Teaching material suggestions?

I am planning to talk with the principal and music department in the school where I work as pianist about the possibility to teach Dorico to students who are interested in engraving. What world be a good workflow to teach the program? Using a goal like for example a piano and voice piece and explain the steps needed to get there? Or start by explaining the program itself?

Depends the level of the students. I would explain enough to get them going, then ask them to compose in Dorico. When someone hits a problem that will be a teaching cue for the whole class.

Depends… you said “interested in engraving.” That, to me, would be an entirely different approach than if they were interested in composing.

For engraving, I would focus on some of the most important engraving conventions, then show how Dorico does most of them automatically. It’s a way to teach proper engraving in reverse.

For composing, I would spend some time showing the non-destructive nature of a note. Lengthen it, shorten it, move it up or down (diatonic or chromatic), add an interval above, copy it using R… lots of possibilities!!

I have to correct myself here, yes, it will be in the first place composing. Putting their ideas on paper.

For composing, I would spend some time showing the non-destructive nature of a note. Lengthen it, shorten it, move it up or down (diatonic or chromatic), add an interval above, copy it using R… lots of possibilities!!

This is an excellent idea, start with the basics. But this is probably something that will come up anyway while they start to compose, so I think the best approach is to simply start with the goal to compose a piece. Then explain everything they need t know on the way. That would also avoid teaching them things they don’t really need.

Using composition to teach engraving gives the students the sense that they are solving real-world problems, rather than a dry exposition of the nature of copying.

They will soon start exploring the program on their own if you spend a lesson teaching them the basics (for example what setup mode, write mode and play mode are, how players flows and layouts work (a simplified version is enough to get started) how to access the panels around the main display, etc.

Find out what they want to compose (or what their exam syllabus wants, as project work). For example if they want to write drum tracks, they will need a bit of explanation to get started doing that, and want to know about repeat bars, etc. Playing back chords might get them producing something faster than only working with notes.

This is assuming they already know the basics about music notation - otherwise, you will have to teach that as well.

After that, I would focus on answering questions, and (if necessary) showing them better or quicker ways to do things they have figured out for themselves. (But kids being kids and not having hang-ups about trying things “in case they break something”, they might soon be teaching you better and quicker ways of working…)

Hi Andre, and members who contibuted, nice to read from enthusiasts for teaching needs on this forum!

I began with Sibelius 4 making worksheet material for students who played an instrument for one or several years already and now wanted to learn how to compose. The goal of the course was also to fill in the gaps in basic musical knowledge.

Dorico now helps a lot more to stay on topic:

  • the automatic engraving is outstanding. Engraving is done. More time for the musical topics.
  • you don’t need to explain the program itself. It’s vice versa, the musical topics explaining the program!

As an example a worksheet named First Species Counterpoint. When you open the project you will see the full score with musical examples and explanations and the rules.
There are other flows with a given cantus firmus as starting points. But theses flows are invisible in full score. The student navigates to the setup mode to learn how to make flows visible/invisible.
Back to write mode we see the cantus firmus example and sing it or let it play back. Now we want to write a counterpoint so we have to add a second voice to the players.
In Setup Mode we also learn how to exclude/include players from flows, i.e. we see that the piano is only checked for the first flow.

In the second example an eight bar melody is given with explanations about the fundamentals about tonal harmony. The goal is to find good chord sequences to that melody.
In the next example the starting point is a piano left hand chord progression. We compose our own melody in the right hand. We duplicate the flow and start to alter the chord progression with substitutions and adding parts. Adding a second voice. We apply the idea to a jazz quartet, and so on, all within in the same project.

Just some examples for beginners.