Introducing Your Music Prep Department

Union Rep Notebook

Volume CVII, No. 3March, 2007

Steve Danenberg

Steve Danenberg is the new music prep administrator at Local 802. As almost every member knows, music prep covers the areas of copying, orchestrating and transcribing, among other tasks. Until recently, it also meant the fine art of engraving, or writing out parts by hand. These days, music prep musicians must be computer technicians and know music notation software intimately. Here, Danenberg introduces himself and gives a brief overview.

We cover the famous, the not-so-famous, the nightclub act, the lounge singer, the Broadway show, the recording session or record company, the movie soundtrack, the television show, the concert or ballet orchestra, the production company, the advertising agency, the music director and the composer. A few others could probably be added to the list, but I think you get the picture.

Before music prep musicians actually begin work on a project, we submit our detailed estimates or budget and get our photocopiers warmed up. Then we assemble the tools of our trade: special paper stock, masking tape, Scotch tape, computers (our modern-day pens), laser printers (our modern-day ink), pencils, markers, large envelopes, fax machines, invoices to do bills on, and gallons of coffee.

(Oh, I almost forgot the actual task of preparing the music on time, organizing personnel on time, coordinating schedules on time, delivering the music on time and getting everyone paid – on time. And sometimes coordinating several projects – at the same time.)

Yes, music preparation is an industry.

It’s an industry with history, traditions, and a structure based on decades of growth and guidelines, encompassing pay scales in every category of musical performance with a corresponding collective bargaining agreement for both orchestrator and music copyist. These scales are negotiated by our union for the benefit of all its members.

Most union members are not familiar with the structure and application of these scales, their working conditions and how the agreements maximize present and future payments to those who work in this industry.

It has been my personal satisfaction to have worked in all the areas of music preparation over the course of my career. I’ve been the proprietor of Wedo’s Music, Inc., which gave me the opportunity to work for and assist on hundreds of projects for both my own company as well as others. Part of my job here at Local 802 will be to pass on my knowledge and experience to the next generation.

I feel privileged to be selected for the position of music preparation administrator at Local 802 and am looking forward to helping all of you.

I can be reached at (212) 245-4802, ext. 119 or


Over the years, many of us at Local 802 have been the recipients of invaluable assistance from Tina Hafemeister during her tenure on the Executive Board of Local 802, as financial vice president and as supervisor of the Music Preparation Department.

Now, unfortunately, Tina is in serious need of some help from us. She is fighting a devastating illness, is unable to work, and is trying to provide and care for her young daughter, who is also seriously ill.

We are asking you to contribute to a fund to assist Tina. Please contribute what you can with a check to the Emergency Relief Fund. Make out the check to “E.R.F.-Tina Hafemeister Fund.” Contributions are tax deductible.

Mail checks to Recording Vice President Bill Dennison, Local 802, 322 West 48th Street, New York, NY 10036. For more information, contact Dennison at (212) 245-4802, ext. 110.

Your response will make a difference. Thank you.