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Which one is “Write”?

If music is a language, more specifically, a universal language, then all musicians should be able to listen to it, play it, read it, talk it (improvising) AND write it (composing). Summer seems to be a great time to encourage students to move away from the printed page of others and on to writing their own creations on empty staves. Filling those open staves with original ideas is a topic for another time–maybe next month?

Last summer, students created pieces and notated their compositions on my Sibelius program. They thoroughly enjoyed the experience and many more are signing up for that opportunity this summer. As I make plans for these budding composers, I would like to offer them options so that they can notate their masterpieces at home. This will allow for more lesson time spent on creating and refining and less time on entering data.

Two programs have come to my attention. I am hoping that one or both may equip students for producing a professional-looking composition here, at the studio, and also at home.

Musescore

This free,  downloadable music notation program offers an alternative to powerful but pricey programs such as Sibelius and Finale.  Easy to use, notation can be entered via keyboard, mouse or MIDI keyboard. Scores can also be shared online once you make your own Muse account.

Numerous helpful videos are available and enable anyone to get started with the basics. Apparently, this program easily imports documents to Sibelius and Finale as well. Click on this link to see the basic tour of MuseScore http://youtu.be/0mh6m2mbVHs

Noteflight

This web-based program allows early musicians to notate compositions with ease. From my limited exposure, it was extremely simple to notate, copy and share via email. This would be a great way to check up on progress of students and answer any questions they may have between lessons. You can even embed pieces on your website. Yes, I tried it, and it worked.

The video tutorial will be essential to introducing the basics to new users. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1BrFc1Qjog&feature=player_embedded#at=16

As I have only peeked at both programs that provide excellent tools for music creativity, it is hard for me to determine which one is “write”, perhaps both? Time will tell. Some parents may prefer to download a program instead of their child using the internet browser, while others may prefer not to download yet another application. As I continue to experiment with both, please add your comments, thoughts, opinions, on either Noteflight and/or Musescore. I would greatly appreciate your input before the composition fun begins!

About the Author

Leila Viss
Hi, I'm Leila Viss, pianist, organist, teacher, author of The iPad Piano Studio and blogger at 88pianokeys.me.
I enjoy teaching piano to around 45 students ranging in age from 6 to 91. I am drawn to discovering innovative teaching methods and successful practice strategies to encourage the average player stick to the bench for life. Customizing lessons for each student is a priority and therefore... [Read more]

2 Comments

  1. damien

    muse score is a fantastic program.
    but it could do with some wizards for younger children to get started with it.

  2. Andy K

    I used Sibelius a long time ago but couldn’t get on with it. I thought it was too complicated. I discovered Musescore last year and use it all the time. I am a fan of open source software and don’t believe in spending hundreds of pounds for commercial programs. Musescore has limitations but I can do everything I need to produce horn section arrangements for my band and it is really easy to use and produces professional looking parts. Also being open source, you get free online support/help form the forums.