So, can you write music without knowing how to play an instrument? Is being able to play a musical instrument a requirement to become a composer? Are there any skills you will need to learn to be able to write music without playing an instrument? Although the most famous composers that many people know can play some musical instruments, we are here to find out if anyone with no background in playing an instrument can be able to write a piece of good music.
To become a famous composer or to be able to write music, usually many people go to music schools to learn this skill. Of course, it is not a guarantee that you will become a master of music writing, but it puts you in the best condition to learn and improve your skills to become a composer. However, this can also be the most expensive way to become a composer.
There are also some people who are born with musical talent. These people did not have the proper education to become a composer, but they still had the talent in them to become great ones. Having the talent is just enough for them to make a piece of excellent music that many people love.
Both types of composers mentioned above are expected to have a good background in playing a musical instrument. Usually, being able to play a musical instrument is a big plus for any person who writes music, but even though you do not have any knowledge of playing a musical instrument, you can still write a piece of good music; however, there are some certain skills that you will need to learn and improve you want to become a better composer.
Songwriter Skills Needed For Non-Musicians
A Great Musical Ear
Having a great musical ear, especially if you do not have any knowledge of playing a musical instrument, will greatly balance out this disadvantage of yours. Having a great musical ear, it gives you the ability to know if where a note is correct or wrong just by listening to it. You will have an idea of what to improve on your written music without playing any musical instrument.
Able To Understand Music Theories And Styles
A composer without any knowledge of playing a musical instrument will need to be able to understand music theory and playing styles to make good music efficiently. If you have deep knowledge and understanding of music theory, it will give you the advantage to easily checking the mistakes you have done in the music that you wrote before finalizing it. You will also have a better idea of how the instruments work and if it is appropriate to use them in that section or not.
Famous Composers That Can Barely Play A Musical Instrument
Sir William Walton is an English composer born on the 29th of March 1902. William’s family is composed of musicians, as his father was trained at the Royal Manchester College of Music and was able to make a living by being a church organist and a singing teacher. William took some piano and violin lessons, but he was never able to master the two musical instruments. In his career, he was more of a singer than a musician.
His most famous compositions were the Facade, the Viola Concerto, the First Symphony, the cantata Belshazzar’s Feast, and many more. In an interview in 1981, William admitted that he could barely play any instrument. This is an excellent proof that you can write music without the ability to play a musical instrument.
Another famous composer who can barely play any musical instrument is John Mackey. He is an American composer born on October 1, 1973. Most of his works are contemporary classical music, and he usually puts some emphasis on wind instruments. Although he was not able to have music lessons in his childhood, his grandfather taught him how to read music and was able to introduce him to digital music notation.
John Mackey’s famous compositions are Redline Tango, Under the Rug, Songs from the End of the World, Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra, and many more. His first composition was titled Lacrimosa, and he wrote it when he was eleven.
A more recent and famous composer that do not know how to play any instrument, Thomas Matyas is an American composer born in Buffalo, New York. He is known by many for his Neo-Baroque compositions.
So, can you write music without knowing how to play an instrument? Yes, absolutely. It is not a requirement for a composer to be able to play an instrument proficiently. It can be an advantage that you know how to play a musical instrument, but there is proof that even some famous composers do not know how to play any musical instrument.