Sibelius 6 Student Edition Software BoxBuilding on the successful feature upgrades of Sibelius 6, Sibelius Student has greatly improved it's utility as an educational tool for both classroom and home use.  Priced at just under $100 Sibelius Student is a bit pricey for those that are just looking for a cheap or free way to write and print music notation, but for amateur musicians and music students it packs a lot of desirable features that other comparably priced student music writing products leave out. 
The Professional Level Features of Sibelius Student
Just as in Sibelius 6, Sibelius Student includes educationally sound features such as teacher commenting (in the form of digital sticky notes) and the ability to save multiple versions of the same song.  This allows teachers to be able to look at, critique, and notate suggested improvements to student work in a more linear fashion, seeing the decisions that a student makes from one version to the next.  When used in a classroom or properly equipped lab environment (20 seat lab packs are available) Sibelius Student also adds the utility of teacher control, allowing a teacher to guide students though tasks or set up specific assignments on all of the computers at one time. 

Other notable improvements over previous versions of the software include the use of Sibelius 6's magnetic layout abilities to allow the music to automatically avoid collisions between notes, staves, and dynamic markings.  They have also included a graphical piano keyboard for entry and playback that, while potentially useful in some situations seems to be much less of a usable feature than it is eye candy.  For those that deal with guitar chords and fingering diagrams this new version offers great improvements in recognition of chord names, making it far easier to add these markings to a score.

Who Is Sibelius Student Best Suited For?
Sibelius recommends the Student version for junior high and high school classes.  For most high school uses Sibelius Student will be more than adequate, however a few very useful features are left out that may make some teachers upgrade to the full Sibelius 6 verion if their planned instruction will include some of the abilities that are missing from Student.  Notably missing from the Student version is the ability to extract parts from a full score.  At least one copy of the full version of Sibelius 6 will be required if a teacher wishes to easily extract student compositions into individual parts.  Also missing from Sibelius Student is the ability to scan in music, and that playback of fermatas, dynamics, ritardandos, and accellerandos occur over a fixed duration.   A full comparison of the features of Sibelius and Sibelius Student is provided on the company web site.

Overall, however, Sibelius Student is an excellent value and provides an excellent set of included features at such a comparatively low price point.  While other brands of music notation software offer cheaper alternatives none provide so many of the more advanced features of their professional music notation products the way that Sibelius Student does.  Investing in Sibelius Student for a school music lab or for an individual music student to work on at home is an excellent choice and value.

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