Music Notation Using Sibelius


Authored by Tom Rudolph


Course Code: OCWPR-103

Next Term Starts September 24

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. 

Read More

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:

  • Use Sibelius to create scores and parts including professional-looking lead sheets, arrangements, and worksheets
  • Enter notation with and without a MIDI instrument, enter multiple verses of lyrics, chord symbols, articulations, expressions, and a wide variety of text styles
  • Master dozens of shortcuts to dramatically speed up your music entry and editing
  • Play back your creations with the latest tools in virtual synthesis
  • Scan music notation into Sibelius and compose to video
Read Less


Lesson 1: Notating a Single-Staff Melody

  • Opening a New Score Using Manuscript Paper
  • Moving Around the Score: Navigator and Zoom options
  • Entering Notes by Clicking the Mouse
  • Fixing Mistakes
  • Entering Notation by Typing the A-G Letters on the Computer Keyboard
  • Adding and Deleting Measures; Layout and Formatting
  • Getting Help
  • Applying the Make Layout Uniform Plug-in
  • Text Book and Video Review

Lesson 2: Creating a Lead Sheet with Lyrics and Chords

  • Entering Notation Step Time via MIDI
  • Score Setup (Engraving Rules)
  • Entering Tempo Text
  • Entering Triplets
  • Entering Grace Notes and Multi-note Slurs
  • Entering Lyrics
  • Entering and Editing Chord Symbols
  • Changing the Print Size

Lesson 3: Repeats, Lines, Rehearsal Marks, and Time/Key Signatures

  • Your Goals as a Band/Individual
  • Score Setup: Metronome Mark and Selecting Violin
  • Time Signature and Key Signature Changes
  • Rehearsal Marks and System Breaks
  • Indenting Systems
  • Entering Notation and Articulations (Keypad)
  • Breaking Selected Beams
  • Expressions (entered below the staff)
  • Repeat Bars and First and Second Endings
  • Crescendos and Decrescendos (Hairpins) and Rit…..
  • D.S. al Coda
  • Changing the Size with Properties

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

  • Setting Up the Score for "Saints"
  • Setting the Flexi-time Options
  • Recording and Playing Back "Saints"
  • Deleting Bars and Creating a Blank Score
  • Recording the Bass Riff
  • Recording with Two Hands
  • Changing the Default Note Beaming
  • Entering Piano Fingerings and Technique Text
  • Automatic Chord Symbol Plug-in

Lesson 5: Multiple Stave Scores and Worksheets

  • Starting a Score from Manuscript Paper
  • Grouping, Brackets, Braces, and Staff Names
  • Adding and Deleting Staves
  • Staff Spacing and Location
  • Viewing Staves
  • Score Setup and Copy/Paste
  • Notes Out of Range and Adding Intervals
  • Transposition (Diatonic and Chromatic)
  • Formatting Staves
  • Part Extraction (Dynamic Parts)
  • Sample Repertoire from Worksheets

Lesson 6: Voices, Polyphony, and Rhythm Section Parts

  • Setting up the Piano Staff
  • Voices (Polyphony in a staff)
  • Editing and Cross Staff Beams
  • Drum Maps
  • Entering Drum Set Parts
  • Slash Marks and Cues
  • Muting Playback and Editing Drum Maps
  • Technique Text and Metronome Mark

Lesson 7: Page Formatting, Staff and System Text, Properties

  • Page Formatting
  • Changing Noteheads
  • Bar Numbers and Rehearsal Letters
  • Articulation Entry
  • System text
  • Staff Text
  • Creating and modifying Word menus
  • Filter

Lesson 8: Scanning Music with Photoscore Lite; using the Arrange Feature

  • Scanning with Photoscore Lite
  • Re-pitch
  • The Arrange feature
  • Customize dynamically linked parts

Lesson 9: Guitar Chord Diagrams, Tablature, Custom Staves, and Graphics

  • Guitar Diagrams
  • Edit Staff Types
  • Guitar Tablature and Guitar ASCII Tab
  • Symbols
  • Importing custom graphics for use in Sibelius.
  • Exporting Sibelius notation in graphic format
  • Music Fonts

Lesson 10: Playback, Saving Audio, and Downloading MIDI files

  • The Mixer
  • Performance Playback options
  • Live Playback and View Velocities
  • Transfer Live playback
  • Searching for and opening MIDI files
  • Playing back with Kontakt Player
  • Saving in Audio Format - converting to MP3

Lesson 11: Working with Video and Audio

  • Viewing and Scrolling Video
  • Hit Points and Time Code
  • Composing a Piano Accompaniment
  • Time Manipulation
  • Expanding into a Complete Arrangement
  • Importing Audio Files

Lesson 12: Sharing Your Sibelius Files

  • Sharing PDF files
  • Sharing MIDI files
  • Sharing MP3 files
  • Sibelius Scorch
  • Create a free website at
  • Sibelius Support Wrap-up



The ability to read music notation is required.

Required Textbook

Sibelius 7 Music Notation Essentials by James Humberstone, Cengage Learning PTR

Software Requirements

  • Sibelius 7 or higher
  • Students should install the companion programs that come with Sibelius including Kontakt Player Silver, Photoscore Lite, and Scorch

Mac Users

  • OS X 10.9 Mavericks or higher (click here for system requirements)
  • Latest version of Google Chrome

Windows Users

  • Windows 7 or higher (click here for system requirements)
  • Latest version of Google Chrome

Hardware Requirements

  • 2 GB RAM (4 GB recommended)
  • 500 MB hard drive space
  • Speakers or headphones
  • Webcam
  • Internet connection with at least 4 Mbps download speed ( to verify or download the Speedtest by Ookla app from your mobile app store)



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.


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

We can also answer basic questions in the comments below. Please note that all comments are public.