The Finale Blog: The Way I’ve Always Done It

Sometimes I get in a rut, in part because I’m often short on time. There may be a better way to do this or that, but either because I feel I don’t have time to learn something new, or I’m simply set in my ways, I often stay the old course.

Eventually, my reluctance to change is overpowered by the benefits change offers. The mobility of the cell phone finally convinced me to give up my land line. In time, MP3 players freed me from carting around CDs (or cassettes, or 8-tracks, or LPs).

Old habits die hard in software use as well. Once I learn how to accomplish what I want, whether it’s in Word, Photoshop, or Finale, I need a little nudge to learn how to do it a different way: the benefit needs to be made clear to me.

I am not alone in this. I talk to people all the time who either began using Finale a long time ago, or picked up Finale tips from someone who began using Finale a long time ago. They often continue to follow the same steps they always have, sometimes even when they suspect there might be a better alternative. The truth is that because Finale has improved so much over the years, these folks may not be getting their work done as quickly as they could.

If getting more done in less time appeals to you, read on! Here are just a few examples of newer, more efficient ways to get things done in Finale:

  1. Simple Entry or Speedy Entry? Well, “Speedy” certainly sounds quicker, doesn’t it? Today, for me, Simple is so much faster because it lets me accomplish what took six different tools in the old days: In addition to notes you can enter articulations, expressions, key sigs, time sigs, and clefs – all within Simple Entry. Check out Justin’s post that offers additional details.
  2. Typically we learn keyboard shortcuts AFTER we learn a more cumbersome way to accomplish the same thing. For example, clicking T to add a tie or R to add a rest is pretty intuitive AND fast. The trick here is to take that second step and learn the shortcuts. Check out this previous post for a few of my favorites shortcuts, in Simple Entry and beyond.
  3. It used to be you had to select a different tool for near every different type of element you entered in Finale. Today the Selection Tool (like Simple Entry) lets you accomplish in one tool what used to require the use of many. For one quick example, choose the Selection Tool and right-click (Ctrl + click on Mac) on any measure to see a wide variety of options available from the Selection tool context menu. As the word “context” implies, you get a different Selection tool context menu depending on what you click on; try clicking on a title. Check out this post to learn more about this great time saver!

It’s always fun to share these tips to folks accustomed to old methods; they quickly see how much more time they’ll have to focus on the music, rather than the software. Such is the power of today’s Finale.

In the coming weeks I’m looking forward to sharing some additional ways of getting the most out of today’s Finale that haven’t been shared here before. As we start the new year, I heartily invite you to open your mind to increasing your productivity by looking into these improvements.

Happy New Year!

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