Wow! like ... wow! (and thank you once again ...)

As many may know since it’s been talked about even on the Steinberg blog, the Red Deer Symphony has this program (Choir Kids) where elementary school choirs perform with us. They each perform two short songs (I am indeed using the word properly here) chosen by their teacher which I subsequently orchestrate for a – + strings at group. The concerts happen on two different days. On each of those days, we rehearse and perform two mini-concerts featuring four or five schools each. There is a mob-choir number for everyone at the end of each concert. Each two-concert day has a “book” for each musician. It’s loads of work, but loads of fun!

Normally, these 33 to 41 mini-charts will take me four to five weeks to complete, but Dorico has steadily been reducing that time. And behold this year – the 20th anniversary of the project and my third year doing it with Dorico:

I got the music on February 28
It is now March 15,
I am DONE!

Sure, there are always some repeats from year to year. Also, this is one of the shorter iterations of the project where we are dealing with 33 charts. But I have other things on the go as well and the time I devote to each project has to be extremely well managed. I can also say that I have included a whole lot more detail in each score and part than I did for the last 20 years. Let that sink in: I have halved the time I spend arranging for Choir Kids and I have added a greater level of detail to the scores.

This is VERY significant. In the end, it is the myriad of little details in Dorico’s design that have allowed this transformation. Of course, right off the bat, flows are perfect for this project and the ability to make books for the musicians is already a great time-saver. But I think what really made the difference this year was:

Automatic tacets
Select more
Propagate properties
All arranging tools which I have set to shortcuts:

  • Move up/down a staff
  • Copy up/down a staff
  • Swap staff content
  • Paste into voice x
  • Explode

And probably more.

All I have is a computer with two monitors and a small, 4 octave MIDI controller. I often use Photoscore to get me started, but not always.
Of course, I am much more fluent and fluid using Dorico now than I was two years ago. Still, there was no real change of speed for 17 years and it is therefore quite obvious that the game changer in the last three years has been the software. Doing such a project at a one year interval for such a long period of times is definitely a wonderful “lab experiment”, and even though I am a fan of the product to start with, I am a little shocked at the speed with which I completed everything this year; especially in the light of how fast I thought I was with my previous software, now in the hands of the “Big Purple People-Eating Company” (to quote an anonymous Dorico employee).

So onward and upwards, and thanks for all the hard work!

Awesome, congratulations Claude. You’re the man.


I can say for the few things I have done, Dorico has cut my time half on every project I have re-done from scratch.

And I think you mean “ex employee”.


I meant a Dorico employee. I’ll change it!

I’ve found similar Claude. A major project at the end of last year was delivered to me months later than usual and completed in half the time. This is over a hundred flows on my nine year old MacBook. Having it all in one file with parts able to set flows on each page saved time and paper. Flow headings and tacets arrived just in time. I’ve been used to writing in six different applications, but now I find it quite painful to be away from Dorico.

In Sibelius, it took me an hour average to produce one minute of orchestral music. With Dorico, it takes an average of 20 minutes per minute. Big difference!

(With Finale, it was just simply impossible. I would end up in a screaming fit and throwing things at the walls. No average amount of time per minute of music! That’s why my late wife made me switch to Sibelius. It saved what was left of my sanity. She was gone by the time Dorico came around, but would definitely have approved.)


I’ve finally unlocked the supreme utility of flows just recently… I’ve been working on a large worship aid booklet for Holy Week this year; being able to put each little snippet of music, each responsory, hymn, etc. into its own flow, all within the same file, with the same margins, text size, rastral size, etc. etc. has been a life saver! I know that everything will come out perfectly uniform and it’s all within one file! So yes, I agree, Dorico saves time, in spades. Also, I’ve become utterly addicted to pop-up boxes. The utility of key commands (and midi-programmable ones too!) cannot be understated. (I currently have 38 functions mapped to midi buttons on my kb. It’s awesome!)

I keep meaning to post positive things to counteract the undoubted negative feel of there always seeming to be problems on the board and on the FB page (usually solved PDQ, but a pile of histrionic exclamation marks does leave an impression). I’m sure I’m one of a busy silent majority of Dorico users who just get on with composing, arranging and copying with this extraordinary tool.
As I have horribly messy handwriting even I can read only with difficulty, music notation software has changed my life, through first Finale, then Encore, Sibelius and many of the little things that pop up on iOS. Dorico is the best, and if I tend to obsessively compose and only do layout and other business as an afterthought, Dorico manages to accommodate my eccentricity as if it were designed just for me.j

I would also like to thank the folks who regularly post to this forum to help with other people’s problems. I fade in and out, depending on how busy I am, but it’s really inspiring to see people consistently helping others - Daniel (of course), Leo, Dan, Rob and others - I really appreciate your generosity and expertise!

Don’t forget Marc! (He deserves better than being lumped with “others”)

Agh!! Sorry Marc, I can’t believe I forgot to include you! Thanks Claude - you’re on this list as well, of course!

Any time, Stephen :wink:

Thanks Claude and Stephen, and don’t worry, you did not hurt my feelings — I’m less active now, because I’m too busy… using Dorico !!! [Edit] And also because the documentation is way better now than what it was two years ago, thanks to Lillie Harris!