A Conversation with Booker White

Meeting with Booker WhiteRecently, I had the amazing opportunity to meet Booker White, the head Music Librarian down at Walt Disney Studios!  While there, Booker showed me the copy stations as well as some of the Disney scores including the new Tommorrowland, some of the old Mickey Mouse cartoons, and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Even more importantly, Booker was gracious enough to talk with me about how he started out in the music business and the many different aspects of music production (especially from a music copyist’s standpoint).  Here are a few things I learned:

1.  What is a Music Copyist?

                The music copyist is the person who takes the finished orchestration and writes out the parts for the instrumentalists to play in the recording sessions.  While I had known this, what I didn’t know is how hard they work to make things so perfect and how diverse their work is.  Many are composers themselves and, sometimes, they are called upon to help finish an orchestration before a deadline.

2.  Finale vs. SibeliusDisney Studios Visitor Pass

At Disney, I was surprised to learn that the music copyists are expected to be fluent in both Finale and Sibelius equally as well as having experience with sequencing software.  Many use Digital Performer or Logic.

3.  The MOST important skill

Booker emphasized that the most important skill you can have in the music business is a flexibility and willingness to make things happen.  He shared with me how he often receives calls from composers or producers who seem to ask the impossible.  His job, however is not to question their ideas, rather he has the privilege of supporting them and making the impossible possible.  If you are someone people can depend on, then you will have no end of opportunities.

Booker was a wealth of knowledge and shared so much more with me.  For the sake of time and space, I can’t share everything here, but I am very thankful to Booker for his advice, for the amazing opportunity to see the Music Library and learn more about the music industry.  Looking forward to what’s next!

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