Today, we begin to explore music notation and Finale Notepad, a free piece of software for notating (writing down) music. Note: Finale is one of the major software programs used by professional musicians and educators, and offers several versions that are simpler than the full version. Sibelius is another such music notation software company.

Quick directions:

Download the below pdf file.  Open application “Finale Notepad”.  Set up a new file so it matches the pdf of “Lean on me”.  Enter the notes and rhythms that are shown on the pdf into your Notepad file.  Then we will add a piano part with chords and a bass line, add the lyrics to the vocal melody, etc.

Plug in some ear buds or headphones: before you turn anything in, make sure you listen to it!  Trust your ears.


Step by step directions:



Plug in some earbuds or headphones.  Borrow headphones from the box if you need them.

Add Finale Notepad to your “dock”

For starters, open Finale Notepad and go to File–>New to create a new file as below:

  1. Title: Lean on me
  2. Composer: Bill Withers
  3. Leave page size: Letter and select “Portrait”
  4. Voices–>Voice–>Add
  5. Keyboards–>Piano–>Add
  6. Select Voice in the right-hand box and click the “up” arrow to the right
  7. Time Signature: 4/4
  8. Key Signature: C major
  9. Click Finish
  10. save in your Multimedia folder as “6_leanonme_LastnameFI”  (block#_leanonme_Name)


  • Begin to input the music in the pdf into your Notepad file (in other words, make your Notepad file look like the pdf file!)
  • Click on the play button (window–>playback controls) to listen and check your work (use headphones)
  • If/when you have questions, ask your classmates around you. If you still need help, ask Mr. Bunting!

If you have trouble, go back to for a minute, and review the topic.  For this, you will need to use: quarter notes, quarter rests, eighth notes, half notes, and ties.  What’s a tie and how does it work? –> Dots and ties

  • Copy the Voice part into the top staff (right hand) of the piano part.
  • Add harmony to the piano part!  Try harmonizing in 3rds
  • Add a bass line for the piano.  Perhaps the melody an octave down?  (select note, hold shift + press down arrow, same for next note, etc.)
  • Add the song’s lyrics to your Voice part (look up online if need be!) by clicking on Lyrics Tool, clicking on the first note, then typing in
At the end of class, save your “Lean on me” file, and put a copy in your portfolio folder in Drive.

RUBRIC (10 points)

10  All notes/rhythms entered correctly, with all lyrics for voice and a piano part

9  Notes/rhythms entered with only a few errors, with most lyrics for voice and a piano part

8  Notes/rhythms entered with a number of errors, with few lyrics for voice and some piano part

7  Notes/rhythms entered, mostly incorrectly, with no lyrics for voice and/or no piano part

6  Only some Notes/rhythms entered, with errors

1-5  Few notes/rhythms entered, minimal effort shown



Finale Notepad 2012



–> Remind me later

–> Continue

New document with set up wizard

Portrait vs. Landscape

Select instruments

Time signature

Key signature (no key changes in notepad)


Note entry: three options

Simple entry tool

Point & click

r = rest

Using computer keyboard (arrow keys, shift, command, etc.)


changing rhythmic values


Hyperscribe tool

input through midi keyboard

Midi/audio –> Quantization settings

Speedy entry tool


Rhythm & Meter

Measures (adding measures: edit menu and simple entry)

Staves and staff systems

Meter: 4/4, 3/4 (6/8)

Rhythm: Quarters, eighths, rests, whole, half

Transcribe drum part. Human drum section 2-bar pattern.

Layers Stems up or down


Playback Controls (play, or space bar)


BPM = beats per minute (usually quarter)


Create 6/8 drum pattern

Students write, perform, and conduct own patterns