Sibelius Training Rolled Out for Music Teachers at US Military Bases Around the World
People travel great distances to attend the independently run music software workshops at the Mike Klinger Music Technology Retreat in Carson, Washington, located in the Columbia River Gorge about 50 miles east of Portland, Oregon. This past September, Klinger did the traveling himself, training 260 music teachers employed by the Department of Defense in Japan, Germany and Atlanta, Georgia – this as part of a widespread deployment of the Sibelius/Photoscore Pro bundle. These educators, in turn, are now fanning out and bringing the power of Sibelius 4 notation software with them to every U.S. military base in the country and around the globe.
Klinger has trained thousands of educators in the use of music software, and in many ways, the DOD seminars were similar to the ones he usually conducts. The emotional scale of these trainings differed however in the unique and important impact that his audience might eventually avail its students when they begin emailing their musical scores to their parents – using Sibelius Scorch technology.
“That’s when the magnitude of what I was doing hit me,” he said. “This (Scorch) is the best feature of Sibelius. Department of Defense teachers train kids whose parents are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. At the schools, the kids are learning to compose a piece of music that they can send to the front lines and say ‘check out this new piece that I wrote at school.’ Mom or Dad can listen to it right there. That realization brought tears to my eyes.”
Sibelius Scorch is the standard for the digital delivery of music – whether over the Internet or via fixed media such as a CD. Sibelius users simply save their scores as Scorch files and then share them via the web or email. The recipients then use the free software plug-in to view, play, customize and print the scores.
Klinger presented seminars at a conference that helped orient the teachers to recently-revised Defense Department curriculum standards in music, designed to “provide music teachers with a structure of music instruction that injects a high degree of rigor in music education,” according to the Department of Defense Educational Activity website—the entity that oversees around 220 schools that serve over 100,000 dependents of military personnel and civilian employees at bases in the United States and abroad.
The standards include requiring students to compose and arrange music within specified guidelines, learn how to read and notate music, and spend time listening to, analyzing, and describing music.
Sibelius 4 helps teachers meet these aspects of the standards, said Klinger, who added that the teachers he trained in the U.S. represent some of the very first in the country to receive and train on Sibelius 4.
In addition to the Sibelius 4/Photoscore Pro bundle, the Department of Defense has provided its schools with a new laptop computer, a Korg Triton LE 88 keyboard, Band in a Box, Digidesign MBOX with Pro Tools LE, a Yamaha STAGEPAS PA System, M-Audio USB midi interface, powered speakers and stereo recording microphones.
For Educators, Sibelius 4 represents a great leap forward, notes Klinger, particularly the extensive music lessons and worksheets, along with the improved interface between Sibelius and Photoscore Pro.
“Scanning is huge,” he said. “In one of my classes, I have teachers go online and get a free public domain download of Pachelbel’s Canon and have them scan it as a PDF file and send it to Sibelius for arranging. They can then take that little piano piece and have it thoroughly arranged for concert band. They love that, and with so much free music on the Internet, they know they can download something awesome.”
Klinger, a jazz pianist, has a knack for demystifying music software, and part of his strategy is to make students feel comfortable. Klinger is also renowned for the meals he serves at his workshops in Washington, and has partnered with a bed and breakfast establishment two miles from his classroom—equipped with hot tubs and accessible to windsurfing, fishing, hiking, and mountain biking opportunities—so that students can take full advantage of the stunning setting to physically and mentally decompress.
“I taught college, so I know what teachers go through,” he said. “I try to get them to really relax and truly have a retreat. After we study, it’s important to call it quits, pour a glass of wine, and eat some fresh salmon from the local rivers.”
Patience during the teaching process also helps Klinger overcome his students’ technophobia. “Teachers have heard horror stories about other notation software programs and they’re sometimes scared to begin,” he says. “Once they get into Sibelius, they see how easy it can be. I’ve had more than 5,000 teachers take my workshops, and the word is out that what I teach makes logical sense and provides them with productivity and security. They know they’re going to leave saying ‘I can do this.’”
For more information about Mike Klinger and his Sibelius workshops, please visit