Features for worksheet creation

I do a lot of creating lessons and worksheets for band instruments. I did a big project recently and, as a longtime Finale user, I found Dorico a real treat to work with. The combination of flows and frames, with the ability to assign any flow to any frame, made it very easy to get the content where I wanted it.

I tried having all my different instruments in one project but eventually decided it was more efficient to do each instrument in its own file and use “Save As” to create the sheets for other instruments. I just found that getting the master page just right and then having to be careful about doing overrides was just too fussy, and the Save As method works like a charm, even if it does mean I end up with a lot a files. When I do this I delete the full score layout so I have only the part, to keep things nice and simple.

A few things that would have made the creation of lesson sheets a little easier. Perhaps some of these have solutions I didn’t come across, but here is my “wish list” for such projects:

  1. I would love the ability to duplicate frames within a layout. Many Mac programs make this possible through a simple Option/drag procedure. This would be much faster than having to draw out each frame individually, especially when I tend to have half a dozen or more flows on each page, each with a music frame and a couple of text frames.
  2. I could not find a way to assign keyboard shortcuts to switch between the different kinds of frames when creating them. This would be very handy.
  3. It would be nice if the type of frame would stay selected until you change it, so I didn’t have to keep selecting, say, text frames over and over to create new ones.
  4. I use the new lines feature in a bit of a non-standard way, using arrows to point to various elements of the notation from explanatory text boxes. It would be great if these arrows could be graphic items only and not have to be assigned to a note. It is a multi-step process to assign an arrow to a note, then change to graphic editing to move the arrow to where I need it. Results look great, but I always feel like I’m using lines in a different way than they were intended.
  5. I find that the arrows I have attached to notes disappear if I do a “Save As” and then change the instrument to one with a different transposition. This means creating them all again, and I often have several on a page.
  6. I have found that I can attach arrows to notes in a solo snare drum part, but I don’t seem to be able to attach them to the snare drum notes in a kit.

As I said, there may be solutions to these things that I just haven’t discovered. I learned a lot while doing my project, and for the most part Dorico made my life easier than it ever was with Finale. Love the program!

  1. You can already copy frames between pages in the layout, though it’s a bit of a fussy procedure at the moment, described here.
  2. I don’t think there is a way to do this at present, but I’ll make a note to try to allow this in a future version.
  3. I’m not sure about this one – in general items in Dorico’s panels are not sticky like this (with the arguable exception of the notes panel in Write mode), so it needs a bit of thought.

Your points regarding lines do, I agree, arise from you wanting them to do slightly different things than we intended them for. We’ve not really seriously considered making it possible to add lines in Engrave mode at the page level rather than within music frames, but I’ll ponder that idea.