With Christmas only a week away, I’m sure you’ve finished all your gift shopping by now (just like I have…). But just in case there are still a few spots under the tree for a few extra gifts, I’ve put together a short list of ten gift ideas for the Sibelius user in your life. If you’re the Sibelius user in your life, then perhaps you could print this out and leave it somewhere for a loved one to find… Read on for the list.
If you’re currently using the mouse or the QWERTY keyboard to input music into Sibelius, you’re missing out on the fastest and most efficient way to get your music into the program: step-time input using a MIDI keyboard. Even if you don’t possess great keyboard skills, step-time input is still faster than QWERTY input simply because you can input whole chords at once.
If you’re looking for a good entry-level keyboard, Avid’s M-Audio Oxygen range is a great place to start. If you have a bit more money to spend, the M-Audio Axiom Pro keyboards are real winners, particularly with direct HyperControl integration with Sibelius. If, on the other hand, you’re looking for something really diddy and super-portable that can sit in front of your regular computer keyboard, check out Akai’s LPK25 or Korg’s nanoKey. Finally, perhaps you might even consider the Avid KeyStudio bundle, which includes not only a 49-note keyboard, but also the new Pro Tools SE software, an entry-level introduction into the world of Pro Tools.
Sibelius coloured keyboard or keyboard cover
If you’re an aspiring Sibelius power user who wants to make sure you have every one of Sibelius’s keyboard shortcuts right under your fingertips, you could get your hands on a dedicated Sibelius computer keyboard, with all of the important keys colour-coded, or if the budget doesn’t stretch quite that far, a keyboard overlay for your existing keyboard with all of the important shortcuts printed on it.
Sibelius Reference book
Unlock all of Sibelius’s secrets with the comprehensive, 750-page Sibelius Reference book. You can buy more than 500,000 words of wisdom for around £30 or $30. One of the cheapest places to buy the book is from Amazon.
Essential Dictionary of Music Notation book
Another useful little stocking-filler for any music notation enthusiast is the Norton Essential Dictionary of Music Notation, a pocket-sized practical reference to common music notation. This is available from all good book sellers, and from Amazon.
Mastering Sibelius 6 book
One last book for the list: offering an alternative approach to learning all of Sibelius’s features, Gabriel Cobas’s book (based on Marc Schonbrun’s Mastering Sibelius 5) is definitely worth considering. With its informal style and project-based approach, you might find it even more useful than the Sibelius 6 Reference book.
G. Henle Verlag is one of the most respected music publishers in the world, and they sell a rather special gift: an original engraving plate from one of their published editions.
Engraved by hand using their time-tested process, you can own an original lithographic plate from one of Henle’s beautiful scores.
You can buy this from various places, with one possible supplier being SheetMusicPlus.com.
You can’t always be in front of your computer, so if you’re out and about and inspiration strikes, you might need some manuscript paper to hand. Music sketchbooks don’t come more stylish than the Moleskine Pocket Music Notebook.
Garritan sample library
Our friends at Garritan have some great sample libraries that won’t break the bank and which integrate beautifully with Sibelius, from the famous Garritan Personal Orchestra to the brand new Garritan World Instruments library (a sound set for which to provide tight integration with Sibelius is coming soon).
Home version of Auralia or Musition
It’s never too late to improve your aural skills or to brush up on your music theory, and Rising Software’s Auralia and Musition products are comprehensive, fun and educational to boot. Widely used in schools around the world, there are now “student” versions of both products that are ideally suited for home use. The only difference between the student and regular versions, aside from the cheaper price, is that you can only enrol up to three named users to track their progress, and you can’t network them together with other copies of Auralia and Musition. You can buy the student versions from Avid’s online store.
Last but not least, what about some actual Sibelius, the composer rather than the software? If you’d like to hear the whole recording of the music that plays when you run Sibelius, you can buy the specific recording by the Iceland Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Petri Sakari on the Naxos label.
That’s it for my quick list of gift ideas. If you have any other ideas to add, please leave them in the comments below! I wish you a very merry and musical Christmas!