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My 5 Rookie Mistakes As A Media Composer







My 5 Rookie Mistakes As A Media Composer
Written by Tim Rabjohns for Music For TV Masterclass - November 6th 2012


Here at Online Music Masterclass we recognise that in order to progress along the path to being a pro, you have to make a lot of mistakes on the way.  I’ve certainly made my fair share – and I wanted to tell you some of mine and what I learned from them.

  1. I was getting lots of briefs asking for cutting edge sounding tracks – which made me really excited.   So, I sat and immediately composed a cool sounding track which I fell in love with.  Unfortunately most of the programs or channels tend to target viewers with a wide range of age and tastes. What I learned here was: what I consider “contemporary”  is most likely to be way too ‘cool’ for my clients.  Also it can be a good idea to send your client references beforehand to check they are on board with what you are considering.

  1. I remember sitting doing the 50th cut down on a job and thinking “did we talk about this at the start of the job?” Always try and ask about money and conditions upfront – try and discuss how many cutdowns, versions etc. does the client need in advance.

  1. One day I discovered that the client had used another piece of music on the cut to take to  his client meeting, because I had not handed the music in on time.  Sending your pitch after the deadline is always a bad idea and it can lead to clients getting used other music.

  1. How many of us make music for the love of it?  All of us, right…?  However,  I learned the hard way that you may be asked to “ruin” your beloved composition for the sake of the job. This may contradict the reason that I went into music, but in music for the media I have had to balance art and commerce in order to satisfy my clients.  So, put emotion into your music by all means but don’t get too emotionally attached to it!

  1. There have been many times when I have ended up sending about 50 emails with different changes to my clients.  What I realised is that although the internet has given us any wonderful things, sometimes it would actually take less time for them to come to my studio and work on the track together. (plus you get to spend some time with your clients, which is never a bad thing).  So, if you can do everything you can to get your client to come to you when it counts.

There’s certainly nothing to be ashamed of in not quite getting things right – it’s what you learn from it that is the main thing.  Maybe you would like to share some of your Rookie Mistakes and tell us what you learnt…?



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