Creating worksheets that score top marks

Scoring Notes
Scoring Notes
Creating worksheets that score top marks

We’re headed back to school. Today professor David MacDonald and Philip Rothman work on worksheets, that quintessential element of music instruction that appears in everything from homework assignments and classroom activities to quizzes and final exams. Unlike the more conventional scores and parts you might create with music notation software, worksheets often encompass a combination of short music examples, text, and graphics, all of which might need to fit on just a sheet or two of paper.

We talk about the ways you can bend music notation software to your will to help create A-plus worksheets and we’ll help you avoid failing when it comes to concepts like bar numbering, music spacing, applying text blocks, and hiding cautionary time and key signatures. These strategies aren’t just helpful for the classroom, and we explore other uses for these techniques, as well as ways to help keep everything organized when you need to rely on them in the future.

We’ll also dive into the ABC’s of graphic formats like SVG, PNG, and JPG, and how to export or import those formats between music notation programs and other software like word processors or page layout programs to create a document worthy of top marks.

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  1. Shirantha

    Hi David and Philip,

    I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. As usual, your advice was detailed and thoughtful. I particularly appreciated the reminder to “think of your future self” while naming worksheets. Additionally, one thing I’ve found helpful is to add a footer to each of my Sibelius worksheet templates. I use a wildcard to insert the current date and time. I find the date stamp helpful, especially if I have to return to a file that I previously exported as PDF into Blackboard.
    Looking forward to the next episode!

    1. Philip Rothman

      Great tip! Thanks, Shirantha!

  2. Carole Prietto

    David and Philip, THANK YOU for the awesome episode on creating worksheets! You can count me among the long-time Finale users who didn’t know that text blocks could be attached to a measure. I had been using the Expression Tool to create those whenever I wanted to comment on a student’s work at a specific spot in an arrangement. The Text Tool is so much better.! I also didn’t know that the Finale Graphics Tool could export a selection in addition to an entire page – that’s something I will use a lot. Great tips, thanks again!

    1. Philip Rothman

      Hi Carole. I’m so delighted to hear that you found out some useful tips as a result of our discussion. Thanks for listening!

  3. Jamin Hoffman

    Thanks for this episode! Though I have already discovered many of your suggestions (like you, I have been using Finale since the early 1990s, and teacher for over 20 years), there were still quite a few that were helpful, and I will incorporate them into my own worksheets.

    One question – our school has moved to using Google Workspace and Canvas LMS for almost all of our software needs. As far as you know, is there a way to use 3rd party fonts on these platforms? I have purchased MusGlyphs to use with my AP Music Theory class, but I couldn’t figure out how to incorporate into Google Docs, or the Canvas native documents. Any ideas?

    1. Philip Rothman

      Hi Jamin. Thanks for listening to the podcast! Web applications handle fonts differently than desktop products. Perhaps this area is something we can explore further.

  4. David McKay

    Thanks again for these episodes, guys. I spoke with David MacDonald in August about what I had created in Dorico SE for a Music Fundamentals class at Belmont last year. Is it time to consider a Music Theory Teacher Consortium to share files and ideas?

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