Here's a good one for you. Not exactly for beginners, but it's a trove of excellent information. Northern Sounds put a complete annotated version of Rimsky-Korsakov's Principles of Orchestration online plus a course on jazz arranging from Chuck Israels. (Israels is a legendary jazz bassist.)
I think composers at first should be willing to work for free on projects to get experience and to put their name out there so you can point and say "there I made the music of that game".
The problem with this is it becomes perpetual. Let's face it, most folks with take something free over paying for it any day of the week and twice on Sunday. It's just human nature. I understand most young projects have little to no money, but working for free makes it hard for both the composer and the developer to break away. The developer will likely either want to keep using the composer on the next projects at a free rate, or move on to the next free composer.
Also consider what I've seen in the film world with some colleagues who thought that lots of free work was a great way to get a start. More than once I've seen a budding director hire a very cheap or free composer when he had no budget. Once that director moves upward and receives a decent budget, he doesn't hire the cheap composer. Why should he? Now he can afford the expensive composer he really wanted in the first place!
Also, the studio (think developer/publisher) who is putting up the money doesn't want the director to spend all that money on someone it has never heard of and who has no recognizable credits. There is too much money on the line to risk an unknown. ...And no director in that position is going to say, "I have to have this composer or I won't do the project."
Original post by Kaiyoti Unlike 10 years ago where these music making resources aren't so abundant, anyone today can make music. Nowadays, with the technology, making a full orchestral track in front of your system isn't as difficult. Bedroom-studio composers are popping up everywhere. So musicians shouldn't automatically assume that their service is a rare trade and expect too much out of it. Most of these people can imitate the generic styles without any problem. You're probably not all that special as you may think you are. You need to stand out... be more than enough.
This is a good point. Sure anyone can make music in their bedroom, but the truth is that most of it is very bland, ordinary, and sounds like a copy of some well-known music made by someone in a bedroom with no budget and half the skill. Orchestral music is some of the easiest to spot in this case. A trained ear can instantly hear someone's skill and experience when they write orchestral music either on a sequencer or record it live (and it has little to do with the quality of the samples). A non-trained ear may not be as critical, but it can instantly recognize the superior product when two tracks are compared.
Having the tools to make music doesn't make someone a decent composer any more than buying a hammer and saw makes you a carpenter. Anyone can pound a nail, but I wouldn't want just anyone building my house. As Madsen has stressed there is a lot of skill and learning involved in becoming a good musician. Someone who has put in those years of effort is much less likely to want to work for free, but that person probably won't sound like the free composer either!
Think carefully about what you are offering as a composer. Be critically honest with your abilities. Have the humility to recognize the amount of work it takes to perfect your art and your craft and then do that work. As Madsen has said, being a musician (or any artist) is a never-ending journey of learning.
[Edited by - Muzo72 on September 11, 2008 12:20:10 PM]