Sibelius scores with the girls;Do It Yourself;MultimediaIT; Interview;Lawrence Williams

Chris Abbott

Chris Abbott talks to Lawrence Williams, director of studies at Holy Cross GM Convent School, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey

Which information technology product - software or hardware - has made a difference to your worklife?

Sibelius 6 for Acorn computers.

How?

It enables pupils to "word process" their music, and the girls have taken to it with great enthusiasm. Sibelius has really encouraged us to develop the electronic side of our music.

What do you like or dislike about it?

I like the fact that it enables our girls to create professionally finished printed musical scores. Another strength is the two ways of using it: you can input from a musical keyboard and save files on a network; or type on a computer keyboard, which is slower but allows for editing the score.

When did you start using it?

When we were shown it by the Kingston Schools IT Unit. They have the software so they could tell us about it.

Who decided to buy it and were you involved in the choice?

I decided to get it as soon as I saw what it could offer to our school.

How does it compare with other ways of tackling the same tasks?

I don't know of anything else which would do the same thing. It allows beautifully finished scores to be produced. You can also save the score as a Draw file (graphic) and drop it into a desktop publishing package and add comments to it.

How do you think it could be improved?

I would like an "undo" button. Occasionally the program is so safe that undoing a mistake is quite difficult: it won't allow you to delete a bar in case you wreck the score.

If you had more funding, what would you invest in?

We are now ready for Sibelius 7 because we want to create midi files to send over the Internet to Osaka as part of our Japan 2000 project later this term.

Sibelius costs pound;179 for a single user from Sibelius Software, 75 Burleigh Street, Cambridge CB1 1DJ. Tel: 01223 302765. Fax: 01223 351947. Email: info@sibelius.demon.co.uk

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Chris Abbott

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