composition skills with a lot of specific film music related knowledge.

One thing to remember is that in the academic world of music composition (not for picture), music is often treated and taught as a "pure art form" where the art of creation is not treated as a practical matter, but purely as an aesthetic, pure art form. In music for picture, the music you write is much more "functional" than "pure art," so it's important to be able to think practically and funciontally while still keeping a creative mindset and writing original music. Also, you'll often be asked in the film music world to write music that "sounds like" or resembles existing scores for other films. This is common, and it's important that you be able to handle requests liket his without feeling "artistically" threatened. In film music, directors will speak most often in terms of examples from other scores that serve as points of reference. It's your job to determine "just how much" the reference music really represents what the filmmaker wants from you. It's not an easy task!

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