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Notation Software Community Users' Stories

Lloyd Johnson, Keyboard player
My formal piano lessons were years and years ago, on and off during a period that extended from late grade school to the first part of high school. I also played saxophone for the high school band. Band and piano lessons taught me how to read music - of sorts. In college I played saxophone and keyboard for a rock band. We played a few dances, one party and one bar. This experience nearly caused me to flunk out of school. Luckily, I met Judy (now my wife) and became refocused on school and earned a BSEE degree in 1975 from the University of North Dakota.

For the next 20 or so years, I didn't play much piano at all. For several years we didn't even have a piano. When my daughter was in high school she talked me into getting a piano. I started playing again but this time took an interest in ragtime - specifically Scott Joplin. I don't play much ragtime anymore though.

About 5 years ago, I started playing keyboard for the praise band at a Baptist church. I was given the words and the chords and I more or less improvised something around the chords. I like to think that the more I did this, the more I improved.

A couple of years ago, I started coming up with my own chord progressions and then writing some words to go with them. I would share this material with the church when it came my turn to sing a special (about once every 6 weeks or so). Other members of the praise band would accompany me. My brother helped me with the lyrics on several songs. He also provided me with the words for other songs and I would develop chords and a melody for the words he provided. With his help, I have written about 15 songs.

For the last several years, I have been going to various nursing homes with members of the adult Sunday school class I used to teach. I'd play piano and lead the singing of the praise songs we did at church. I've also started visiting nursing homes by myself and would play piano and sing old hymns. I would also sing many of the original songs that I've written. I have my first video on YouTube, where I'm playing and singing "The Disciple", one of my own songs.

A few months ago, I purchased a software program called Notation Composer. I had downloaded several trial packages and found that Notation Composer best meets my needs for the money I was willing to spend. This program allows me to connect my electronic piano to the computer so that what I play is entered into a musical score. I've sometimes found it more efficient to enter the notes via the computer keyboard and not my piano. Its still useful to have a piano nearby so I can remember how I played it. I like the ability of having the program then play the completed score through my keyboard.

My plan is to put all of the music I've written into piano scores and copyright them. Getting the copyright electronically isn't that expensive, and I've already copyrighted one song.