Creating Choral Assessments with Finale

It always amazes me the number of SmartMusic users I speak with that have yet to create a SmartMusic file using Finale. For anyone reading that may not know, SmartMusic and Finale are both developed by MakeMusic and designed to work together. Many successful educators are already creating their own SmartMusic repertoire to help students with:

  • all-state/region audition music
  • large ensemble/chamber repertoire
  • solos
  • breakdowns of difficult concert repertoire
  • proprietary methods or warm-ups
  • or any other time you have thought, “I wish they had that in SmartMusic”


Weather you are an educator that thinks creating SmartMusic files will be too difficult or time consuming, or if you didn’t know it was possible, then this post is for you. This subject deserves a closer look because there are so many educators and students receiving amazing benefits from the capabilities of these partner products. In this video, Leigh Kallestad gives a 2-minute demo showing just how easy it is to create an assessable choral accompaniment:


With Finale, you can see that creating an assessable choral file is as easy as making a few selections from a dialog box, saving to a folder or your Desktop, and opening with SmartMusic. However, this doesn’t cover getting the music in Finale to begin with. Educators and students with experience on virtually any notation software will find it very easy to create a score and notate an arrangement in Finale.

If you plan on entering notes using one of Finale’s entry methods, I highly recommend the Hyperscribe tool. This feature allows you to notate in real time while playing a MIDI keyboard. If you would like to see Hyperscribe note entry in action, watch this next video. Tom Johnson creates a piece from scratch in under four minutes! Although this video isn’t specific to choral accompaniments, it does a great job of demonstrating HyperScribe note entry. The process is the same for entering vocal parts.


Another option is to scan your music into Finale. There have been great improvements to scanning, so give it another try if you haven’t done so in a few years. Here’s the pro tip: set up a new score using the Setup Wizard, then copy and paste once the scan is complete.


Now that you know how easy it can be, let’s take a look at the practical application of creating your own SmartMusic accompaniments. This video shows how Dr. Cynthia Gonzales uses sight singing method books (in the SmartMusic library), supplemented with her own Finale created files, to develop vocal skills such as:

  • ear training
  • harmonization
  • echo singing
  • Solfege

(I apologize in advance for the audio levels, but the content is great)


I hope this helps anyone out there looking to take music technology to the next level in their classroom this fall. Summer is the perfect time to make you first SMP (Finale created) file. Who knows, you might get hooked on the ability to send anything you notate as an assessable SmartMusic file.

Learn more about educator tools in Finale

Already making SmartMusic accompaniments with Finale?? Please leave a comment if you have any tips or tricks that I may have missed.

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