Sibelius Tutorial: Drum Parts From Scratch

For inexperienced Sibelius users, one of the more complex (and misunderstood) tasks is to create drum parts from scratch.  In a couple of earlier posts I described quick and easy ways to add drum parts to your score – by using the Ideas Hub (Sibelius 5 and 6 only), and by using the Add Drum Part plugin.  However, there are times when you need to start from scratch and the video below describes a straightforward method for doing just that.

And if you’d like to print out a copy of the instructions, they’re here: Drum Parts from Scratch.  The written instructions also describe the method for inputting drum parts using your MIDI keyboard.


Sibelius tutorial: easy manuscript templates

If you compose or arrange regularly for a particular music ensemble, you might find yourself setting up scores using the same group of instruments over and over again.  To save time, you can set up score templates in Sibelius which will appear in the list of ensembles in the New Score Wizard.  To find out how, take a look at this video:


If you ever need to delete or rename a manuscript template you can do so by heading to a folder called Manuscript Paper which is located in Sibelius’s application data folder.  Here are the locations of that folder (which differs depending on which operating system you’re working with):

Windows Vista: C:\Users\username\Application Data\Sibelius Software\Sibelius 6\

Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\

Sibelius Software\Sibelius 6

Mac: /Users/username/Library/Application Support/Sibelius Software/Sibelius 6

Sibelius tutorial: another 1 minute drum part

I thought I’d follow up my earlier tutorial – The 1 Minute Drum Part – with another 1 minute drum part that will also work for Sibelius 3 & 4 users.  In  fact, this solution is so quick it’s more like a 10-second drum part!

[Vimeo http://

The 1 Minute Drum Part: Sibelius tutorial

Creating a drum part in a program like Sibelius can be one of the more difficult notation tasks.  You may have a vague idea of the marching style pattern you need for your band arrangement, or know that you want a swing feel for your stage band piece, but unless you are a percussionist, or you have some experience writing for drum parts it can be difficult knowing how that pattern inside your head should look on the page.

And then you’re faced with working out how to actually create it in Sibelius using multiple independent voices and a variety of noteheads.

Programs like GarageBand and Acid make it easy with ready-made loops that you can drop into your compositions or arrangements. Wouldn’t it be great if Sibelius had a collection of notation loops?  Well you may be surprised to learn that it does!

Take a look at this video to discover the secret of the 1 Minute Drum Part:


The Ideas window which is featured in this video first appeared in Sibelius 5 and it’s a fantastic resource for students, teachers, composers and arrangers. There’s a lot more to it than just using the drum patterns – take a look at the Sibelius’s Reference manual for more information.

Because the Ideas window was introduced into Sibelius 5, Sibelius 3  and 4 users won’t be able to take advantage of this drum part creation tool.  But don’t worry, there is a 1 Minute Drum Part solution for you too.  Look out for the next tutorial.

Sibelius tutorial #2: creating rhythmic flashcards

And here’s the second Sibelius tutorial video – how to create rhythmic flashcards using stick notation.


Creating melodic flashcards with Sibelius

Here’s the first of a series of short tutorial videos: how to create melodic flashcards with Sibelius and Microsoft Word.  If you’re a Kodaly or Orff advocate, you’ll know how useful it can be to use melodic and rhythmic flashcards to reinforce learning in the music classroom.  This first tutorial shows you how to create a short melody in Sibelius and then copy it across into Microsoft Word where you can reformat it and print it out.  Look out for the follow-up tutorial about creating rhythmic flashcards with stick notation.