I love to compose and arrange- in fact, that love started when I was just a child taking lessons. I would write poems and put them to music, and then hide them away in a file. :) Most of them are still there, by the way. But a few songs have been resurrected and used in our church choir both when we were in Nova Scotia, and now in New Brunswick. In 2007 I wrote a Christmas drama, a biblical fiction about the wise men. I also wrote a theme song for that drama called "What Can I Give?" that has been sung several times. It is now in the beginning stages of being copyrighted.
Since 2002, I have used Noteworthy Composer for all of my composing and printing, and it has served my small scale purposes very well. I would recommend it for anyone who is starting out and doesn't plan to mass produce their music. :) It is very user friendly, which means a lot to me when it comes to computers!
I have some friends who use Music Creator by Cakewalk and they find it sufficient for their composing goals.
This post, though, is really to put in a plug for Finale, which is possibly the leading music software company at this time. They have several different editions, depending on what your needs are. This software has been on the back of my mind for a couple of years now- on my wish list, that is! I had heard that it was really expensive, and so I put it on the back burner. But you know what? It's not really expensive, unless you want the $600 version. ;) I'm looking on a smaller scale, so now I've got my eye on Finale PrintMusic- it looks perfect for what I have in mind for my future goals in music. I'd like to get more into the playback type of notating, and since I already have the Midi keyboard, why not?! I have about 12 piano arrangements stored away in my brain that I would love to get onto paper and into print. In the past I have put arrangements into the computer note by note- yeah, that is seriously outdated now!
The Finale website is very visitor-friendly, and has many 'at-a-glance' pages, allowing you to compare the
features of each software version, and easily choose the one that best suits your goals. Have a look around, and be impressed. You can even download any software edition for free and try it out for 30 days! Another great thing about PrintMusic is that it comes with 150 printable theory worksheets and flashcards for music educators- yay, that's us!
What about you? Do you do composing and arranging? If so, what music software do you use?