The Various Roles/Professionals Necessary to Bring Music to Life


  1. Music Programmer – If the Composer doesn’t directly enter in the notes of the Composition into his/her computer via Midi data, then a Music Programmer is necessary.  This role may be necessary anyway on larger projects with tight deadlines (even if the Composer enters in most of it him/herself).  The end product of this role is usually what the “Hiring Entity” will hear before it goes to be recorded live in a studio (if live recording is within in the budget).
  2. Lyricist – Not all Composers write lyrics and if your project is in need of Vocal music (more than Ooohs and Ahhs) then a Lyricist will be necessary.  Some Recording Artists (J) write their own lyrics, so this role may be covered by another professional.
  3. Orchestrator – This role is necessary for projects that need a lot of musical content created in a short amount of time, and when the music will be recorded live in a studio.  The Composer may only have time to write the basic Melody and Chord progression, so an Orchestrator is necessary to define the parts that are played by each instrument.  Orchestrators are traditionally only necessary when an Orchestra is involved, however this isn’t always the case as many Orchestrators are very versatile and musically intelligent people.  So their skill set can be applicable over a wide variety of instrument combinations.
  4. Music Preparation/Copyist – They provide any potential session musicians with the appropriate notation needed for recording the score.  Preparing sheet music can be a daunting and highly time consuming task, especially if an orchestra is involved.
  5. Proofreader – These professionals are necessary to make sure the parts are correct in the score and that the players are playing the correct notes during the recording session.  They can also point out how to record the written music more efficiently, as mentioned above.
  6. Producer – This role is necessary if the Composer is conducting at the recording session or purely for a “fresh set of ears” that can help make the performances more emotional and cohesive.  Sometimes a Composer has sat so long with a piece of music that it may be hard for him/her to hear something slightly different (perhaps something that makes the score sound better); a Producer can help here.
  7. Musician Contractor – This professional takes care of hiring all of the necessary Session Musicians for the recording session.  Larger scores may require a large number of session musicians and thus coordinating everyone’s schedules, staying within budget, booking the studio/engineers, working with Unions, etc. can be very time consuming.
  8. Conductor – Absolutely necessary if the Composer is going to be listening in the booth, perhaps taking on the role of Producer as well.  Although this role usually isn’t necessary if your musical score isn’t Orchestral.
  9. Session Musician – Necessary to bring the musical score to life and drive the emotion of the piece.  Sometimes only a single musician is needed, but other times 50, 70, or 100+ are necessary to capture the sound the “Hiring Entity” desires.
  10. Vocalist/Recording Artist – This is worth mentioning separate from a Session Musician as the vocal recording session can often be separate from the other musical instruments.  Furthermore there can be differences in payment rate and contract specifics (especially when it comes to crediting the vocalist for his/her performance).
  11. Instrument Tech – Where there are instruments, there is a need for an expert in their preparation and repair.
  12. Recording Engineer – These professionals are necessary to capture the performance of the session musicians during the recording session..  They need to be expertly familiar with the studio (gear, mics, software, etc.) and set it up in a way to efficiently/effectively record the Session Musician(s).
  13. Music Editor – This Role can be necessary for preparing the recording session (Usually in Pro Tools).  They will monitor the recording session, make any necessary adjustments, edit/clean up the recorded tracks, and label/organize everything for the Mixing Process.
  14. Mixing Engineer – This professional is especially important in modern musical styles that use anything outside of the recorded “acoustical” realm.  Production is a big part of the end product of those styles, however they are still an essential step in the Music Creation Process.  A few of their jobs are making sure all of the instruments are balanced in the song and letting important musical lines or soloists “shine” through the piece.
  15. Mastering Engineer – Necessary for balancing all of the tracks relative to one another for implementation into your project (and/or potentially the soundtrack as well).  The final touches/last layer of paint that makes it all “gel” together as a cohesive whole.
  16. **Composer Assistant – May be necessary for all of the other tasks the Composer would not have time for.  Answering Calls/Emails, booking the studio/musicians (if a Contractor isn’t involved), scheduling meetings, troubleshooting the Composer’s personal studio, Taking Notes at the Spotting Session, etc.
  17. **Music Supervisor – It is worth mentioning that a Music Supervisor may be a part of the process for some of the projects (especially Film/TV).  Although not directly hired by the Composer for the purpose of finishing a minute of music, it’s essential that the musical palette stay consistent across both the Original Score and Source/Licensed Music.