Music Notation on iPad

Notion Large notatemelogo

I was so very sad when I lost the ability to use Sibelius because I upgraded my mac to whichever cat or landmark it was two years ago. Of course Sibelius had just gone through a huge shake up because of Avid so my faith in the product wasn’t high anyways.

So, what did I do? Bit the bullet and bought Finale! HA… no…. sorry…. already owned it (since the very beginning) HATE IT! Only use it because of SmartMusic (Love that!)

So what have I really done in the past two years? Bought Notion on both my Mac as well as on my iPad as well as Symphony Pro on the iPad. I have also relied heavily on NotateMe and it’s scanning/handwriting features which rock!

NotateMe has saved me countless hours with it’s PhotoScore plugin! It is amazing the number of times I have to rearrange, recreate, compose and alter music for myself and my students. Because of the ability to take a picture of existing music using NotateMe and it’s PhotoScore plugin (on my iPhone/iPad) my life has become much happier! Notion is the app into which I dump my NotateMe files to do any editing that I need to do though. It just seems easier for some of the final edits like adding measures and multi-rests or adding rehearsal marks.


  1. I can hook my Novation LaunchKey keyboard up to my iPad, hit record and Notion rocks at transcribing whatever I play.
  2. Notion has just added HandWritten music capabilities! This is rock solid people! I’ve used it to write out the parts to an entire song for my beginning band and create the final score/parts to print out. I love it! You just simply write, I prefer to use the Pencil stylus by FiftyThree, and the handwritten notes get turned into digital music notation!
  3. Notion combined with iCloud is blissfulness! I can start a score on my iPad, save it to iCloud and then open Notion on my laptop and my score is there. It just works! No emailing the file, no texting the file, no dinking around with DropBox or Box. The score just shows up on both devices!


  1. I still run into stupid issues every now and then using Notion. Like trying to do step edit entry from my midi keyboard. It worked great but then when I wanted to stop entering notes and enter a rest I got stopped dead in my tracks from entering anything else form the keyboard! (All because I didn’t click on the little tiny pencil icon in the bottom left corner that I could barely see even though I had my glasses on!)
  2. Notion on iPad has this stupid drifting screen issue where it keeps trying to find the cursor, as it should. The screen drifts over to the cursor and keep going putting the cursor out of sight!

I don’t have to rely on my laptop so much anymore but I do still long for Sibelius at times. BUT that is partly just because I’d used it for so long that knew exactly how to accomplish things in it. AND Sibelius was rock solid and stupid easy to use!


Take the jump people, stop holding out! Be brave and dive in because the capabilities on iPad for music notation is going to blow your mind! In the words of my 6th graders, “What is that Magic?!”

Be ready to read and learn from other peoples mistakes and willingness to share! Be ready to write about your experiences and share with others what you have learned!

Be ready to join the FaceBook Notion Users Group! They are awesome people and I’ve gotten help there very quickly when I run into issues!

Notion Small IconNotion on iPad/iPhone costs $14.99 – this is a no brainer these days.

The Handwriting IAP for Notion costs $7.99 – This is really a no brainer as well. The technology fades even further into the background when using this capability!

notion 5Notion on a Desktop costs $99 – So much cheaper than Sibelius or Finale. Allows you to own both the desktop and the iOS apps as well as the handwriting for less than normal cost of the other two!

NotateMe Icon SmallNotateMe Now is Free and allows you to scan in one stave parts for free as well!

NotateMe Icon SmallNotateMe is the full version of this app and costs $39.99

The PhotoScore IAP costs $29.99 – again buying BOTH the full version of NotateMe along with the PhotoScore IAP costs you WAY less than purchasing these capabilities on a desktop!


Expect the same feature set and no bugs and no frustration trying to learn the new apps.

If you are a long time user of Sibelius and still have a working copy – keep it around! (Especially for all those files you have created through the years!


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