Speedy Arranging with Sibelius Online Course

About this Course

This online course will cover the tips and tricks that can make your arranging tasks quicker and easier using professional-standard notation application Sibelius.

Throughout the 25 years or so that I’ve been arranging and transcribing music, I’ve seen many changes. When I first started my “toolbox” included a cassette tape player that I purchased for it’s responsive rewind and play buttons, a collection 2B pencils, a ruler, an eraser, decent manuscript paper, a specific fine marker and liquid paper. There was no internet and song lyrics were learnt and written down by listening very carefully to the recording many times.

Fast forward to the digital age and technology has made the arranging and transcribing process a lot easier. During this 4-week course, we’ll look at ways to get notes into your score quickly: by taking advantage of MIDI file import, through scanning music or by recording music live with a MIDI keyboard (with success!). We’ll also look at a range of useful time-saving plugins and workflow tips.

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Course Format

This course is available when you join the Midnight Music Community.  Membership to the Midnight Music Community gives you access to this course, and 11 other online courses, plus lesson plans, help and advice.

Course Outline

The Speedy Arranging with Sibelius Online course will cover a range of skills, including the following:

During the first session, we’ll start by looking at the arranging/transcribing process and workflow tips that make the process a smooth one. Explore ways in which you can access and utilise hundreds of MIDI files that are available for free download on the internet. If your ensemble is keen to play current songs, jazz standards or a range of other styles, MIDI files can save you from transcribing parts note-by-note from a recording – someone has done a lot of the hard work already by playing all the parts in via keyboard and saving it in a format that Sibelius can interpret. Discover where to find quality MIDI files and how to download them. Learn how to import them into Sibelius, how to clean up the notation, change the instrumentation and turn them into readable (arranged!) scores.

Topics and skills covered in this session:

  • Tips for arranging – process and workflow
  • Gathering your materials – recordings, lyrics (song structure), MIDI file, sheet music
  • Getting started with MIDI files
  • What is a MIDI file and why is it useful?
  • MIDI file sites the good, the bad and the ugly
  • How to download MIDI files
  • Why it’s important to know how MIDI files are created
  • Techniques for importing MIDI files
  • Why MIDI files do not look pretty when you open them in Sibelius
  • Those two empty bars at the beginning…
  • Setting up your Sibelius score and mapping out the arrangement form and structure
  • Deciding the key for your arrangement
  • Using a “dump” score and a “working”score
  • Tips for cleaning up notation by harnessing a range of plugins
  • Sheet music sites
  • Lyrics websites
Continuing on from the first session, we’ll look at multiple examples of MIDI file import and a range of approaches to fixing them

Skills covered include the following:

  • All about filtering and why it’s so useful
  • Filtering possibilities
  • How to use the Advanced Filter
  • Hidden MIDI information in your score
  • Using the Arrange feature
  • Transposing scores
  • Using note colours to guide your arranging choices
  • All about the Ideas panel and why it’s a useful arranging tool
  • Coping with, and fixing drum parts
Scanning printed scores can be another useful way to get lots of notes into Sibelius fast. Like the importing of MIDI files, scanning music is not a perfect process, but a few tips can help ensure success.

During this session, we’ll cover:

  • How to get started with scanning
  • How to assess which scores will scan well and which ones will not
  • General tips for converting printed scores to PDFs
  • How to open a scanned score in Photoscore
  • The two score views in Photoscore
  • How to avoid common pitfalls
  • How to fix errors in Photoscore
  • Should you upgrade to Photoscore Professional?
  • Taking advantage of playback
  • What to fix in Photoscore and what to leave for Sibelius
  • First steps with your scanned score in Sibelius
  • How to take use Sibelius’s Arrange feature
  • Multiple ways to copy and paste music
We’ll continue on with scanning tips and cover some extra Sibelius arranging tricks.

Skills covered include the following:

  • How to deal with scores that have hidden staves
  • How to transpose
  • Re-arranging your score for different instrumentation
  • How to create an instant accompaniment
  • Working with transposing instruments
  • How to copy dynamics and other markings into many parts at once
  • How to create effective backing tracks or rehearsal recordings
  • Creating sharable scores
  • Easiest ways to distribute your scores and backing tracks to other musicians

*Midnight Music reserves the right to alter course content when necessary.

Testimonials - Speedy Arranging

What’s Included

  • 5+ hours of video
  • Extensive step-by-step session notes
  • Links to extra resources
  • Professional development certificate

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is this course for?

Teachers, composers, arrangers and ensemble directors who want tips to speed up the arranging process by importing MIDI files, scanning music, setting up custom shortcuts and using time-saving plugins.

Is this course for beginners?

This course is for intermediate users of Sibelius. If you are a beginner, please take the Sibelius Basics course first.

What do I need?

A PC or Mac computer, internet access and a copy of Sibelius.

Which version of Sibelius is the course based on?

This course is based mostly on Sibelius 7, but explanations are also given for previous versions of Sibelius (which looks substantially different to version 7).

How do I access the course materials?

Once payment has been made, you will receive a login name and password to the online course materials area. All course videos and session notes are accessed online, via your internet connection.

How long do I have access to the course?

Access to this course is ongoing for as long as you have an active membership subscription to the Midnight Music Community.