Sibelius USA, Inc. Newsletter - October, 2005


Welcome to the October issue of Gracenotes—our e-mail newsletter to Sibelius enthusiasts in North, Central and South America. We have another jam-packed issue this month, so let’s get right to it.

Our educational spotlight shines on the Bellevue (Wash.) School District, where an area high school and middle school participated in a pilot composition program using Sibelius. We have the story and we have a PDF of the teacher's manual they created to support the program. Also, the legendary Wayne Downey, Music Director for eleven-time DCI Champion Blue Devils, chats about his use of Sibelius 4 for composing and arranging.

Our featured Sibelius users this month include Michael Tilson-Thomas – Recipient of the Gramophone Magazine Artist of the Year Award, A-List sax man Ron Blake and David Finck, one of the most sought after bassists in the New York metropolitan area. We also had the pleasure of hanging out with a pair of monster musicians this past month, these being the incomparable Phil Woods and Pat Metheny – details below.

Kudos for Sibelius Student Edition! The program was chosen this year for a Silver medal by the Parents' Choice Foundation - joining a growing list of Sibelius products thus honored, including Sibelius itself and Sibelius Compass.

We appreciate your feedback and encourage you to e-mail us at to share your thoughts about past, present or future editions of Gracenotes.

Mark Ruch, Editor


Sibelius in the Classroom

Pilot Composition Program at Bellevue Leads to Success at Performance Level

Located in the Seattle, Wash. area, the Bellevue School District has a track record of high standards and notable achievement – college placement rates hover near 90 percent, and its high schools have been listed by Newsweek among the best in the nation. When curriculum planners in its music department decided that students needed a grounding in composition to reach their potential as performers, they turned to Sibelius to power a pilot program.


Beginning in April, 22 students in Sammamish High School and 120 students in Tyee Middle School worked in 30-station computer labs equipped with the Sibelius Education Suite, using site licenses funded by the school district in part through a community-approved technology levy. To kick off the program, district technology and music experts wrote and printed their own instructional booklet incorporating the program goals and the use of Sibelius.

Despite instructors’ initial wariness about pushing their regular performance schedule back two weeks, says district Technology Curriculum Coach Jack Halm, “The feedback was overwhelmingly positive.” And the reaction among students? “What’s another word besides excited?”

To read the entire article click here.

Downey Marches to Success with Sibelius Software

Wayne Downey
Wayne Downey

Wayne Downey is Music Director of the eleven-time Drum Corps International (DCI) Champion Concord Blue Devils Drum & Bugle Corps. Under his supervision as arranger and teacher, the Blue Devils’ brass section has been awarded the Jim Ott Memorial Trophy for “Excellence in Brass Performance” a record-setting 20 times – more than any other brass sections in the history of DCI.

One of the finest brass clinicians and arrangers in the world, Downey enjoys an active teaching schedule as arranger and musical consultant with the Tony® and Emmy® Award-winning show Blast, the Drum Corps Associates (DCA) Champions the Syracuse Brigadiers, as well as many other high school and college programs. As a program consultant, he has guided the Lassiter (Ga.) High School Band and the Westfield (Texas) H.S. Band to the Bands of America Grand National Championship.

A key component of his success is Sibelius 4 notation software. “Sibelius 4 is the best notation software available in the world,” says Downey. “It’s really helped me creatively as both an arranger and composer.”

To read the entire article click here.

Sibelius Student Edition Wins Silver Award from Parents’ Choice Foundation

Sibelius Software Ltd. was honored this summer by the Parents’ Choice Foundation, garnering a Silver Award for the Sibelius Student Edition music notation software program. Fewer than 15 percent of products submitted receive this prestigious commendation.

Sibelius Student

The Parents’ Choice Awards Program identifies the best products for children of various ages, backgrounds, skills and interests. Awards are given to those products that meet and exceed standards set by educators, scientists, performing artists and children. The awards committee looks for products that entertain and teach with flair, stimulate imagination and inspire creativity.

Created specifically for students in fourth grade through college, the Sibelius Student Edition eliminates the handwritten notation process completely. All notes, rests, accidentals, articulations, triplets and staves are provided for the user by the program. With the click of a mouse, children can add notes and play them back to see how they work. By using the playback function, young musicians can develop an understanding of how different notes sound and interact with one another. This process enhances ear training and helps students refine their work, ultimately making them stronger musicians.

To read the entire article click here.


Pat Metheny Visits the John Lennon Educational Touring Bus

Pat Metheny & John Lennon Tour Bus
Counter-clockwise, from back/right, Steve Miller, Pat Metheny, Brian Rothschild, Jonny Cragg, Anthony Babino, Mark Ruch and Tom Vendettelli.

Pat Metheny sports one of the busiest schedules of any human being I’ve ever met, and yet he dedicated one of his very infrequent days off to help out with a student recording project aboard the John Lennon Educational Touring Bus in NYC. Pat not only contributed his guidance and encouragement, but also a guitar solo to the song “How she does it,” which was performed by Wagner College students Tom Vendettelli and Anthony Babino (who composed the tune). Both Tom and Anthony study with guitarist, teacher and Sibelius trainer Ernie Jackson, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this track turns up on the radio sometime soon.

The session also featured the driving drum work of Jonny Cragg (of the 22s and Spacehog) and the engineering of Steve Miller (no, not that Steve Miller).  In typical John Lennon Bus fashion, the entire project was recorded, videotaped, mixed and edited in a single day, and can be viewed at the JLSC website by clicking on the following link and scrolling all the way to the bottom of the page:

After providing the two young musicians with enough inspiration to last the duration of their artistic careers, Metheny generously spared some additional time to talk with us about his use of Sibelius and his thoughts on the impact of technology on music education.  We hope to have the videotaped conversation ready for the next issue of Gracenotes. Stay tuned! 

By the way, the Pat Metheny Trio (and Quartet) are currently touring with an amazing set; I was fortunate enough to catch them at one of their stops in California and can’t recommend this current lineup highly enough – it includes Christian McBride, who is absolutely on fire these days, along with Antonio Sanchez and (on most dates) David Sanchez.  If talent carried the physical property of weight, there wouldn’t be a stage that could hold these guys.  Details of the tour can be found here:  If you can’t catch them live, keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming album – which they just recorded this past week.

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Featured Sibelius Users

Michael Tilson-Thomas Receives Gramophone Magazine Artist of the Year Award

Michael Tilson-Thomas
Michael Tilson-Thomas

The Gramophone Awards are often called the Oscars of the classical music world, and Gramophone Magazine recently named Michael Tilson-Thomas as Artist of the Year. Congratulations Michael from all your friends at Sibelius! According to the UK magazine’s James Jolly, Tilson-Thomas was a 'hugely popular choice for Artist of the Year, securing a considerable lead over the runner-up, and it is a measure of his stature that the vote was truly an international one.' On the day of the Classic FM Gramophone Awards, MTT conducted (and recorded) Mahler's Fifth Symphony and in November, European audiences can catch him at the helm of his old orchestra, the LSO, in a celebration of the music of Tchaikovsky, a composer clearly close to his heart.

Ron Blake
Ron Blake

Ron Blake Sits Down With Jazz Improv Magazine

Sax great Ron Blake was recently interviewed by our friends at Jazz Improv Magazine about his longstanding career, latest CD Sonic Tonic and working with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Hargrove and more recently fellow Sibelius user Christian McBride in the current edition of Jazz Improv. He is a Sibelius endorsee now using Sibelius 4, and is as thoughtful in this interview as he is in his playing and composing.

To read the entire article click here.

Sibelius Yields New Songs, New Discoveries for David Finck

For David Finck, music is not only a vocation, but a lifelong education. Yet despite his success, Finck will be the first to admit that each step came with the obligatory learning curve—in becoming one of the most sought-after bassists in New York, in making the transition to becoming an equally sought-after arranger and producer, and as a relatively new Sibelius user.

David Finck
David Finck

Hailing from a musical family, Finck began playing bass at age 10, studying with members of the Philadelphia Orchestra while still in high school. He graduated from the Eastman School of Music, and shortly thereafter began touring with Woody Herman and his Thundering Herd. Since then, he has built a reputation for diversity, moving comfortably between jazz, pop, Brazilian and classical genres, while amassing appearance and recording credits that read like a “Who’s Who”—Dizzy Gillespie, Aretha Franklin, Sinead O’Connor, Natalie Cole, Rod Stewart, Herbie Hancock, Al Jarreau, Tony Bennett, Ivan Lins, Paquito D’Rivera, George Michael, Rosemary Clooney, Andre Previn and Elton John.

Finck is currently working on a Brazilian-themed project with American singer Christy Barron, mapping out parts for piano, bass, drums, two horns, vocal and Brazilian percussion.

To read the entire article click here.

Yamaha’s “Day of Saxophones”

Phil Woods
Phil Woods

On Saturday, October 8, approximately 70 people attended “Day of Saxophones” sponsored by Yamaha Corporation of America and held at Yamaha Artist Services, Inc. in New York City. The day-long event began with open instrument testing, and Sibelius was invited to participate and demonstrate Sibelius 4.

Following the testing, the Capitol Quartet and Phil Woods held clinics and concerts. Jazz legend Woods is an avid Sibelius user; when asked how technology has changed his writing process, he replied, “Sibelius 4 is the best. I downloaded and fell in love with Sibelius 1. But I’m a tinkerer. I’m always changing my arrangements. Sibelius 4’s Dynamic Parts is magnificent. It’s going to save me hours of work. I’m a firm believer in the new tools, especially Sibelius 4.”

To learn more about one of the most influential jazz musicians of all time, please visit:  Phil not only keeps his busy touring schedule updated on his website, but also has a great assortment of lead sheets and big band charts which he makes available using Sibelius Scorch.  After all this time, Phil is still on the cutting edge


Hints & Tips

Hints & Tips for Sibelius Users

Check out our on-line archive for a variety of Sibelius Hints & Tips created by Robin Hodson and Bruce Munson, U.S. Eastern and Western Regional Managers for Sibelius. To download these free resources, please click here.


Hints & Tips for G7 Users

Check out our on-line archive for a variety of valuable G7 Hints & Tips created by Bruce Munson, U.S. Western Regional Manager for Sibelius. These references also give quick tips for getting started with G7. To download these free resources, please click here


Upcoming Training, Shows and Events

Are you interested in learning more about Sibelius 4? We are offering training sessions in many locations around the U.S. over the next several months. Two types of sessions are available : Sibelius - Beginning, and Sibelius - Intermediate/Advanced.

Training Schedule

Date Time Location Type
Saturday, November 5 9 am - 4:00 pm St Mary's Hall -
Villanova University, PA
Sibelius Beginning Session


For more information, or to reserve your space, please visit:


Sibelius will be exhibiting at the following regional seminars, expos and national trade shows:

Upcoming shows and events

Event Dates Location Booth Number Link
Wisconsin MEA Conference 10-26 to 10-28 Madison Wisconsin 1317
PASIC 11-2 to 11-5 Columbus OH 64-65
The Midwest Clinic 12-13 to 12-17 Chicago IL 22,23,32


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