Open Thread: do you write on your sheet music?

I just got a new order of sheet music yesterday. In an effort to keep my originals a bit nicer, I made copies and stuck them in a binder. I’ll have the originals and a “working copy.”

Do you write on your nice (from the publishing house) sheet music? Or do you make copies and mark those up? How do you keep the music you’re working on organized?

Posted on in Ask the Readers


  • GuitarVlog

    I write on mine. I don’t see myself teaching so I don’t see a need for preserving a clean copy.

    I used to be reluctant to write into books but I got over that. In some ways, all the little notes and marks are like a life journal. My scribbles show what my challenges were, what I didn’t understand, and how I had to pace myself.

  • Matt Searles

    For some reason I’m pretty anal about not writing in books and what not.. so no writing on sheet music for me.. and though I have a large pad of staff paper, I find that I rarely use it.. it’s pretty much all just in the computer for me

  • Trev

    I write all over mine … which proved to be invaluable when I started up again after 10 years and was able to find the original books, but not the copies. I do use pencil in case I want to change something later on.

  • Jordan Lee

    I write all over my sheet music. It’s incredibly helpful to come back to a piece after awhile and see what I was struggling with, and what I came up with to overcome that. Also, I’m always writing in my own fingerings…
    But, if I wad teaching, I’d probably just make copies so my students can see both the original and what I wrote in/found worked for me.

  • Chris Ledwidge

    Also, when it comes to keeping my music organised I use binders for all the different styles I play. I have separate ones for Classical, Rock, Jazz, Piano. All of these contain the pieces, scales, theory pages related to what I’m studying in that style. Then I have one other with sheets on all theory. I find this makes everything easier to find.

    There’s no sense in looking through the original books to find a piece each time I want to practice. I think this would also link into the practice schedule articles on this blog. Keeping everything in it’s place so I can work through everything in order when practicing.

  • Steve Cooper
    Steve Cooper

    I markup copies, never the original source. I also use a recorder, a notebook computer, a pad and a pencil for musical ideas, notes and such.

  • Sean

    I usually make a copy to write on for a couple of reasons. First, I’ve found that with older pieces that I used to play contain fingerings that I know longer agree with. Second, as a traveler (not of the Irish variety), it’s safer to put copies in a small binder.