MTT05: How to scan sheet music

MTT05: How to scan sheet music

How to scan sheet music

Scanning music can turn your paper music library into a portable digital library that’s with you at all times. It can also help you get notes into a notation software program like Sibelius, Finale, Noteflight or MuseScore super-fast. But what exactly is the process? I’ll share the step-by-step process, my tips for success, which apps, software and equipment you need and suggested workflow patterns.

Training with professional development certificate provided

Members of the Midnight Music Community can access all the EXTRA training materials that go along with this episode, including:

  • Downloadable instruction booklet
  • How-to videos for Forscore, Photoscore and more
  • Professional development certificate provided for the training

If you are already a member of the Midnight Music Community, log in here to access these materials (you can find them in the How To Scan Sheet Music Training course section).

If you are not a member and you’d like to access the extra materials in the training course , you can join here.

Resources and links mentioned in this episode

1. Copyright, Creative Commons, Public Domain score

2. Scanning apps

3. Music reader/annotation apps and pedal

4. Music scanning software


How to listen to this episode

You can listen to this podcast episode in a couple of different ways:

  1. Listen right here by clicking on the play button on the player at the top of this page (pause by clicking in the same place)
  2. Listen on your device (a smartphone, iPad or other tablet) by subscribing through iTunes or Stitcher. It’s totally FREE! This is my favourite way to listen because I can do other things at the same time (drive somewhere, run, workout, cook, clean…!)

Midnight Music Community: special rate for MTT podcast listeners

The Midnight Music Community (MMC) is an online space for music teachers interested in learning more about music technology.  There are online courses, lesson plans and lots of other resources for Chromebooks, iPads, Macs and PCs. Professional development certificates are available for all training undertaken by MMC members and I am in the Community everyday, personally answering questions and offering advice to members.

Access the special rate for podcast listeners here.

Music technology courses for teachers

Did you enjoy today’s episode? Here’s how YOU can help

If you enjoyed today’s show, please share it with your friends and colleagues.  It really helps to get the word out about the show.

I would also be so happy if you would consider taking a couple of minutes to leave an honest review and rating for the podcast on iTunes. Reviews are extremely helpful when it comes to show’s ranking and I read every single one of them personally!

Lastly, don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast, to get automatic updates every time a new episode goes live.

By |2018-09-06T01:07:37+00:00February 7th, 2017|Podcast, Teacher Tech Tips|8 Comments

About the Author:

I love to simplify technology for music teachers. I help teachers from all around the world through the Midnight Music Community - an online professional development community where teachers can take online courses, ask questions and receive personalised help for the music tech goals.


  1. Jacob Garcia February 14, 2017 at 4:47 am - Reply

    I have had very good experience with SharpEye 2, which is bundled with Dancing Dots (a software bundle specifically designed for producing Braille music). This has very good OCR for music, though the interface is a bit tricky to learn. This allowed me to scan all of the music I used for a blind student in band. It exports to MusicXML. I usually needed to shore up the score a bit, but this usually did a lot more “magic” out of the box than the built-in Smartscore Lite that comes with Finale.

    • Katie February 19, 2017 at 2:18 pm - Reply

      That sounds great Jacob! I haven’t looked at SharpEye 2 but I’ll check it out. I once played in an orchestra that had two blind violinists (one was the orchestra leader). It was fascinating to witness the rehearsal process with them there and I was amazed by their memorisation skills. They were always ready to play the score from a particular place MUCH more quickly than any of the sighted players who had to fumble through pages of music to find the right spot!

  2. ericdano March 8, 2017 at 4:35 am - Reply

    There is an approach to scanning all your books and scores you overlooked. That would be to break the bindings and scan them. As a teacher for the last nearly 20 years, I accumulated a ton of books, scores, misc pieces of music papers stuck in binders, and more. It actually made teaching quite hard when I could not find a book, or perhaps if I misremembered what book something was in. The solution, scan and OCR ALL THE Books.

    I decided that the only way to do it properly was to actually break the bindings of books, and then run them through a ScanSnap scanner. The scanner was key in the project, as it does both sides, and can detect when it feeds more than one sheet of paper. So, I scanned hundreds of books and untold numbers of papers with the ScanSnap. Afterwards, I ran Adobe Acrobat on the PDFs to straighten them and do OCR, and compress them better (they were scanned at 600dpi I believe).

    Anyhow, now I have all my books, searchable, on my Mac and on Google Drive. It is absolutely a piece of cake to search for something and find it, and easily print it out of a student rather than trying to get the book on the copier. PLUS, I gained a ton of space in my studio.

    • Katie March 8, 2017 at 12:35 pm - Reply

      Wow – Eric. That sounds great! I haven’t used a ScanSnap scanner before and didn’t know there was one that scanned both sides at once. Having a searchable collection of books must be a dream come true! Thanks for sharing the info.

  3. Glenn Lestz April 22, 2017 at 5:45 am - Reply

    Lots of great information on scanning music. Keep up the good wok!

  4. Rebecca Dean November 22, 2017 at 3:36 am - Reply

    I was wondering about Genius Scan. I have an iPhone, is this app really good? I’m gonna try a few of these together and see if it helps with my music. I’m preparing some new scores for my class.

    • Katie November 28, 2017 at 12:44 pm - Reply

      I like Genius Scan a lot. I haven’t used many other scanning apps (just a couple) so wouldn’t consider myself an expert but it does everything I need it to.

  5. […] Use any scanner to get the PDF into PhotoScore. There are more products that can do the job. The Midnight Music Podcast episode How to Scan Music by Katie Wardrobe mentions some of them. […]

Leave A Comment