11 of the best free sheet music sites for music teachers

11 of the Best Sheet Music Sites

This post was updated 3 December 2018

If you’re a music teacher on a tight budget it can be difficult to find the money to purchase sheet music for the myriad of music ensembles, instrumental and vocal students you may have at your school.  

It’s good to know that these days there are literally hundreds of websites that offer free sheet music and a large percentage (not ALL) of the titles are also copyright-free so you can arrange, transpose or transform the original to your heart’s content.  I’ve listed a few sites below, but if you’d like to find more, just search Google for “free sheet music”.

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**Important note: The sites listed below are sources of Public Domain or Creative Commons licensed music (ie. legal copies of sheet music). If you have a free sheet music website suggestion for this list by all means comment below, but if the site you’re suggesting has illegal copies of scores that are still copyrighted (ie. most popular music, film scores, video game themes and so on) the comment will be deleted.

1. International Music Score Library Project

The IMSLP (Petrucci Music Library) website houses a collection of public domain scores and Creative Commons licensed scores from a range of composers.  There are more than 110,400 works by more than 14,400 composers and the site also includes some MP3 recordings of performances that are available to download.

2. Mutopia

A collection of classical sheet music in the public domain.  Their collection of modern editions and arrangements is also growing.  All the music on Mutopia has been typeset using Lilypond notation software and the Lilypond files are freely available, alongside the PDF version of the score.

3. The Gutenberg Sheet Music Project

The Gutenberg Sheet Music Project was a sister project of the electronic book-sharing site Project Gutenberg from approximately 2001-2006.  Although it is no longer active, there is still an accessible collection of completed scores on the site.

4. Choral Music Public Domain

Founded in 1998, the Choral Music Public Domain site focuses on sharing free choral and vocal scores as well as texts, translations and other useful information.  There are currently more than 3600 choral and vocal works by at least 2754 composers.

5. Band Music PDF Library

Described as a collection of “music from the Golden Age of the American town band”, the Band Music PDF Library includes marches, waltzes, rags, theater music, solo works and more.

6. Sheet Music Fox

An advert-heavy site that has public domain music as well as links to other sites containing copyrighted music (available for purchase).

7. Free Scores

Like some of the other sites listed above, this one contains a variety of public domain scores and also scores from current composers.  Check the licence page for details of how each piece can be used.

8. EZ Folk

Folk songbooks from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s printed in their entirety for ukulele, guitar, banjo and harmonica.  The site also includes “how to play” tutorials and courses.

9. 8-Notes

8Notes.com offers original arrangements of free public domain songs and instrumental pieces.  The sheet music is provided in a GIF format (lower quality image format).  You can pay $20 to subscribe for a year which gives you access to the PDF versions of scores and removes the ads from the site.  They also have a useful riffs/licks section if you just want to know the basic main riff of a pop song

10. Mus Open

Mus Open is a non-profit focused on increasing access to music by creating free resources and educational materials. The site has a collection of recordings, sheet music, and textbooks.

11. Public Domain Sherpa

Although the sites above offer free sheet music it’s wise to be aware that not all titles are completely copyright-free.  Public Domain Sherpa offers a run-down of many sheet music sites (including ones not listed here) and lets you know whether the music may be subject to copyright restrictions.

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