How I upgraded my music workstation and lived to tell about it


Installing and transferring notation software


On my old Mac I had Sibelius 5, 6, 7, and the testing version of 7.5. I haven’t used Sibelius 5 for quite a while, but I do still have a few current projects in Sibelius 6, in addition to Sibelius 7 and the soon-to-be-released Sibelius 7.5.

Although I’ve heard from colleagues that Sibelius 5 can run on Mavericks without playback, I was willing to let it go. So I started installing Sibelius 6.

Before I did that, though, I needed to unregister it on my old Mac to free up a license. If you haven’t already saved your Sibelius 6 serial number (remember 1Password from earlier in this post), take note of it by going to Sibelius 6 > About Sibelius 6 on Mac or Help > About Sibelius 6 on PC.

Once I did that, I unregistered Sibelius by going to the Help menu and chose Unregister Sibelius.

On the new Mac, I installed Sibelius 6.2 by going to the Sibelius 6.2 download page, downloading the 2.6 GB file called “Full DVD contents including sound libraries”, and following the instructions.

Once installed, I opened Sibelius 6 and was prompted for my serial number, which I entered. Then, I went to Sibelius’s registration page and entered in my serial number. (Registering Sibelius 6 directly from the program broke as of Mac OS 10.7.) The web site returned a registration number beginning with “R”. I copied and pasted it into the registration window in Sibelius 6, and I was on my way.

Next, I closed Sibelius 6 and began a similar process with Sibelius 7 and 7.5. I was able to deactivate both versions on my old Mac by opening Sibelius 7.1.3, going to File > Help and clicked the Deactivate Sibelius button for both 7 and 7.5:


On the new Mac, I installed Sibelius 7.1.3 by going to the web site and entering my Sibelius Activation ID. If you don’t know your Activation ID, you can enter your Sibelius serial number and e-mail address here, and you’ll receive it. This brought me to page where I was able to download the full Sibelius 7.1.3 installer (about 600 MB).

I then located the Sibelius 7 sounds on my old computer. (At this point, I had initiated a network connection from my new Mac to my old Mac, which allowed me to easily transfer files over the Ethernet connection I had set up.) I transferred the entirety of the Sibelius Sounds folder – which includes two folders, Sibelius 7 Sounds and Libraries – over to the corresponding place on my new Mac: Macintosh HD/Library/Application Support/Avid/Sibelius Sounds. You can actually place the Sibelius 7 Sounds folder anywhere you like, and I could have put it on my external drive. Just be sure to keep the Libraries folder at this path, and Sibelius will prompt you to locate the Sibelius 7 Sounds when you next open Sibelius.

Once installed, I opened Sibelius 7.1.3 and entered my System ID and Activation ID, and was set with a new install of Sibelius on my computer (albeit one without the Mavericks fixes, which will hopefully be forthcoming soon).

I closed Sibelius 7 and set about transferring my preferences and custom settings for both Sibelius 6 and 7.

First, I went to ~/Library/Preferences on my old Mac and copied both com.avid.sibelius7.plist and com.sibelius.sibelius6.plist to the corresponding place on the new Mac. This ensured that Sibelius would open with all my custom preferences.

Then, I went to ~/Library/Application Support/Avid/Sibelius 7 and copied the entirety of the folder, including all sub-folders, over to the corresponding place on the new Mac. I did the same for ~/Library/Application Support/Sibelius Software/Sibelius 6. Now all my House Styles, Manuscript Papers, custom shortcuts, Playback Configurations and plug-ins were on the new Mac.

I then installed my testing copy of Sibelius 7.5, which I presume will be able to be downloaded directly from Avid’s site once it’s released. Sibelius 7.5’s installer provides an option to copy supporting files from Sibelius 7, which I covered in an earlier post. I chose this option – being careful to leave “Uninstall Sibelius 7” unchecked – and finished the installation. Once installed, I opened Sibelius 7.5 and entered my System ID and Activation ID.

The Sibelius 7.5 installer copies all your supporting files, but it doesn’t copy preferences. So, on the new Mac I went to ~/Library/Preferences and deleted com.avid.sibelius75.plist. I then made a copy of com.avid.sibelius7.plist and re-named it com.avid.sibelius75.plist. Although not officially supported, it seemed to work.

Finally, I downloaded and installed Scorch.

Here is a summary of the Avid Knowledgebase or web pages I found useful:

Finale and Garritan

On my old Mac, I have every version of Finale going back to Finale 2008 (except Finale 2014, which won’t run on Snow Leopard). However, MakeMusic will only support Finale 2011 and higher on Mavericks, so that’s what I decided to install.

As with Sibelius, de-authorization on the old computer is required with Finale. First, I opened Finale 2011 and went to the Help menu, and chose Deauthorize Finale. I did the same with Finale 2012.

I then located my Finale 2011 installation DVD, inserted it in my external drive connected to the new Mac, and ran the installer.

One of only two DVDs used during this whole process (Microsoft Office was the other)
One of only two DVDs used during this whole process (Microsoft Office was the other)

Once installed, I immediately downloaded and installed the Finale 2011c updater.

I opened Finale 2011, registered it, and then proceeded with Finale 2012. I had bought Finale 2012 as a download, so I went to the MakeMusic login page. I only saw my most recent Finale 2014 purchase at first, but I then noticed a link to “Previous Versions”, where I was able to download the Finale 2012 installer:


I downloaded, installed, and registered both Finale 2012 and Finale 2014, which was straightforward.

Next, I downloaded the installers for the Garritan Jazz & Big Band 3 library, and the Garritan Personal Orchestra 4 library. Both are lightweight but decent-sounding sample libraries that work with any application that supports AU or VST.

I also downloaded the electronic keycard for each library that would be needed for authorization (although I had them saved in 1Password as well).

I installed both Garritan libraries, and then headed back over to the download library to install the latest ARIA Player update. I installed it, found the player at Macintosh HD/Applications/Garritan ARIA Player, and opened it. Once opened, I dragged the keycard from each library onto the player to activate the libraries.

Now it was time to transfer over my preferences and custom settings for Finale 2011 and 2012 (since I hadn’t yet used Finale 2014 on my old Mac – only on my MacBook Pro – there were nothing for that version). I went to ~/Library/Preferences on my old Mac and copied both Finale 2011 Preferences and Finale 2012 Preferences to the same location on the new Mac.

Then I went to ~/Library/Application Support/MakeMusic and copied over the entire contents of both the Finale 2011 and Finale 2012 folders. I did the same for Macintosh HD/Library/Application Support/MakeMusic.

At that point, I needed to make certain that the Garritan sound libraries would work with all the versions of Finale installed on my new Mac. The directions on the MakeMusic web site were detailed and clear – just be sure to pay attention to which version and product is referred to in the instructions.

Here is a summary of the MakeMusic support articles I found useful:


  1. Henry

    Thank you for an incredibly useful resume of the upgrade process, which I expect will be of great help to me …. when I can afford to move on like you did! Best wishes.

    1. Philip Rothman

      Thanks, Henry. It had been a long time coming!

  2. Mike

    What a fantastic and detailed writeup, Phil! Lots of very valuable and helpful tips here. I wish I had known about that solar-powered Logitech keyboard a few months ago. Not knowing about it, I ended up with the Apple wireless keyboard, a separate Belkin numeric keypad (also wireless), and a bunch of rechargeable batteries. It works fine and looks OK, but…yuck!

    One small additional tip that some readers may find helpful. My computer is nowhere near my main router, so I had no way to connect the old and new machines to it with an Ethernet cable. Instead, you can connect your Macs directly to one another! If you have a really old Mac, you might need a special cable called a crossover cable to do this, but most Macs sold since 2000 can use a regular cable. More info is here:

    Keep up the great work!

    1. Philip Rothman

      Thanks, Mike Benoit. I was (and am) grateful for your advice!

      And, thanks, Mike Klinger!

  3. Mike Klinger

    Awesome! A lot of us are at that same point in time, this will be extremely useful.

  4. Matt Carey

    Thanks Philip! I love reading your posts and this one is very timely for me as I picked up a new computer yesterday. Do you know when Sibelius 7.5 will be released? I’m wondering whether there is any benefit in not installing the current version and just waiting for 7.5 to try and keep my computer a little ‘cleaner’ for as long as I can.

    Thanks also for sharing info about other software you use. I’m going to look into 1Password and a few of the other things you mentioned.

    One more question since this is the first time I’ve commented on your blog. As a ‘power user’ do you use the (piano) keyboard for much of your note input or do you prefer the (computer) keyboard? I’ve been using Sibelius for years and found that (computer) keyboard entry has been faster for me – even for piano/keyboard parts – but maybe it’s worth the investment of time to learn how to use the (piano) keyboard note entry facility more efficiently?

    Thanks again.

    1. Philip Rothman

      Thanks, Matt! I don’t see any harm in installing Sibelius 7.1.3. In fact you might benefit from keeping it around, should you need it; 7.1.3 and 7.5 seem to co-exist happily on my machine. Plus if you put the Sibelius Sounds on your machine now, your 7.5 install will go more quickly since you’ll have gotten that part out of the way.

      Avid has said “February” for 7.5 release so I predict any time in the next 11 days. :-)

      I was just talking note entry today with a colleague. I generally use step-time entry with the MIDI keyboard, but occasionally use the computer keyboard too. The methods are really quite similar and you can freely use both; instead of typing on your computer keyboard, you just play the note on your computer keyboard.

  5. Dennis

    This is in response to Mike, but might interest anyone who has a similar problem. I also have a router nowhere near my computer(s). But offers cables that work great at a very reasonable price. I’ve had a couple of the 50′ ones with great results. Having a hardwired connection (even for a temporary connection) is great, and well-worth the money.

  6. Tim Parkin

    Thanks for a great article Philip. I shall need to do a similar transfer here in the UK in the next 3 months and this article will be invaluable.

  7. Peter Roos

    A very cool and entertaining post Philip. I’ll cross post this on other music forums. I’m a PC and I have been through several of these exercises.

  8. Peter Roos

    Edit my previous post — I am not a PC, I am *on* PC (windows). :)

    1. Philip Rothman

      Ha, thanks, Peter!

  9. Alan Knight

    Hi. I think you’re running the (not yet released) Sibelius 7.5 here on Mavericks? Does this fix the problems that (still, months later!) plague the released version of Sibelius on Mavericks?

    1. Philip Rothman

      Hi Alan, until Sibelius 7.5 is officially released, it’s probably best if I refer to statements made on Sibelius’s official Facebook page, regarding Mavericks, where Avid’s Sam Butler said “We have resolved the font problem in 7.5 and are working with Apple on a solution that will resolve the performance for all v7 and v7.5 products all at once.”

  10. Ernie Jackson

    Incredible article. Is there someone who could provide a PC version as well? that would be great.

  11. Mary Jo Disler

    Just curious how long the setup/install process actually took, after the planning and purchases were in place. And thanks for such care and detail. Terrific!

    1. Philip Rothman

      Thanks, Mary Jo! I did it over a weekend and still had time to write the whole thing up in the blog. But yes, the planning and purchases happened ahead of time.

  12. Jane

    I have the same OLD Mac. I am wondering if I really need to replace it with another pro. I have been hankering to have a Macbook. Would that usable for Sibelius if I added a monitor, synth, keyboard, etc.?


    1. Philip Rothman

      Jane: Yes, you can add peripherals to a MacBook and Sibelius should run just fine on any of the latest Macs.

  13. John Day

    Hi Philip
    can you please advise how I can download Sibelius 7 sounds
    FYI – I bought my copy online so I don’t have the disks which I understand are usually necessary.
    Many thanks

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