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#1147925 - 06/19/07 10:26 PM Notation software for 11 year old
darb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/25/04
Posts: 123
I asked this question on the digital keyboards section of this forum, but then I noticed there is a composers' forum.

I need better notation software than what we are currently using. My daughter (age 11) composes piano and ensemble music for contests and performances. When she started composing I bought a used partial midi-keyboard and some inexpensive software. Now that she is really into it, I think we need a better software program and an 88-key midi keyboard.

On the software, with my other posting I got lots of suggestions which included:

Finale: full verion, Allegro, PrintMusic, and free "Notepad" version
Sibelius: full version and student version
Notion
Lilypond
Overture 4

Her "work process" is that she composes in her head and at the regular piano downstairs until she strikes on something she likes. She works it over until it's locked in her head. Then she goes up to the office and inputs the notes using the midi-keyboard. Then she edits it, needing extensive help from me because the software is very difficult to work with ("noteworthy composer"). Then she prints it out for contests and performances.

She definatly needs to input form the midi keyboard, not just from the mouse or computer keyboard. Currently she has to input one hand at a time very slowly, everything goes in as one note value, e.g. all quarter notes, and then all the notes have to be changed manually, bar lines put in manually, everything basically re-done manually, on the computer. It's really time comsuming to edit and the long extensive painful process of editting is starting to discourage her.

I would like to hear from the composers their opinions of notation software in terms of which software is easier to work with and also the quality of the printing. In Noteworthy, I have to make my own pages with nice headers and footers and then re-feed them through the printer to get a nice looking final version. It's pretty time consuming, but the software doesn't have enough options built in to make it come out nice otherwise.

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#1147926 - 06/19/07 10:37 PM Re: Notation software for 11 year old
Turfer Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/11/07
Posts: 19
Loc: Australia
The software I use is Geniesoft Scorewriter 2.0. Atmittedly I haven't tried it with a keyboard but I know the software allows you to use it. Its affordable - the latest version 4.0, is only $60 for download.

I use this software for all of my scores on my website, www.free-piano-sheet-music.net, and I personally think that the scores that it produces look good and very professional. The program is very easy to use, but like I said, I have never tried to input a score straight from a keyboard so I don't know how well that works.

Good luck with it all, and let us hear some of your daughters music. It's always nice to hear other people's compositions!
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#1147927 - 06/20/07 10:21 AM Re: Notation software for 11 year old
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13813
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I noticed most of the scores on Turfer's website don't even have dynamics. Is that a problem with the software or just bad editing?
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#1147928 - 06/20/07 11:37 AM Re: Notation software for 11 year old
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2780
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
An 11 year old probably does not have significant notational needs. Having said that an 11 year old writing and notating music is to say the least precocious. If your daughter continues to grow as a musician she will fairly quickly require software with real notational capabilities and a workflow designed to assist the creative process.

I've owned Finale for 15 years. In that time the software has grown from something that required 3 books to navigate top something fairly easy to use. I've not tried Sibelius, but I was around when the competitive pressure from Sibelius forced the Finale folks to improve their product. Both have strong reputations. The others you mentioned I've heard of, but know little about.

If I was you I'd use the free version of Finale (Notepad) until it didn't serve my needs anymore. You can definitely write piano music with it.

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#1147929 - 06/20/07 11:49 AM Re: Notation software for 11 year old
8ude Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 2050
There is a strong contingent of supporters for both Sibelius and Finale. Both are excellent products. Personally I've always been a Finale user - I've found it to be very powerful and not particularly difficult to use. The full version is a bit pricey, but if you can get it at an academic discount you can save quite a bit.
_________________________
What you are is an accident of birth. What I am, I am through my own efforts. There have been a thousand princes and there will be a thousand more. There is one Beethoven.

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#1147930 - 06/22/07 03:50 AM Re: Notation software for 11 year old
James McFadyen Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/23/06
Posts: 103
Loc: Manchester UK
If she's 11, shouldn't she be playing with her pals and having fun?

No 11yo should be "trained" to sit at a computer for any great length.

Surely it's better to raise a well-grounded adult instead of a tortured "genius" that will struggle to make friends with her peers.

Sorry, but an 11yo must put her childhood first.
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#1147931 - 06/22/07 11:34 AM Re: Notation software for 11 year old
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2780
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
 Quote:
Originally posted by Devilish Publishing:
If she's 11, shouldn't she be playing with her pals and having fun?

No 11yo should be "trained" to sit at a computer for any great length.

Surely it's better to raise a well-grounded adult instead of a tortured "genius" that will struggle to make friends with her peers.

Sorry, but an 11yo must put her childhood first. [/b]
There's always somebody who wants to tell you you're a bad parent by allowing your child to do what she wants. I see nothing in the original post which would indicate anything other than that this is something his daughter chooses to do. So am I to understand that he should deny his daughter the opportunity to do something she loves in order to "go outside and play?"

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#1147932 - 06/22/07 05:36 PM Re: Notation software for 11 year old
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13813
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Yeah, I've never understood why so many people seem to think all children want to do is play and goof off.

Many want to learn. Many enjoy learning.

Besides, "playing with pals" and working on music aren't mutually exclusive. Many people, including myself and many children, actually find time for both during the day.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#1147933 - 06/22/07 07:08 PM Re: Notation software for 11 year old
darb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/25/04
Posts: 123
I'm not worried about the "parenting advice." My daughter plays with her friends, goes to camp, rides horses, dives on a team, has sleepovers with friends, sings in the church choir, plays bells, plays the piano, plays the flute, started a chess club, volunteers, draws, writes plays and stories, writes poetry, and recently started a novel about the Oregon Trail. The fact that she also likes to compose music fits right in. We love to play chamber music at home in our "chamber." And believe it or not, we veg-out and watch DVDs almost every night in the summer. The only thing we don't have is video games because I just don't like them.

Summer is a wonderful time when all her creativity really bursts forth. The regular time pressures of school and homework are gone, and she just creates like crazy. It's wonderful.

Thanks for all the suggestions on the software. I think I will get the free version of Finale and then possibly upgrade from there as her needs get more complex.

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#1147934 - 06/23/07 03:39 PM Re: Notation software for 11 year old
Shoo Head Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/18/07
Posts: 5
Loc: Bladenboro, NC
( This coming from a 15 year old )

I've never been one who wanted to "goof" off. I've always enjoyed learning. Plus, childhood is the best time to prepare for events later on in life, because there's not really anything stopping you. You only have one life to live, to acomplish anything, why waste the chance?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As far as notation software, I'd go with either the Allegro version of Finale, or the entry level Sibelius. Most of it isn't "that" hard to get the hang of, and depending on how quick she takes to it, you don't want her progress to be slowed down from poor software. Thats just my opinion though.

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#1147935 - 07/02/07 03:15 PM Re: Notation software for 11 year old
mannyk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/18/07
Posts: 59
Loc: New York
Many may not agree with me but I've always liked Sonar Home Studio. I find it very easy to use (both by recording from a keyboard and by dragging notes with the mouse). I use a Yamaha digital stage piano (P-140) that is connected sometimes through a midi adaptor directly into my computer, and other times through a mixer (that only brings it in as an audio file) depending on what I'm working on.

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#1147936 - 07/18/07 02:07 PM Re: Notation software for 11 year old
quantumm Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/27/05
Posts: 61
Loc: Canada
I've been using Finale for about 8 years now, and I love the program. A lot of my score work involves editing church hymns for personal use in performance. But I also do some composing and sometimes require some very creative notation. Finale serves my needs very well. It has excellent fonts for printout, and you are very much able to customize your music.

Learning the program may be complex at first, but Finale has some very practically designed input methods that when you learn them, entering notes is quick and easy. Yes you can use midi keyboard with it too. However, I don't have a midi keyboard so the computer keys work fine.

Another good thing to consider is because Finale has a large user base there are plenty of people that can help you online when you're stuck on a problem.

Sibelius is also a great program, and many swear by it. It's not for me however, I prefer the feel of Finale.

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