Mike Lawson • Archives • October 24, 2006

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By Roe Lewis

You’ve finally built up your music program’s repertoire. The question is “What’s in it?” You don’t know what tunes you have, who the arrangers are or the exact instrumentation. It’s time to get organized and put together your music library. Here are some guidelines to get you started.

Put Someone In Charge
Put someone in charge of your library. Your first choice might be a student. This will work if the student is a good speller, attentive to detail and willing to devote quite some time to the endeavor. Whether a student or teacher is put in charge, it will be this person’s responsibility to maintain the library, cataloging everything you already have and continuing to do so as charts are added. It will amaze you how quickly these things can get away from you. You will be glad someone is dedicated to the task when your library has grown to include several types of genres and numbers into the thousands.

Get It Together
Begin by organizing what you currently have. Separate your files/folders by the type of instrumentation. For example: Separate your marching band folders from your orchestra folders. Doing so will give you a better sense of what you have and help you in creating your database. You will also need storage. Shelves or file cabinets can serve this purpose. One thing to keep in mind is the size of the sheet music. If your music is oversized, it may not fit in a standard file cabinet. (I have lead sheet books that “just about fit” in my file cabinets. Over time and the constant opening and closing of drawers, the pages have gotten frayed and torn. Obviously this was not the best choice!)

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