Nowadays, students are more comfortable/ familiar to write music on to the notation software then on the manuscript. Why? well, the best part of the notation software is that you can hear what your are writing as you go. Hence, it is easier for them to remove or change the score if its not the sound they wanted.
There are 3 big notation software which is used by Australian music students; Sibelius, Finale and MuseScore. Notation wise, as long as you can produce the important part (printed version of the score), all of them are great to use for the education.
Let me start with the MuseScore. I think lots of students use this at home since it is a free download software. There are quite a few unique features on this software comparing to other well-known softwares.
As you go on to the very first site, it introduces various tutorial videos which is great learning tool for students who are just starting with this software. It is very clear and simple.
As you proceed on downloading and open the software, you can go start composing straight away. Great thing is that you can just type notes you want and it will appear on the screen! MuseScore also includes the ‘graphic export tool’ which captures the parts of the score you’ve highlighted. This is a great tool to be used for music essays or creating an iBook.
The another great thing about this software is that you can copy the URL of the score and send it for your assignments. And when the teacher opens it, she/he can add the comments and feedbacks on to the actual score. I found this pretty clever since it will be very clear for students to improve on their composition.
So next software which I want to mention about is the Sibelius. Sibelius contains literally everything you can do as a notation software. You can compose music for one instrument to an orchestra. You can also create loops and music worksheets with this program. There is no limit.
The cool thing about this program is that you barely need to use you mouse. Everything can be done with your keypads. After you are ready to put some notes on to your score, you can basically press ‘n’ for notation. You will see that music will turn into blue. Then, the notation links with the number pad on the right hand side of the keyboard. After that, you are ready to start. If you want to add something else, just simply press the ‘esc’ key twice.
The keypad can be also used for dynamics and expressive techniques. For slur, simply press ‘s’ then you can press the ‘space bar’ to control the space of the slur. If you press ‘command E’, you will be able to see the text line comes up on the score. This is for the expressive techniques such as pizz or cresc. You can also add dynamic on this line, but for dynamics, press ‘command’ while you are writing. It will make the text bold. ‘H’ or ‘shift H’ is for crescendo and decrescendo. You can also use the ‘space bar’ to control the length of each dynamic.
Did you know that you can create a music worksheet on Sibelius? This really gave me a shock when James told us about it. So if you go on to the ‘file’ you will see the tab called ‘teaching’. If you click on to that, you will see ‘worksheet creator’. And there are so many resources which you can use for your teaching!