This is a very short review about the open source music notation software - muse score. It may help to start this by saying that this is definitely the most powerful free music notation option. You can download it here:http://musescore.org/
I used Finale all through college, but the enormous price tag and yearly paid (minor) updates made me hate it. As a result I have switched to Musescore for everything.
It takes a while to get used to, but Musescore provides all the primary functions a composer would require, parts management, transposition, speedy entry with a midi device, and many other unlimited uses. This is much more powerful that Finale Notepad and other freeware. You can also export and import .xml and midi when working with other notation programs.
The major drawbacks I have found are lack of page layout options and some random bugs. Make sure you save frequently. It also takes a while to adjust to the interface, but if you read the help section, you'll catch on quick.
As a music notation option, you can't get better at $0. However, the full versions of Finale and Sibelius are better programs, but they also cost $600. If you are used to these programs, Musescore will seem clunky, but it get's the job done.
I give Musescore four stars. It's an amazing option out there made by the opensource community. It's not a perfect program, but it gets the job done and is constantly improving. I would also highly recommend this program for schools that want music notation that is more powerful that finale notepad, but is still free.
Here is a trick that is used on a number of available band arrangements.
When you get ready to hand out a new piece of music, especially a contest piece, make a Song Elements Sheet.
Here is an example one I made (This is just the:
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If you look at the file, you will see that I have several lines labeled "A" - "F". These lines are different sections of the music. The first is the bass line for example, B is a repeating riff, and so on. I have taken all of the main elements of the songs and put them into music notation software and transposed them so that all instruments in the band can play them.
Now, when we start to learn the piece, I don't have to work with an individual section, I can have the whole band play each part, before we sight read the actually piece.
This offers huge advantages:
1. All students are playing the whole time.
2. Students that don't get to play the melody in the song, still get to play it. This encourages some students that don't get many moving lines in band arrangements (Saxophone, low woodwinds, Tubas, etc).
3. More mileage out of a piece of music. Since all students are learning a little bit of all the parts there is more educational benefit.
This does take some time, and you have to have Music notation skills, but it can be a very handy way to help your kids grow.
So, teaching a small school band creates a number of problems. As programs grow, some of these problems are solved by just having a larger pools of talent, and often more resources. However, growth is slow, and it requires success as a small program to warrant more student interest. I have been working the past two year in a small program and have discovered a few solutions I would like to present here. This first blog is dedicated to flexible arrangementsFlexible Arrangements
There exist a number of compositions created to help create a better sound in programs with limited instrumentation while still maintaining musical integrity. The idea behind these arrangements is that, essentially, all band arrangements can be broken down into 5 parts plus percussion.
When you open these arrangements, you have part 1 through 5 each arranged for multiple instruments. Part one is available for Trumpet, Clarinet, Flute, and Violin, Part two for Trumpet, Clarinet, Flute, violin, viola, Saxophone. etc.
The advantage is that you don't have to crash and burn if you have a year without clarinets. You can still cover all the parts and have a good band sound. You can also use this to strengthen week sections by having other sections play the same part. I cannot stress how useful these arrangements are.
The main disadvantages are that the parts are written in general, and not specific to instruments. The harmony is also only 5 parts thick, but that's still a thick sound.Examples:Flex-Band Series http://www.halleonard.com
This is the best series of flexible arrangements available that I have ever seen. They have a great selection of both concert, march, and pop tunes available, all of which are high quality.Build a Band Series http://www.barnhouse.com/
This is also a great series, though I 've not found them quite as good as the flex-band series.Rubber Band Arrangements http://www.rubberbandarrangements.com/
This is a site that takes this same concept and applies it to beginner band. They also have a first semester workbook. Each arrangement comes with "virtuoso" parts to challenge beginners that are pushing ahead, while still using the same songs as the full band. These arrangements can be repetitive, but they are built with building block segments that help make learning the songs easier.First Year Jazz Charts Collection
Alfred publishes Jazz charts with a similar concept. They are built to be played by a full big band, or with reduced instrumentation. They also come with alternate parts for flutes, and french horns etc.
The first video for my sight has been uploaded. It is a lesson on exercises for improving the different registers of the clarinet. I hope to add at least on a week. We'll see if that happens. Find the link under the lessons tab.http://www.freemusiced.org/clarinet.html
It really bothers me that so many people are still paying $20 to buy an arrangement of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto. Why are we doing this?
Any work written before 1923 is public domain. That is all classical, romantic, Baroque, and renaissance music as well as the first 22 years of the 20th Century.
In the free music links you will find many websites that have free music that are copies of these original scores. Sadly, sometimes these scans are less than legible.
When someone makes their own edition of a public domain piece of music, they can restrict it, and sell it. I would like to see all major classical works with free, clean, online editions free for download. This is 2012 people.
I would like to start occasionally releasing free editions of some classical pieces on this website. If you would like to send me your cleanly edited editions of classical works that are in public domain, contact me under the contact tab.