Writing a drum book, Handwritten or Finale?

GarrettTheDrummer

Junior Member
Hey everyone

I'm a drum instructor in the Sacramento area and over the course of the past few years I've developed my own curriculum that I give to all of my students to learn. I often break away from the curriculum to explore other topics and adjust each lesson to my students needs, but having the curriculum is a really nice way to bring structure to the lessons and gives students a jumping off point to discover what they would like to learn more of. My curriculum has grow over the last few years and I'm finally thinking about making PDF and spiral bound books to give to each of my students once they begin lessons. While my students would get it for free, I've debated the idea of posting it online for others to buy or download. The only issue I can think of is that all of my curriculum is completely handwritten (Much like A Funky Primer by Charles Dowd). This brings me to my question.

If any of you were to download or buy a book, would you be okay with having it hard written, or would you prefer it digitized in Finale? I personally prefer handwritten books as they feel a lot less sterile than digitally notated ones and I find them much easier to look at, but I can also understand the concern for the tidiness that comes with digital transcriptions. I have been writing by hand for years and can do it very quickly, but to digitize I would have to teach my self the subtleties of finale (which I guess would be a good skill to have anyways). Any input would be very appreciated.

Thanks!
 

JustJames

Platinum Member
Would you want to buy a novel in the author's hand writing?

If not, why is this any different?
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
In short, the easier it is on the eye, the better. If I have to decipher somebodies scrawl then I'll quickly walk on by. If it's neat, legible and professional looking then I'd be willing to entertain it.

But I really couldn't tell you honestly until I see a sample. Do you have any examples as to what it would look like? I checked your website but couldn't see anything. Have I missed them?
 

porter

Platinum Member
In short, the easier it is on the eye, the better. If I have to decipher somebodies scrawl then I'll quickly walk on by. If it's neat, legible and professional looking then I'd be willing to entertain it.
Absolutely... You can do a bad job in both hand-notated and Finale format, but Finale certainly does more of the work for you so it's a bit harder to screw up.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Funky primer is absolutely immaculate in terms of the penmanship. If you can do it like that, nobody will care that it isn't from a computer.
 

jeffwj

Platinum Member
I agree with the above posts. If the manuscript is to be taken seriously, it should be in Finale or Sibelius. Yes, there were hand written manuscripts in the past (pre home PC). But with notation software, the standard has been set.

Another difference between then and now - the notation has been standardized. Some books, such as Realistic Rock, utilized a three line staff. The top line was for cymbal, middle line for snare drum, and bottom line for bass drum. A more standardized, 5 line notation has been adopted by the PAS and most publishers. Here is the link to the standardized notation.

http://www.amazon.com/PAS-GUIDE-TO-DRUMSET-NOTATION/dp/0966492811

Jeff
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
It would be a real pain to learn it's not wysiwyg, but Latex type setting software has a music and staff package, that is fabulous, and easy to use to publish, convert to PDFs etc. It's pretty much set up so you don't have to think about layout of headers and such. You can use it to publish in journals too.
 

Skrivarna

Senior Member
Funky primer is absolutely immaculate in terms of the penmanship. If you can do it like that, nobody will care that it isn't from a computer.
Agreed, I like good handwritten music and the Funky Primer is a great example.

Finale et.al. of course helps a lot for the author (if you know the SW), much like a computer helps with editing and typesetting text.
 
D

drumming sort of person

Guest
I bought Gary Chaffee's books a long time ago when they were hand written. No problem for me.
 

iwearnohats

Silver Member
The only problem is that in this modern day and age full of picky people and young kids who know no better, handwritten just won't sell as well.

That being said, shop around before you settle on Finale or Sibelius. I have tried using these programs and they are (in my opinion) very clunky and awkward to use, albeit quite powerful.

My notation software of choice is Noteworthy Composer, which I found to be far more intuitive (you move around the staff using arrow keys and insert notes with enter and rests with space) and it is very useful for notating music - with a few limitations you won't find in the other software, such as (at this time) no native support for non-triplet odd note tuplets. There are ways around this (such as inserting invisible tempo changes, etc.) which assist with playback and the visual presentation if needed.

You may find that if you want that handwritten look, you can get some good "handwritten" fonts for the various notation editors, which may give you that compromise between the sterile computer-generated feel and the organic feel of handwriting. And ironically, it will probably sell better for it...

MuseScore is another notation program that is quite powerful and it is also free - so would be worth looking into. I have never had a need for it that I can't fulfill with NWC though, but I would definitely try it out first before splashing out excessive money for Finale or Sibelius.
 

SEA

Member
I've been using Notion for iPad. There's a bit of learning curve to get up to speed writing things out, but it might be another option to consider. Plus, it's relatively inexpensive ($15 bucks or so). Exports files as PDFs, or standard musicXML. I think there's also a desktop version.
 

GarrettTheDrummer

Junior Member
Thanks everyone, there were a lot of really good points made here. My writing does tend to be pretty neat, although it's looking like most people would prefer something done digitally. The idea of changing the digital font to a handwritten looking one is actually a really good idea, I never would have even thought of that. I'll have to look at notation. Finale and Sibelius seem like they are very powerful but sometimes I feel like I'm not smart enough to make them do what I want.
 
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