Composers and performers need accurate and clear sheet music. If that's not the case, you're going to waste precious recording or rehearsal time and frustrate your performers. That's clearly a recipe for disaster. Here's where you come in. A music proofreader reviews parts and scores to make sure that they're error-free, clear, and translate to amazing performed music. Music proofreaders are needed for all sorts of jobs. They may be freelance editors, work for music publishers, assist in the engraving process and more. Wherever you land you can rest assured that you'll be indulging your love of music while performing a much-valued service.
Freelance Music Editing
Freelance music proofreaders may work in general editing to ensure that the written materials are crystal clear. They also need to correct problems that the composer may have missed. Your workload might include reviewing rehearsal numbers, pitches, rhythms, bar numbers, dynamics and articulations for sheet music intended for live performances and recording sessions. Clients who want an airtight review may ask you to edit page turns, aesthetics, house style and positioning to prepare a piece for publication, large-scale works or large-ensemble works. Rates often depend on the due date and scale of the job. If your client wants an extra fast turnaround don't be afraid to charge a little extra for your services so that you can deliver on time.
Freelance Music Engraving Review
Music proofreaders are also involved in the music engraving process as freelancers. In plain English, music engraving is the process of typesetting music on a computer from a composer's manuscript. The end result should both look stunning and be as clear and unambiguous as possible. Music proofreaders review engraved music to make sure that any handwritten markings such as fingerings, dynamics and bowings are the way they should be. Freelancers will work part or full time and should have strong attention to detail and great written communication ability. It's considered a bonus if the freelancer has previously performed the type of music she is charged with editing. So if you're editing a guitar book, you'll need at least an upper intermediate ability in strumming that acoustic.
In-House Music Proofreading
Music proofreaders don't just work from home or their favorite coffee shop. They also can work a 9 to 5 at a music publishing company. However, their job may not be strictly editing but a more general editorial administrative position that includes music proofreading. Tasks might include helping to produce front matter and covers, helping other editors in production matters such as proofing written copy for promotions and publications, getting proofs to the right people, and updating entries in the music catalog. You'll also be tasked with proofing music before it's due to go to the printers and otherwise making sure the music is as high-quality as possible. Candidates will need a bachelor's degree in music or equivalent experience as well as the ability to play the type of music or instrument that the publishing company specializes in. They will also need to be proven whizzes at music proofreading.
A music proofreader may also work in-house at a music publisher to take on an active editorial role. This means developing, creating and producing music products in a variety of formats, including video, audio, print, software and digital. You'd also oversee production of projects and be actively involved in arranging, transcribing and recording music. You may even edit and appear in video projects as needed. This means that not only do you need solid music proofreading skills but ace ability at using video and graphics editing software such as Final Cut X and InDesign. Again, music proofreading is just the beginning in this multifaceted job. The best candidates have a bachelor's degree in music or equivalent experience, know about production workflow, have experience as a music author, editor or copy writer, video editing experience, are cozy with the publishing company's house style, and are completely comfortable with the company's music specialty such as guitar or piano.
Alana Vye is a Canadian writer living abroad. She had a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Toronto and has worked in online marketing and publicity. She's also an avid traveler who has visited Asia, Europe and Central America.