What Is the Job Description of a Music Editor?

Have you ever been intrigued by the way music builds your interest or sets the mood in a film or music video? Music editors choose, mix, and balance music and coordinate it with scenes in movies or music videos. If you have a good ear, technological sense and musical knowledge, you might want to consider becoming a music editor. Read on to find out more about this career. Schools offering Ethnomusicology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Occupation Overview

Music editors can be found in a number of environments, but many jobs concentrate on the production of movies and music videos. Daily tasks are similar in both cases, however the overreaching goals of the two jobs are very different in length of project and thematic development through music. As a music editor, you'll probably have duties and skills related to sound engineering, as well. After production, you mix the music and create an effective balance and flow for the film's soundtrack.

If you are a music editor working on films, you will synchronize music to specific scenes, taking into account dialogue, sound effects, and action to make sure that the music fits into the scene well and creates the mood that the director wants. This often involves obtaining recordings of music that wasn't specifically written for the film and integrating it into the movie's soundtrack. You may also play a role in creating new music for films.

In music videos, the music editor puts the video clips together with the song, making sure that the audio and video are synchronized. Because music videos are significantly shorter than films, and the focus is the song itself, the art of music editing in this case is found in the combination of sound with video.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Similar Occupations Film/Video Editor, Electronics Engineering Technician, Radio and Television Broadcast
Professional Certification Available through music editing software like Avid and Logic Pro
Work Environment Typically in the studio, full-time, sometimes on a tight contract deadline
Required Education Field specific postsecondary training or education recommended

Skills and Abilities

In order to succeed as a music editor, one must possess strong collaboration and communication skills, as the job requires high levels of interacting with other professionals. In creating original music and obtaining pre-written music for a film's soundtrack, the music editor works with the film's director and others to create an idea of what the film's music will sound like. You will also work with the sound engineer to effectively balance sound, dialogue and music in a film in order to create the desired emotional effect. In music videos, you work primarily with the video director to ensure a unified idea. According to O*Net Online (www.onetonline.org), sound engineers and music editors must be able to monitor multiple gauges at once, problem solve on complex levels, be able to concentrate on one task for long periods of time, and have excellent hearing.

Qualifications and Training

As music editor, you need to have a good sense of the relationship between music and action to create a mood. In addition, you must be able to create a good balance between all of the auditory elements of a film. A music editor needs to have a range of musical knowledge in order to pick appropriate music for a film, as well as familiarity with the music technology equipment used to synchronize multiple tracks.

You can enter a bachelor's degree or post-graduate certificate program in film scoring to obtain this type of training. In addition to the technical skills of recording, mixing and scoring, you might take courses in the history of film scoring, writing for animation, conducting and composition. Some schools require that you create a portfolio of your work, to assist you in finding employment.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the median annual salary earned by sound engineering technicians, the category under which music editors fall, was $49,870 in May 2014. The employment of sound engineering technicians working in the field of motion picture and video production is expected to remain the same or decline slightly (by less than one percent) between 2012 and 2022, per the BLS.

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