I’m a private online music instructor; that’s been my full-time job for twenty-five years and counting; I’m not a professional composer, and my primary income is not from composing. That’s the beauty of it; it doesn’t matter if I call this my profession, my scores are published and available for purchase, and even if they weren’t, would it matter? That’s the beauty of my job and the point of this post. Being one thing doesn’t exclude me from the other; it shouldn’t exclude you, either.
Whether it be composing a piece for the piano, small ensemble, or full orchestra, I’ve always found writing a new piece of music exciting. While I can’t explain and describe it, it’s primarily a feeling. That large blank manuscript page, the staves of all those instruments waiting for something to happen, the possibilities imagined and unimagined wanting to reveal themselves—the idea of taking nothing and turning it into something. Whether my final composition ever sees the light of day and will ever be published is all secondary; it’s my hobby, and I do it for enjoyment. That’s the beauty of being an amateur composer today. If there’s a will, there’s a way.
Self-publishing compositions were nearly impossible decades ago without some significant financial output and know-how. Today, an amateur composer’s options to self-publish and sell music are astonishing. While there are more ways to sell your music than I list here, let’s talk about some of these ways.
- Composers can sell sheet music on their websites.
- Create a web store with one of the many online store creation platforms like Shopify.
- There are score exchange platforms, self-publishing platforms, and places to share your sheet music for free.
- The final option wades more into the professional category: checking out publishing companies that distribute your compositions to brick-and-mortar stores. It’s more costly, involves a business plan and isn’t necessarily accessible to most people.
I won’t start listing companies and places to sell your music as I have yet to use many of these platforms. I use JW Pepper My Score and the marketplaces associated with the Noteflight music notation program for my publishing.
One last thing to mention is managing your expectations. You may sell nothing, something, or a lot as an amateur composer. Nobody can say for sure because professional composers didn’t start out as professional composers, but like everyone else, selling one score at a time. Thanks for reading; I’m just a music teacher having fun; catch ya on the next one.