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How do I Become a Music Transcriber?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 07 July 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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If you have a good ear for music and have completed a formal music training program, you can become a music transcriber. The primary role of a music transcriber is to listen to the music as it is recorded or played and write it down in musical notation. While technology has made a huge difference in this field, there are so many decision points that human involvement is an essential part of the process.

The first step in the process to become a music transcriber is to complete a test of your listening skills. The ability to clearly differentiate between notes, tone and pitch is essential in this position and cannot be taught. A musical ear can be developed over time to enjoy music, but the level of detail required is a natural gift. In many countries, a hearing test is performed before any formal music training is started. Students without an ear for music might be encouraged to try different activities.

The next step is to obtain formal music training. This training can start as early as age 3 or 4, as soon as the child can recognize symbols and follow instructions. The piano is the first instrument for most people, because it is among the simplest to learn. As part of the training program, students typically learn how to read sheet music, play according to the notes and perform.

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Musical theory, composition classes and musical history are all part of any formal music training program and form the base of knowledge required to become a music transcriber. These classes typically are completed after eight to 10 years of formal music study, typically when the student is in his or her teens or early adulthood. Ear training classes are a standard part of the curriculum and include exercises focused on improving listening skills. The ability to correctly identify notes when played on a variety of instruments is essential for anyone who wants to become a music transcriber, as this is the majority of his or her daily work.

In order to become a music transcriber, the student must be able to quickly and accurately record music for a variety of instruments, ranging from piano to flute. The ability to play a wide range of instruments with at least an intermediate level of skill is critical to this role. Without this background, mistakes can be made, and the music written in a way that makes it impossible to play and recreate the same effect.

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