15 year old beginner

My son plays the snare in his local HS marching band.  He really enjoys it and wants to start trying to ";write"; some of the D-lines music.  He currently just teaches them by example.  My dilemma is that we purchased this VDL:2 thinking that's what he could do.  We now have figured out that he needs to purchase ";additional"; notation software.  We had to purchase a new computer... old one didn't meet the specifications needed.  So we are out quite a bit of money right now.  My question is... will other ";notation"; programs such as Midinotate Musician Or Midinotate Composer work?  These are priced considerably less than the Finale and other. 

Also, sorry to ask such ";simple"; questions, but we have purchased and installed software and have not done anything with it.  Is there anything my son can do while were waiting to figure out our next step.  He is very frustrated.  Also, should we purchase a keyboard?  Is it necessary to do what he wants to do?

Thanks so much for any help. 
Mr. Jim,

I think we are all good now.  Ryan is really having fun now.  He has been able to fix everything he has done and is ready to do more.  Thanks for all your help! 

Julie Petrie
Hi Julie. Glad to hear that Ryan is making progress.

For the notes to look correct on the staff, you use a feature in Sibelius called ";Staff Types."; The VDL2/Sibelius template has many many staff types pre-configured for the complex mapping in VDL2. This template can be downloaded for free from: https://www.tapspace.com/updates

Mr. Jim,

Good news, we  are making progress.  We can get the real drum sounds now.  Different problem.  The things that Ryan already did, when we tried to play them back they sounded bizzare.  The only way to fix the sounds was to take the notes off where they belong and put them in very odd places to get the right sound.  But Ryan said no one will be able to play it.  He tried to do something new and same problem.  I don't know anything about music so I can't tell you exactly what it supposed to look like.  But I can tell you there are four lines and the notes have to be 1/2 inch or so below to get right sounds.  I don't really know how to help him.  Do you have any ideas on what we may have set wrong. 

Thanks so much for your help. 

Julie Petrie
[quote author=Cadet311 link=topic=1432.msg6798#msg6798 date=1166762587]
While Jim, Bill and the crew can answer it in a little more depth, here's my take...

The VDL programs allow you to take what you've notated and hear it using true samples of real instruments, rather than the synthy stuff or not as good samples other programs use.  Now, why would one want this?  Well it can help to determine playability, balance or overall appropriateness of parts that are written.  In addition, you can hear what the music would sound like played by a real drumline, not a series of synthetic sounds.  Additionally, the overall sounds and recordings produced with VDL vs. built in sounds are no compare.  The VDL sounds are much richer and more sonically pleasing than the regular ones.

Now, I'll step aside and let the pros answer...
[/quote]

That's pretty much a ";pro"; summation there yourself, Cadet311. :) Thanks!
While Jim, Bill and the crew can answer it in a little more depth, here's my take...

The VDL programs allow you to take what you've notated and hear it using true samples of real instruments, rather than the synthy stuff or not as good samples other programs use.  Now, why would one want this?  Well it can help to determine playability, balance or overall appropriateness of parts that are written.  In addition, you can hear what the music would sound like played by a real drumline, not a series of synthetic sounds.  Additionally, the overall sounds and recordings produced with VDL vs. built in sounds are no compare.  The VDL sounds are much richer and more sonically pleasing than the regular ones.

Now, I'll step aside and let the pros answer...
This may sound totally lame.  But, as I stated, we are beginners.  We bought all the stuff, and we are tinkering around with it.  My question is... Why do we need the VDL:2 software?  What is it's purpose?  I know we just may not be utilizing it effectively.  We have already had a good time ";writing"; things they already play and just teach from example, which he will be able to pass out to line now.  I'm really just trying to figure it all out.  Thanks for your time...
[quote author=pantherpride link=topic=1432.msg6556#msg6556 date=1163980930]
Thank you very much for your reply.  We will check into getting those two things, keyboard, and hopefully $99.00 software we can use immediately.  In response to your comment about the confusion of what we were getting... we bought the software from Lentine's music- www.lentine.com- the specific title for the software on the site is:  Tapspace Virtual Drumline 2- Scoring and Notation Software.  So, I do believe they are a little misleading with that information.  Maybe they don't truly know what product they are selling. 

Again, thanks so much for the information.  And, wish us luck!

Julie
[/quote]

Julie - thanks for the information about Lentine's. Misleading indeed, and definitely incorrectly titled. We'll get in touch with them promptly so they can hopefully adjust how they are promoting it.
Thank you very much for your reply.  We will check into getting those two things, keyboard, and hopefully $99.00 software we can use immediately.  In response to your comment about the confusion of what we were getting... we bought the software from Lentine's music- www.lentine.com- the specific title for the software on the site is:  Tapspace Virtual Drumline 2- Scoring and Notation Software.  So, I do believe they are a little misleading with that information.  Maybe they don't truly know what product they are selling. 

Again, thanks so much for the information.  And, wish us luck!

Julie
pantherpride - sorry to hear about your dillemma. It's rare that this happens, but every so often someone seems to overlook the system requirements for VDL:2 not realizing that it's an add-on to notation programs or sequencing programs. Technically, VDL2 will ";work"; without these software programs, but it won't be all that useful without them.

We highly recommend using a midi keyboard as well since it's typically the most efficient way to input the various non-pitched percussion notes into whichever software you're using. There are a few software alternatives such as VDLMidi (Mac),
https://www.tapspace.com/forums/index.php?topic=1197.0

or the Granucon virtual midi keyboard discussed in the following topic:
https://www.tapspace.com/forums/index.php?topic=1330.0

The lowest-cost hardware midi keyboard that many VDL2 users like to use is the M-Audio Keystation 49e, which has 4 octaves, is USB driven, class compliant, and is only $99. More info on that here:
https://www.tapspace.com/keystation49e.html

Regarding the notation software, VDL2 is designed for Finale or Sibelius since that's what just about all drumline people and music educators use for notation. If you're dipping your toes in slowly, you may want to know of a few other things out there, but I would advise you to procede with caution as these programs aren't very widely used for VDL2's capabilities, and their feature sets may be limited.

Sibelius ";Student"; Edition - don't confuse this with the Academically priced version of Sibelius 4 (which is the full version of Sibelius, just priced lower). Sibelius Student is a scaled down version of Sibelius 3 which, if memory serves, limits you to 8 channels (staves), and doesn't have as many functions as the full version of Sibelius. I believe it's $99 as opposed to the $299 or so for the full (Academic pricing) version of Sibelius 4.

Finale PrintMusic or Allegro - again, these are scaled down versions of Finale that has less features. There may be some missing features that don't make them an optimal choice, but if you need something for less money than the full version of Finale 2007 (around $299 as well for academic priced, full version), it may be a way to get started. One thing to possibly look into is whether or not they allow PrintMusic or Allegro users to later upgrade to Finale for special pricing. I'm not quite sure. There is a posting about this on Tapspace FAQ Central at:
https://www.tapspace.com/support/faq/index.php?action=artikel&cat=4&id=22&artlang=en

Music notation is a technical and complicated craft, so using a program like Sibelius or Finale which really specialize in this craft will become clearer once you begin using those programs and seeing all that's necessary to produce scores. Especially when considering all the details inherent with marching percussion music. I hope that you didn't confuse VDL2 for notation software. We've tried to be very clear about outlining as many of the possible questions about ";what it is"; at Tapspace FAQ Central at:
https://www.tapspace.com/support/faq

I hope this information is helpful.
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