I got my hands today on the pleasingly shiny & chunky Sibelius 7 Music Notation Essentials book. I have mentioned it before in CMP circles but not so far on this blog. Now I can see the real thing I can wax lyrical about it here.
The book is around 450 pages long, and presents students with five projects, starting with basic operations like creating a score, entering and editing notes etc, and finishing with writing music to video, in this case a high-octane spy-thriller video about one Agent Zero.
In addition to the book, there are accompanying videos on a supplied DVD and available from the book’s companion website, narrated by the book’s author James Humberstone. For an insight into James’s own thoughts about the book, listen to the interview with him & Sibelius’s Daniel Spreadbury at the Sibelius blog here.
Sibelius is obviously central to everything that happens at the Chichester Music Press, and that would be reason enough for me to dedicate a blog post to the course. However, there’s another reason why I’ve been tweeting and Facebooking about the course’s advent, which is that I was asked to serve as its Technical Editor during its production.
(The technical editor’s job is to read through the text and keep a look-out for things that could perhaps be improved, e.g. simple mistakes, unclear explanations or whatever. It requires a technical knowledge of the subject matter that a ‘normal’ copy editor doesn’t need to have.)
Needless to say I was delighted to be asked. Other people have testified to James’s skill as a writer (and this is not his first book), and I was certainly drawn into the material as I read. The book is very clear and concise, with plenty of screen shots & diagrams for clarity, and is paced in such a way that a novice can begin at the beginning and work through to the end, building all the while on what’s already been learnt.
I learnt loads on the way through. I wasn’t really expecting to, truth be told. But Sibelius is a flexible enough program that there are often many different ways of achieving the same objective, and the one that you happen on first and incorporate into your workflow isn’t necessarily the best or the fastest.
If you use Sibelius in your work and have always perhaps worked in isolation in a bit of a bubble, you might be surprised at the tips you pick up from the course, even if you’re quite a fluent user. Or, if you’re someone who’s felt his way along learning how to use it by experimenting, this might be exactly what you need to consolidate your knowledge. Or again, if you’re a total novice, you are also exactly who the book is aimed at, and I can guarantee you’ll enjoy working through the course. Congratulations to James & the whole team for a very thorough piece of work!