Music Braille Transcribing

Under contract with the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, the National Federation of the Blind offers a course in music braille transcribing to teach students to transcribe print music materials into braille. Upon completion, a student receives a Library of Congress certificate in music braille transcribing.

There is no tuition charge. Necessary instructional materials are provided free of charge by the NFB.


  • United States citizenship or residency
  • High school diploma or equivalent


  • Background in music
  • Ability to read standard music notation fluently in both treble and bass clefs
  • Familiarity with common musical terms of mood and expression
  • Knowledge of music theory
  • Library of Congress certification in literary braille transcribing for a minimum of six months

Equipment Required

  • A forty-cell slate, a braillewriter, or a computer using direct input or a software program

Some sources of manual braillewriters and slates include the NFB Independence Market, the American Printing House for the Blind, and Howe Press. Some sources of braille paper (11 by 11 ½ inches, for those not submitting exercises via email) include the NFB Independence Market, the American Printing House for the BlindHowe Press, and American Thermoform.

How the Course Works

Instructional materials are provided by the NFB. Students are encouraged to study with a local Library of Congress-certified music braille transcriber through Part One. For information about local groups that sponsor braille classes, consult the Library of Congress directory Directory of Producers of Accessible Reading Materials or call NLS at 800-424-8567.

Beginning with Part Two, all students work through correspondence. Upon successful completion of work from the text, students are required to submit a partial score chosen by the instructor as a final project in the course. If the completed transcription is acceptable, the Library of Congress certificate in music braille transcribing will be awarded. Students have three chances to submit an acceptable trial manuscript.

Computer programs utilizing a literary braille translator or a music braille translator may be used in this course. Assignments must be submitted in hard-copy braille. Thermoform copies are not acceptable. A line length of forty cells must be utilized according to braille music rules.

How to Enroll

Applicants can enroll in the course in two ways.

Complete application online.

Or mail a complete print application (Word doc) to:

The National Federation of the Blind
Braille Certification Training Program
200 East Wells Street at Jernigan Place
Baltimore, MD 21230

Whether intending to take the course with a local teacher or through correspondence, prospective students must submit this application form before the course begins.

Instructional Manuals

Music Braille Code, 1997

Please note that the music course is currently being updated to align with the updated version of the Music Braille Code. The course currently in use is taught according to the 1997 version of the Music Braille Code listed below.

Introduction to Braille Music Transcription



More Information

For more information, please email our braille certification training program at [email protected] or call us at 410-659-9314, extension 2510.