Create Music with Notion

After almost two years from its conception, my book, Create Music with Notion, has finally been published by Hal Leonard. This is quite exciting for me and so in this post, I thought I’d tell you a bit about it and also talk a little more about Notion.

As I said in a previous post, in the course of writing this book, I’ve become a believer in Notion. It’s simply the fastest, most intuitive program I’ve ever used. I’ve long used both Finale and Sibelius, so it took a little getting used to as it’s a little different way of thinking. But the funny thing was that that different way was actually much more like when I wrote music with a pencil, but with all the advantages of a computer. You don’t have to do things in any particular order as all tools and elements are accessible all the time. Whatever works for you, works for Notion.

Notion has some really unique features–the best guitar techniques collection, the easiest drumset entry, the best support for Rewire and VSTs–but what really sets it apart is its playback capabilities, simply the best available right out of the box.  Everything you enter into the score plays back musically with samples from the London Symphony or Abbey Road studio musicians. While Finale and Sibelius playback has improved over the years, you’d need to pay for a separate sample library, on top of paying more for the program in the first place, to begin to match Notion’s built-in sounds. The program comes with a large enough sample library to satisfy most users, but if the instrument you need isn’t included there are hundreds of specialty instruments you can purchase individually or in bundles. Notion also has by far the best notation app for iOS and files transfer back and forth easily.

The book represents the culmination of twenty-five years of teaching notation software. I started with Finale and its little brother, Music Prose, back in the late 80s, when I was a grad student at the University of Northern Colorado, where I had the good fortune to be part of one of the first big music tech workshops.

We had a stellar faculty. Back then, we all taught software in a step-by-step manner. It seemed very successful and our workshop participants were all satisfied customers. So much so that we often saw them return again and again. Only to take the same classes over again! We were teaching, but they weren’t learning.

The ones who were learning, aside from ourselves, were the regular students who were using the software to accomplish real tasks, projects that were important to them. Whether it be theory homework, arrangements or compositions, it became clear that this is how one learns.

Create Music with Notion is project-based. Each project has a particular user in mind, be it amateur, educator or professional. There are step-by-step instructions that model my workflow, but I tried to focus more on concepts than details. It’s also written so you can substitute your own music for the examples I provide.

In my opinion, Notion should be the goto notation program for most users. The combination of price, features and ease of use can’t be beat. Create Music with Notion is available on Amazon and other retailers. I hope you’ll give both Notion and my book a look.