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 188.8.131.52 – 0.1.0.0 + strings at 184.108.40.206.1 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:
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
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!