Tom Rudolph and Vince Leonard on their new Sibelius book


Hal Leonard is about to publish a second edition of Tom Rudolph and Vince Leonard’s book, Sibelius: A Comprehensive Guide to Sibelius Music Notation Software, which has been thoroughly updated and revised. The first edition of the book covered Sibelius 4, and as you would expect the new edition now includes lots of information about all of the new features and improvements added in both Sibelius 5 and Sibelius 6.

I caught up with the co-authors to ask them about the book, their experiences writing it, and who the book is for.

Tom Rudolph is a celebrated music educator and technologist, whose blog (Making the most of notation software) I have linked to on many occasions. He also has several books to his name, including a guide to Finale (not so recently updated), and books on the use of technology in music education. Vince Leonard is a composer, arranger, producer and copyist who has worked on projects for the world’s top orchestras, and many film, TV and other commercial projects.

Tom and Vince have worked together on three books, including the first edition of their book about Sibelius, so revising their Sibelius book marks their fourth published collaboration. The two of them kindly agreed to answer a few questions about their latest project.

DS: Who is your new book aimed at?

TR: Sibelius users from beginning to advanced levels. The chapter examples start with single staff scores and the later chapters include scoring to video, scoring for Orchestrs and for Jazz Ensemble.

VL: One fact I am reminded of when we do workshops is that Sibelius is just one tool out of many that musicians and educators use to make music. The number of people who spend a lot of time in a single program is small. For the part-time user, the book is a great reference for refreshing memories on tasks less frequently performed. It also can be a great help in learning about work flow and engraving practices.

DS: If somebody bought the previous edition, what changes will they see in the new edition?

TR: The previous edition was written for Sibelius 4. This revised edition includes the new features in Sibelius 5, including Ideas, Panorama and many of the new features in Sibelius 6 such as Magnetic Layout, keyboard and fretboard window note entry and more.

VL: A huge addition to the Sibelius arsenal is ReWire support and the ability to sync with Pro Tools. The expanded options for using third party software synths and samplers also helps to open up the sonic possibilities. The setup procedures for ReWire and third party synth playback were both added to the new edition.

DS: Working with a co-author must be an interesting experience. How did you and Vince split the workload?

TR: Vince is a composer/arranger and copyist while my expertise is in music education and adult learning. I am the primary author for chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 13, 14, 15. Vince is the primary author for chapters 7, 9, 10, 11 and 12. The larger ensemble chapters are Vince’s. We also edit each other’s work so there is a lot of input on each chapter as we write.

VL: Tom and I sat down and charted out skills and program features chapter by chapter in a spreadsheet so we knew what each chapter would be designed to teach. This helps because we were both writing at the same time. If I needed to refer back to a skill taught earlier in the book it was easy to give them a chapter to go and look for it. Similarly, if I had to add something to one of my chapters due to a situation that arose while writing, I could easily check to see if it was something already introduced or if was the first time.

DS: Do you have any plans for any further books about Sibelius?

TR: Not at the moment. We did an instructional video on Sibelius 5 and might do a video in the future.

VL: I am planning a series of podcasts based around the book. Oftentimes when I’m working on projects I’ll come across a situation that I wish I could have included. The podcast format will give me a chance to share some additional tips and tricks with everyone. Check the book web site,, or my web site for news.

Thanks to Tom and to Vince for taking the time to share some insights into their new book. The second edition of Sibelius: A Comprehensive Guide to Sibelius Music Notation Software is published by Hal Leonard for $29.99 US and will be available before the end of January. You can pre-order the book now direct from Hal Leonard or from your local booksellers, and no doubt it will be available soon on Hal Leonard have agreed to send me a copy, so I will post my own thoughts on the book in future once I’ve had a chance to read and digest it.

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