Music Copyist

Rewrite original musical scores into easily-read sheet music.
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Quick Stats

Salary Range
$22,000 – $85,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Music Copyists do?

In the simplest terms, a Music Copyist creates sheet music for Musicians. When a Composer writes music, he or she puts together a score. The score is the sheet music that reflects the musical notes for all instruments required for a piece. Pages full of marks are confusing for the individual Musicians. So you, the Music Copyist, use your detailed eye to break apart the group music and rebuild every beat into clean, neat, easy-to-read sheets for individual Musicians.

Traditionally, Music Copyists used calligraphy pens and manuscript paper to etch out each note, focusing on both accuracy and neatness. Recently, software programs that use musical notes instead of letters have made your job easier. However, these “score writers” do not replace your job as Music Copyist. They are merely a tool. You must use your vast understanding of music theory and notation to verify the program’s accuracy.

Although breaking apart scores is your most common job, you might also dabble in transcription, meaning you listen to recorded music, break it down, and recreate that work in written form. If that’s the case, you’ll usually continue on to dissect music into the components of beat, lyrics, and chords to prepare the work for copyright.

When dealing with musical notations you proofread, scrutinize, and proofread again, all while working under strict deadlines. A single error could cost you your career. This is an extremely competitive trade with only the most devoted making a name for themselves. So, while you get the pleasure of playing with music all day, your commitment to precision will be the key to success.

Should I be a Music Copyist?

You should have an associate's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Outside the Box Thinker: Your creative brainpower gets a workout as you come up with innovative ideas.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • How to become a Music Copyist

    We recommend at least an Associate's degree. Check out these schools offering Music Copyist-related education!
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