DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links. This means that I may earn a small commission (at no cost to you) if you make a purchase using my link.
So your child is learning a musical instrument, and you have been asked to buy some sheet music (the written music notation for a particular piece, or set of pieces). Where can you go to to buy this music? There will be music shops that you can visit that have sheet music available to buy, and I will do a separate blog post for you with some national chain shop options as well as a few posts about some of the independent music shops in my local area. I live very close to Birmingham City Centre in the UK, and so I will focus on shops nearby.
If you don’t want to go into a physical music shop, and the disadvantage of going into a physical shop is that you won’t know that the shop definitely has the music you are looking for until you walk into the shop, then are there good options for buying music online? Yes. There absolutely are. And which online retailer should you use? Well, that depends on a number of things, like the prices charged for the music, delivery costs and time, whether they actually stock the song, piece, book of studies etc thatyou are looking for. It also depends on whether you want to get a physical copy of the music (particularly useful for new instrumental students), or whether you want to get hold of a digital copy of the piece.
If you have a local independent music shop, they may have sheet music available, so it is worth having a look online to see if this is something they offer. But if not, here are some options for online retailers for you to try out. There will be more available, but here are a few, starting with the main ones.
To help you with comparing different prices on the sites, I have looked for the same piece of music on each website and, where I can, I link to that piece of music on that particular website. I should say, though, that not every site had the same arrangement of the piece. Some were piano only arrangements and some were the official soundtrack copies. Some had just the one song and some had a compilation of all the music from the film – so the piece I chose to search for on each site was “Hedwig’s Theme” from Harry Potter. The prices quoted below were correct at the time of writing, though they may always change, and certainly prices on Amazon can fluctuate with demand for a particular product.
You can buy pretty much anything on Amazon. That is why it is the retail giant that it is. If I am honest, then even before I signed up for their affiliate marketing scheme (and there will very shortly be an affiliate link in this post in the interests of keeping this blog running), I mainly used either Amazon or Music Room (see below) to buy sheet music for my house. The advantage of Amazon, well I am sure you know what the advantages are: there is quick delivery, they have most things available, prices are generally competitive. But I know that buying from Amazon isn’t for everyone, and many prefer to use a different, or independent retailer.
Of course, Amazon have copies of “Hedwig’s Theme” from Harry Potter available. I found them today priced at and once again, I should tell you that if you click on the text link just above, or the picture just below, this is an affiliate link, so I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase after following this link, at no additional cost to you.
On a quick search for “Hedwig’s Theme”, I found a number of different books of sheet music with this piece in. Firstly, the whole soundtrack arranged for piano solo priced at £16.64:
Or in a compilation of Film Themes priced at £13.19:
Ebay is another retailer where you can buy pretty much anything. Obviously with ebay you are more likely to buy a second hand copy (though some retailers have ebay shops, or discount shops on ebay), so you should be aware of this, and the potential that your copy of the music may not be pristine, and may contain someone else’s notes if you buy from ebay. As with buying anything on ebay, you should check the seller’s feedback score, their product description and the postage costs carefully to see what you are buying before purchasing or bidding on anything here.
Searching briefly for “Hedwig’s Theme” from Harry Potter here, I found a number of copies of the whole film soundtrack, but all on the first page were being sold from the USA so postage costs to the UK were almost the same as the cost of the music itself. There was a brass band arrangement of the piece here priced at £8.49, but that was all that was on the first page and I didn’t look any further.
I like musicroom.com. It is an online retailer. I have used it to buy a few books for myself and have always found them to be reliable and to have fast delivery. Not as fast as Amazon, but I rarely need sheet music in a hurry. They have physical copies as well as digital copies of music available. I find their website easy to navigate with separate sections for things like exam pieces, tuition method books, choral music arrangements, and sheet music and songbooks amongst other things. You can even buy musical instruments from them.
Looking up “Hedwig’s Theme” from Harry Potter, they had a choice available with arrangements for solo piano, brass band and concert band with score and parts. The solo piano arrangement was priced at £2.98 for a physical copy and £2.49 for a digital download.
The ABRSM are the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. ABRSM sell copies of the music set for their exam syllabus online on their own website. You can find exam pieces for all of the instruments that they offer graded exams on by clicking here.
Trinity College London
Trinity College London also offer graded exams for a number of musical instruments, and they also have an online shop where you can purchase, amongst other things, the exam pieces that have been set for your particular exam and grade. You can buy Trinity exam piece sheet music here.
Digital Copies Only
Sheet Music Direct
An online retailer with a large catalogue of music to choose for most instruments, as well as choral arrangements of various pieces (there is a minimum order number for these pieces). I found mainly individual songs or pieces of music, rather than a book of, for example, songs from Disney. I found “Hedwig’s Theme” from Harry Potter on the website arranged for piano priced at £3.49.
This is an online retailer catalogue of 400,000 to choose from. Digital product, can print at home. Lifetime access to what you have bought. Can buy individual songs/scores/music books. Largely individual songs rather than a book of various pieces. Looking for “Hedwig’s Theme” from Harry Potter here, I found it available for £3.26 for a single copy.
Scribd is a slightly different service to the other places discussed in this blog post. With all of the retailers above you make a one-off purchase of a book or booklet containing the music you want. Scribd, instead, uses a subscription model. So it has a number of titles of sheet music available for digital download, and you can look up as many as you want. You can access their entire catalogue not just one piece, or set of pieces. For the same subscription fee, you can also access a number of audiobooks, ebooks, podcasts, magazines and other things in addition to the sheet music you are looking for. However, all this is available for a monthly fee, which at the time of writing is £10.99 per month following a 14 day free trial.
Of course if you want to use all of the other services Scribd offer, are accessing a lot of new music each month and so on, then this is probably a very good deal. It’s not a service for a new musician who is only after one or two pieces of music, or books of instrumental studies for example.
There are loads of other online retailers available with loads of pieces of music and compilations of music, these are just a few of the options for you, depending on what you are looking for. As mentioned above, I will do a post talking about where you can go to a physical shop to purchase sheet music, and let you know what sort of things you can buy there, and the next post on this subject will look at large retailers such as Waterstones.
If you have enjoyed reading my blog post, thank you. I am always looking for ideas for the blog, so would love to hear from you with suggestions for topics you would like me to cover in the future. Also, if you would be interested in supporting me to keep this blog running, buying the books to review here, and supplies to make the DIY instruments, for example, I would be absolutely delighted if you would consider buying me a coffee using the following link: Buy Me A Coffee Thank you!!