Music Preparation

Turn a Composer's ideas into a usable document for the orchestra.
picture of Music Preparation

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$22,000 – $85,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Music Preparations do?

People who work in Music Preparation are the missing link between the Film Composers who write film scores and the Musicians who play them. It’s their job to take a complicated musical score from a Film Composer and “prepare” it for the Conductor and the Musicians in an orchestra by reproducing or transcribing it into individual parts.

You see, film scores go through a complex process before they’re heard by moviegoers. They require the hard work and refined talent of a blockbuster music team that includes a Film Composer, Music Editor, Film Arranger, Orchestrator, Orchestra Conductor, Music Supervisor, Orchestra Contractor, and — last, but certainly not least — Music Preparer, or Music Copyist, whose job typically is credited in films as “Music Preparation.”

Think of it this way: A film score is like a clump of Christmas lights in your basement. Although it’s pretty in a pile, before you can put it on a Christmas tree, you’ve got to untangle it into individual strings. In the field of Music Preparation, that’s exactly what you do: Using software known as a score writer, you take piles of music — a written film score typically contains notes for multiple instruments in a single musical arrangement — and you unravel them into separate strands so that Musicians like Violinists, Cellists, Bassoonists, and Clarinetists can play them more easily.

The result, sometimes, is music that makes a movie. Think, for instance, of the scores from films like “Jaws,” “Indiana Jones,” and “American Beauty.” Often, the movies’ sounds are just as iconic as their scenes, if not more so.

Should I be a Music Preparation?

You should have an associate's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.

  • Also known as: Music Orchestrator, Music Preparer

    How to become a Music Preparation

    Music Preparations often have an Associate's degree or higher. Chart?chd=s:59a2ja&chl=no+college+%2824%25%29|certificate+%2826%25%29|associate%27s+%2811%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2823%25%29|master%27s+%2815%25%29|&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,24,26
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