In 2007, I discovered a piece of music notation called Finale. I was interested in music composition and my music teacher told me about Finale. I went home to see exactly what it was, and it just opened my eyes to a new world! I saw the pricing of Finale and it was expensive!! I totally could not afford it at the time, so I settled for Finale Notepad, which at the time was free. Notepad was my first music notation software.
After playing around with Notepad however, I start to become disappointed…I was really limited to what I could do in Finale. I couldn’t compose a full band score, there were many features missing that are present in the actual Finale version. So with what I had, I instead compose short a flute quartet piece that I titled A Gentle Feeling. It was a really simple composition, no accidentals of any kind were present, it was in the simple key of C major, and few articulations and expressions were added. I was happy with it, and then after wanting to do more, I decide to move on.
Finale offers other products as well, one of them being Finale PrintMusic, and since I couldn’t afford any of the Finale products, I decided to try it as a trial. Like with Notepad, I was limited too in PrintMusic. I was able to Save and Print, and do a lot more in PrintMusic than what I was able to do in Notepad. However, I was limited to a certain amount of staves. It was enough to where I could compose something for a full piece band, but never have I completely composes a piece for band. Despite the few limitations, I found myself really happy…for 30 days. The trial lasted for 30 days, and I learned so much with PrintMusic, I really wanted to do more and more. So under another email, I then get another trial, but this time of Finale Allegro. In Allegro, it was pretty much almost like Finale, but the limitations were even fewer! I could write an unlimited number of staves, and the features in Allegro were overall better than what I was presented with in PrintMusic. I sticked with Allegro for…30 days as it was a trial, and having run out of free ways to continue my Finale experience, I finally decide to turn to my mom for help.
So I told my mom about Finale and asked her to buy one. She actually did find one and when she told she did, I was excited! I learned however that it wasn’t exactly what I wanted…she got me Finale SongWriter, which is a downgrade from Allegro and PrintMusic. It’s pretty much like Notepad, but a little better than Notepad, but less like PrintMusic. I was a bit disappointed, and so I turned to my mom and told her “I want to upgrade”. Knowing that it would be really expensive to upgrade to Finale or Allegro, I settle for upgrading to PrintMusic. It was cheap, and I knew how PrintMusic works, and finally acquired a full version of Finale PrintMusic 2008.
I stayed with PrintMusic all the way up to 2010. With PrintMusic, I wrote a couple of drum cadences, re-wrote pieces that were handwritten, and mostly used it for percussion stuff. Come around the time for my Senior Project though, I told myself “PrintMusic will not fulfill all my needs”. PrintMusic and its features were not enough for me to arrange a piece for a full concert band. So after consulting with my mom again, I asked for another upgrade, but to the actual Finale product this time. I’ve saved a ton money and got Christmas money as well, and decided to use that. I told her it was crucial for my Senior Project and I was able to convince her to get me Finale 2011. The upgrade cost me well-over $400, but this is what I want to do with my future, and I’m going to use it beyond Senior Project. When I got Finale 2011 in February 2011, I was really excited, and I was happy and satisfied. I could finally get my arrangement going at full speed, and I can do everything I ever wanted. I’m sticking with Finale for a long time.
I also am aware of the competing music notation software Sibelius, and have seen and used it before. They all say it’s easier to use and everything, but I remember trying the Sibelius trial, and it was just hard for me to adapt to. I can adapt to Finale easier, but when it comes to some certain things in Finale, there’s always its ups and downs. I’m not going to go and debate on Finale and Sibelius. This post is strictly about Finale, and would be longer if debated on. I am proud to say I’m a Finale user.