Taking Care of the Notes

About a year ago I was in Rochester, NY having dinner with some band director friends when Kevin Mead told me an excellent story:

I was sitting in my office after school on November day when Dale, a soft-spoken senior, knocked on my door and asked if he could play me a piece he’d written. I followed Dale to our MIDI Lab where he our best speakers connected to one of the stations and Finale on the screen. As I sat down Dale hit the PLAY button, and I was transfixed. The music was beautiful – and wonderfully orchestrated for band. I was nearly in tears by the end and stated right there: “We are SO doing that in our spring concert!”

It turns out that Dale had started this piece on his home PC using the ten dollar Finale NotePad. He’d brought that files to school, opened it on a Mac in the MIDI Lab, and fleshed it out in Finale before bringing it home to begin the process again.

Next it was Kevin’s turn to take the reins.  Using Finale he saved Dale’s piece as a SmartMusic accompaniment. Then, using the SmartMusic Gradebook, he sent it out as assignments to the entire band. This allowed the students to learn their parts and hear the piece as a whole – before the first rehearsal. The first time they read through the piece in rehearsal they already knew how it should sound – and the band was able to dive into the finer aspects of performance instead of simply sight-reading.

Imagine the thrill Dale felt – to not only hear the entire band playing his piece, but to hear them play it well. What makes this even more remarkable is that this was Dale’s first composition.

I had asked Kevin’s permission to tout this story at last year’s Midwest Band Clinic. In turn he asked Dale’s permission and all were agreed; “Let’s tell the world.”

I couldn’t have made up a better tale to describe the interaction between MakeMusic products and what they can mean to real people. Dale’s piece began its life in the simplest, least expensive notation product on Earth, NotePad; It was fine-tuned in a school-owned copy of Finale, and saved as a SmartMusic file. Finally, SmartMusic made a big difference in how an entire band learned the piece and helped them to concentrate on the music instead of just the notes.

In fact, I should suggest that as a new company motto: We’ll take care of the notes so you can concentrate on the music!

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