Music notation software accommodations in response to coronavirus outbreak


The coronavirus, or Covid-19 outbreak has upended life around the globe. At this uncertain time our first thoughts are with those in greatest need of support and help, as well as the critical responders in the health and service fields that are caring for those in need.

For the many others who are fortunate to remain in good health but whose daily routines mostly involve staying close to home during this period, the music notation software companies have made accommodations for their users in the form of modified license policies, extended trial periods, or sales.

The following is a summary of those accommodations. We also have information about the annual meeting of the W3C Music Notation Community Group, which will be held online due to the cancellation of Musikmesse 2020.

Please be well, everyone, and continue to create music however best you can.

We’ll continue to update this post as warranted.


Updated: April 4, 2020

Beginning March 16, 2020 and continuing at least through Friday, April 17, Avid is providing temporary 90-day licenses of its creative tools, free of charge, to qualified media enterprise and educational customers, including Media Composer Ultimate, Pro Tools, Pro Tools Ultimate and Sibelius Ultimate.

Qualified customers include users who must work remotely because their facility has been closed as well as any student of an institution who uses our products and can no longer attend school and/or access school facilities.

This does not pertain to users with an individual license, but rather specifically users who ordinarily access Avid products at work or school through an institutional license. Companies and schools need to make the request on behalf of their employees or students.

To read the full instructions about how to obtain a temporary license, please see this document.

Avid has also created a Knowledge Base article with “suggestions to help our customers stay productive during this unprecedented time,” in light of the fact that remote work has surged during this period. Avid has acknowledged “intermittent issues with Pro Tools Cloud Collaboration, Sibelius Cloud Sharing, and Avid Link,” and said that “these are temporary issues and we are working to resolve them as soon as possible.”


Updated: April 4, 2020

Beginning March 17, 2020 and continuing indefinitely, MakeMusic has doubled the free trial period of Finale, to 60 days from the usual 30 days. The free trial is fully functional, allowing you to create scores, generate parts, play, print, and save Finale files. Everything is included in the trial except the Garritan sounds.

Additionally, for schools impacted by COVID-19 closures who do not already have a SmartMusic subscription, MakeMusic is offering free access through June 30, 2020. To sign up for this free SmartMusic access, teachers should fill out this form to inform MakeMusic of their needs. Students should not request access.

On the official Finale blog, MakeMusic has provided additional resources for teachers and schools transitioning to remote music instruction.


Updated: April 17, 2020

Beginning on April 2 and continuing through May 15, 2020, Steinberg is making four of its Elements products available for a 60-day trial period. Called the #StayHome Elements Collection, the package includes Dorico Elements, as well as Cubase Elements, WaveLab Elements, and the Absolute Collection of instruments.

Dorico Elements is the mid-tier version of Dorico geared especially towards students and hobbyists, with a limitation of 12 players per project. A complete feature comparison of the three Dorico tiers is on the official Dorico web site.

Steinberg is also offering VST Connect Pro, its remote recording solution, at a special 50% discount of $75 (instead of the $150 regular price) until June 30, 2020. The promotion is accessible through a page on Steinberg’s web site.


Updated April 4, 2020

Musescore is already free, and we have not seen any specific response to the coronavirus outbreak. However, fairly recently the score sharing web site lifted the maximum of five scores restriction it had placed on free users. Users with a free account can now upload an unlimited number of scores.


Updated April 4, 2020

PreSonus is encouraging users to “Create while you isolate”. To that end, they have a 30% off sale on Studio One and Notion through April 30, 2020. The offer is available worldwide and extends to Notion as well as Studio One Professional, Studio One Artist, and Studio One upgrades, as well as the PreSonus Artist Bundle, which includes Studio One and Notion.

PreSonus has several other sales and offers going on right now, which can be found at the PreSonus blog.


Updated April 4, 2020

As of March 18, 2020, Noteflight is offering Noteflight Learn access through June 30, 2020, for any school or district with closures. Noteflight Learn is a user’s own private website designed specifically for music education. All users have Noteflight Premium features plus the ability to organize classes, easily create assignments, and use Noteflight Learn Content Libraries. Noteflight Learn also integrates with Google Classroom as well as other popular Learning Management Systems via the LTI standard.

To sign up for free Noteflight Learn access for the rest of the school year, complete the Demo Request Form on Noteflight’s website. Noteflight will set you up for the total number of users you enter through June 30th. For multiple schools or district implementation, email Noteflight at to let them know your needs, including: Number of schools, teachers, and students; your familiarity with Noteflight; and if you are interested in integrating with Google Classroom or another learning management system.

Noteflight has also provided resources for teachers and students on their web site.

W3C Music Notation Community Group

Updated April 4, 2020

With Musikmesse canceled for 2020, the annual meeting of the W3C Music Notation Community Group will be online this year. The Group develops and maintains format and language specifications for notated music used by web, desktop, and mobile applications.

The meeting is scheduled for Thursday April 30, 2020 at 2:00 pm UTC. This will be 7:00 am in San Francisco, 10:00 am in New York, 3:00 pm in London, 4:00 pm in Frankfurt, and 11:00 pm in Tokyo. The meeting is scheduled for 2 hours and the agenda includes MusicXML 3.2 and updates on SMuFL and MNX.

The meeting will use Zoom. It will be recorded for those that cannot attend at the appointed time.

To sign up for the meeting and obtain the calendar invitation and meeting ID, use the provided form. The Group reserves the right to reschedule the meeting, depending on participants’ availability.

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