Artist Spotlight: John Williams

We are kicking off a new series, shining light on different artists/composers in the world of music. To kick off this series we decided to pick the legendary John Williams.

Heralded as the greatest film composer of all time, John Williams is the composer behind some of the most iconic blockbusters in history. Think: Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, E.T., Jurassic Park, Fiddler on the Roof. He is the man behind the ominous sounds of Jaws. It’s his score a “two-note ostinato [that] has become synonymous with sharks and approaching danger.” [1] His career spans beyond film. He composed for the 1984 Summer Olympic Games and composed “The Mission” the theme music used by NBC in the U.S. and Seven News in Australia. These are some of his accolades and we have not even mentioned STAR WARS! With more than 20 Grammy’s, several BAFTAs, a handful of Academy Awards, and multiple Golden Globes he is arguably the most critically acclaimed living composer.

His Most Famous Work...STAR WARS

On January 10, 1977… John Williams began writing music for “Star Wars.” More than forty-two years later, on November 21, 2019, Williams presided over the final recording session for “The Rise of Skywalker,” the ninth and ostensibly last installment of the main “Star Wars” saga. [2] The Library of Congress... entered the Star Wars soundtrack into the National Recording Registry for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." [3]

What A Career!

Why John Williams

Before John Williams ever partnered with Steven Spielberg or George Lucas and the Star Wars franchise, he was a student of music. He grew up in a musical household and studied music in high school and university. He studied at The Julliard School, and composed for & played in the U.S. Air Force Band. Additionally, he received private tuition from composers like Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. It begs the question, is the next John Williams in your class?

Did his teachers know that “the” John Williams was in their classroom? It’s doubtful. However, its safe to assume these were the spaces that he was most certainly offered opportunities. These were the spaces where his musical foundations were laid setting him up to build his prolific career.

In MusicEDU’s Studio Session’s Program students are given the opportunity to take a crack at being film composers. They learn about creating sound effects, suspense music, film score composition, and more. Music is the vehicle that steers our emotions as we watch films. If we are meant to be hopeful, happy, morn, prepare for danger, or believe, the music tells us that. John Williams’ work has inspired countless musicians and composers across the world. What might be sparked in your students given the opportunity?

We want to hear from you...let us know what you are doing in your music program to spark creativity in your students.


1. Wikipedia contributors: “John Williams”

2. The New Yorker: “The Force is still strong with John Williams”

3. FilmBuff Online "Star Wars Score Named To National Recording Register".