Using Technology to Unlock Musical Creativity

By Scott Watson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 15
CREATIVITY WITH
COMPUTER MUSIC
NOTATION APPLICATIONS

A POWERFUL TOOL FOR MUSIC EDUCATION
COMPUTER MUSIC NOTATION (CMN) APPLICATIONS are often the first and most used area of music technology by music educators, perhaps because they can do so much for them and their students. Music notation software (such as Finale and Sibelius) and web applications (such as Noteflight) are invaluable tools in this digital age, not only for composing and arranging but also for myriad other tasks such as creating worksheets, drill and exercise sheets, warmups, tests and quizzes, musical figures (for use in print and multimedia presentations), playing MIDI files, creating MIDI files to export and use with other applications, creating rehearsal and/or performance accompaniment tracks, and much more. For this reason, I frequently share in the university courses I teach and in the workshops I present that if you only have time to learn to use one technology tool, you will get the most from your investment by choosing music notation software.
Learning Basic and Continuing CMN Skills
Today CMN applications are necessary for undergraduate and graduate music study and are either necessary or very useful in K-12 music teaching. As a result, I have observed each year that more and more university music students and in-service music teachers have a working knowledge of some CMN application. A basic skill set for a CMN application includes tasks such as
1. setting up a score (number of staves, instruments used, key and time signature, etc.)
2. entering and editing notes (using both QWERTY and MIDI keyboard input)
3. adding score expressions (tempo and dynamic markings, indications for technique, etc.) and articulations
4. adding text elements (title, composer and/or arranger, page numbers, etc.)

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