Music Notation and Score Preparation using Sibelius Ultimate


Authored by Dr. Tom Rudolph


Course Code: OCWPR-103

Next semester starts September 23

12 Weeks

Level 1

Level 1

3-Credit Tuition


Non-Credit Tuition


Learn to write music notation using Sibelius. Through hands-on lessons and activities you'll learn proven methods and techniques to enter, edit and modify music notation including single and multiple staff scores. 

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You will create lead sheets, choral and instrumental scores, drum maps and guitar notation, and explore many other ways to use Sibelius for your own personal and professional needs. You will become an independent user of Sibelius, and will learn the skills to find solutions to problems that you encounter in the future. You will also learn to share your Sibelius files with others in a variety of venues and formats.

Upon completing this course, you will have learned to:

  • Input notation using the mouse, computer keyboard, and MIDI keyboard.
  • Explore shortcuts to speed the note entry process.
  • Edit, modify, and customize a variety of lead sheets, scores and parts.
  • Apply the current best practices of notation principles in your scores and parts.
  • Use plug-ins to enhance the composing and arranging process.
  • Use a variety of methods to solve problems and answer questions in Sibelius.
  • Share your Sibelius files with others via a variety of methods including PDF, audio and posting to a variety of web sharing options.
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Lesson 1: Notating a Single Line Melody

  • History of Music Notation
  • Sibelius Versions and Backwards Saving
  • Opening a New Score
  • Panels Menu
  • Zoom Options
  • Entering Notes by Clicking the Mouse
  • Fixing Mistakes
  • Entering Notation by Typing the A-G Letters on the Computer Keyboard
  • Adding Bars (Measures)
  • Deleting Bars (Measures)
  • Getting Help
  • Score Layout Options
  • Entering Text After a Score Has Been Created
  • Renotate Performance

Lesson 2:MIDI Entry, Lyrics, and Chords

  • Audio Engine Settings and Sibelius Sounds
  • Entering Notation Step Time via MIDI
  • "Amazing Grace" Score Setup
  • Auto Save
  • Engraving Rules (Staves)
  • Entering Triplets
  • Slurs and the Lines Menu
  • Entering Slurs
  • Entering Lyrics
  • Editing Lyrics and and Block Lyrics
  • Adjusting the Size of All Lyrics
  • Add Slurs to Lyrics Plug-In
  • Entering Chord Symbols
  • Moving Chord Symbol Text
  • Editing Chord Suffix Display (Cm = C-)
  • Editing Title, Composer and Lyricist Text
  • Roman Numerals and Default Positions
  • Document Setup (Print Size)

Lesson 3:Time Signatures, Key Signatures, Expressions, and Lines

  • Score Setup: Metronome Mark and Changing Instruments
  • Score Setup: Engraving Rules & Staff Spacing
  • Time Signature and Key Signature Changes
  • Page Layout and Double Barlines
  • Entering Notation and Articulations (via the Keypad)
  • Break Beams
  • Grace Notes and Harmony
  • Expressions
  • Crescendos and Decrescendos (Hairpins) and Rit
  • Tempo Text, Lines, and Slurs
  • Technique Text
  • Playback Options
  • Exercise 3.1: Wayfaring Stranger
  • Vocal Staves (Expressions Above)
  • Changing Text Size and Color
  • Transposing All or Part of a Score

Lesson 4: Real-Time Note Entry with Flexi-Time

  • Real-Time Entry Overview
  • Setting Up the Score for “Saints”
  • Setting the Flexi-time Options
  • Recording "Saints" using Flexi-Time
  • Changing the Default Note Beamingx
  • Recording a Bass Riff: Score Setupx
  • Bass Riff: Score Setup
  • Recording the Bass Riff via Flexi-time
  • Renotate Performance
  • Recording with Two Hands
  • Live Playback
  • Automatically Adding Chord Text

Lesson 5: Polyphony (Voices) and Roadmaps

  • Roadmaps
  • Simple Repeats and Endings
  • Multiple Repeat Endings
  • D.C. al Fine
  • Rehearsal Marks
  • DS al Coda and Indenting Systems
  • D.S. al Coda
  • Voices (Polyphony in a Staff)
  • Setting Up the Piano Score for Wachet Auf!
  • Cautionary Accidentals
  • Entering the Notation Using Voices
  • Editing and Cross Staff Beams

Lesson 6: Drum Set and Percussion

  • Percussion Staves Overview
  • Entering Percussion Parts
  • Drum Set Notation: Overview
  • Drum Set Note Entry Without a MIDI Keyboard
  • Drum Set Note Entry Using a MIDI Keyboard
  • Repeat Bars
  • Slash Marks, Cues, and Fills
  • Slash Notation Playback
  • Rhythmic Notation (Beam with Stem)
  • Editing Drum Maps
  • The Berklee Drum Map
  • Metronome Marks and Swing Playback
  • Score Setup: Engraving Rules and Bar Numbers
  • Exporting House Styles
  • Deleting House Styles

Lesson 7: Instrument-Specific Notation

  • Chord Diagrams (Fretboards)
  • Entering Guitar Diagrams (Fretboards)
  • Overview of the Staff/Instrument Settings
  • Guitar Bends and Slides
  • Guitar Tablature (Tab)
  • Guitar Fingerings
  • Piano Fingerings and Pedal Markings
  • Instrument-Specific Notation: Strings
  • Instrument-Specific Notation: Brass

Lesson 8: Small Scores and Worksheets

  • Creating a Score with Multiple Staves
  • Grouping, Brackets, Braces, and Staff Names
  • Adding and Deleting Staves
  • Staff Spacing and Location
  • Global Space between Systems and Staves
  • Positioning Individual Staves
  • Viewing Staves with "Focus on Staves"
  • Panorama View and Transposing Staves
  • Score Setup and Copy/Paste
  • Adding Expressions, Markings, and Layout
  • Notes Out of Range
  • Score Playback
  • Dynamic Parts
  • Downloading Published Scores

Lesson 9: Score and Parts Formatting

  • Overview and File Download
  • Title Text and Sub-Brackets
  • Double Barlines and Rehearsal Marks
  • Re-Input Pitches
  • Instrument Change and Noteheads .
  • Adding Multiple Articulations
  • Slurs and Hairpins
  • Staff Text
  • Symbols Menu
  • System Text and Lines
  • Magnetic Layout and Optimize
  • Score Layout
  • Formatting Parts
  • Part Layout

Lesson 10: Playback, Exporting, and Plug-ins

  • Playback Configuration
  • Playback Options
  • Performance Options
  • Performance: Espressivo
  • The Mixer
  • Adjusting Reverb
  • Exporting Audio
  • NotePerformer
  • Custom Playback Configuration
  • Other Sound Libraries
  • Exporting in MIDI Format
  • Sibelius and Pro Tools
  • ReWire
  • Installed Plug-ins
  • Adding Plug-Ins
  • Playback Plug-ins

Lesson 11: Large Scores and the Arrange Feature

  • Score Order
  • Title Pages
  • Creating Title Pages
  • Adding Text to Title Pages
  • Score Page Size
  • System Objects and Rehearsal Marks
  • Key Signatures and Time Signatures
  • Copyright Notice
  • Bar Numbers: Scores and Parts
  • Hiding Empty Staves
  • Changing the Percentage Size of a Staff
  • The Arrange Feature
  • Editing an Arrange Style
  • Importing a MIDI File

Lesson 12: Graphics, Sharing, and Manuscript Paper

  • Importing Graphics
  • Exporting Graphics
  • MusicXML
  • Sharing Sibelius Files
  • Cloud Sharing
  • Cloud Sharing Example Embed Page
  • Avid Scorch for iPad
  • Saving a Score in Video Format
  • Score Exchange and SMP Press
  • House Style Guidelines
  • Custom Manuscript Paper
  • Saving, Exporting, and Deleting Manuscript Paper
  • Where to Go from Here (Support)


Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements 

Prerequisite Courses, Knowledge, and/or Skills
The ability to read music notation is required.



  • Sibelius 8.0 or later. Sibelius Ultimate is recommended.


Student Deals
After enrolling, be sure to check out our Student Deals page for various offers on software, hardware, and more. Please contact with any questions.

General Course Requirements

Below are the minimum requirements to access the course environment and participate in Live Classes. Please make sure to also check the Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements section above, and ensure your computer meets or exceeds the minimum system requirements for all software needed for your course. 

Mac Users

PC Users

All Users

  • Latest version of Google Chrome
  • Zoom meeting software
  • Webcam
  • Speakers or headphones
  • External or internal microphone
  • Broadband Internet connection


Dr. Tom Rudolph

Author & Instructor

Dr. Tom Rudolph is an adjunct instructor for Berklee Online, the University of the Arts, Central Connecticut State University, VanderCook MECA, and the Rutgers Mason Gross School of Music. He has authored multiple online courses in music technology and music history. His books include: The Musical iPad, The iPad in the Music Studio, Finale: An Easy Guide to Music Notation (Third Edition), Sibelius: A Comprehensive Guide to Sibelius Music Notation Software (Second Edition), Teaching Music with Technology (Second Edition), Recording in the Digital World, YouTube in Music Education and Finding Funds for Music Technology. He was one of four co-authors of the TIME publication, Technology Strategies for Music Education. Rudolph is the co-author of the Alfred Music Tech Series that includes: Playing Keyboard, Music Production and MIDI Sequencing, and Composing with Notation Software. He has published many articles on music technology that have appeared in the Music Educators Journal, The Instrumentalist, and DownBeat magazine. In addition to his work in music technology, Dr. Rudolph is a trumpet performer in the Philadelphia area and performs with a group called Gaudeamus. His compositions and arrangements have been published by Neil Kjos and Northeastern Music Publications, Inc.

What's Next?

When taken for credit, Music Notation and Score Preparation using Sibelius Ultimate can be applied towards the completion of these related programs:

Related Degree Major


Contact our Academic Advisors by phone at 1-866-BERKLEE (U.S.), 1-617-747-2146 (INT'L), or by email at

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