One of the ways you can speed your step-time note entry in Finale and Sibelius is to avoid using the mouse as much as possible. Rather, use the computer’s numeric keypad to set the rhythmic value and then enter the pitch with your other hand:
“Look Ma, no mouse!”
If you don’t have a numeric keypad, you have several options:
- purchase a new typing keyboard that has one:
- purchase a USB numeric keypad. Be careful as not all USB external keypads are compatible with Finale and Sibelius.
- Purchase a keyboard specifically designed for the notation software you are using.
- If you are a Mac users and own an iPhone, you can purchase the app Sibelius KeyPad for Mac 4+ ($9.99). The advantage of the app is it includes keypad layouts for Sibelius.
With both Finale and Sibelius, if you practice selecting the value by touch, you will be able to select the rhythmic value and then enter the notes with your MIDI keyboard or if you do not have a MIDI keyboard, type the letter names on the computer keyboard.
I usually place my right hand over the numeric keypad and use my left hand to play the pitch. If I don’t have a MIDI keyboard available, I put my right left over the keyboard letters A, B, C, D, E, F, G.
To enter a rest, in both Finale and Sibelius, press zero on the keypad.