The Easiest Way to Learn Finale

At this year’s Texas Bandmasters Association convention I presented a Finale clinic for about 150 band directors. When I asked who knew about the QuickStart Videos, seven people raised their hands. SEVEN! Out of 150! I ask this question at EVERY clinic and get a similar response. The irony is that these same good people have gone out of their way to attend a clinic to learn Finale tips!

So today’s tip (and this is definitely one of my Top Ten) is to check out the QuickStart Videos. I know what you’re saying; “I don’t need to watch those.”  I can see you now, hands on hips, looking disdainfully at me. But, trust me – taking thirty seconds to watch a pertinent video can be a real time saver! I am the LAST person to read a manual; maybe you are too. BUT I’ve learned that these videos SHOW and TELL me HOW to do things I want to do – and often in less than a minute.

Here’s where to find them:

  1. From Finale’s Launch Window, click on “QuickStart Videos,” or, under the ‘HELP’ menu, select “QuickStart Videos.” Click on any category to see a list of related videos. Not sure where to start? Try “Basic Skills” and “Using these Videos.”
  2. Watch WHAT you want to watch WHEN you want to watch it. For example, band directors may not need to learn about lyrics – so don’t watch the lyrics videos. 
  3. Check out the “Visual Index.” The Visual Index allows you to scroll through a short, compact score containing a great variety of music techniques. Perhaps you don’t know what to call that “Stem-up/Stem-down” thing. Is it called Secondary Voices? Multiple Voices? Counterpoint? No problem; simply click on whatever looks like what you need to create. Seriously, this is the way I want to learn a piece of software.

We are sometimes so afraid to ask questions. This is human nature. Each of us thinks we are the only person who feels technology-challenged. I love the QuickStart Videos because I don’t have to embarrass myself by asking other people how to do things. I can be in my pajamas at 4 a.m. trying to finish a project and RIGHT THERE, in 30 seconds, on my own computer, IN my own Finale program, is the answer.

I love that. You will too.

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