Profile PictureLuke Carlson

Dorico: Complete Music Notation Course

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The complete guide to music notation using Dorico Pro 5 (or earlier).

This twelve-part video course will teach you how to engrave music professionally.

You’ll learn everything from the basics of note entry to advanced score layout. We’ll also cover numerous tips and suggestions to make engraving music faster and more precise.

My approach is to clearly and concisely show you how to create a variety of musical documents that have real-world applications. This approach will give you a modest portfolio of projects that you can use as references for your specific needs and interests.

We’ll make scores for solo instruments, vocalists, piano, chamber ensembles, percussion, and orchestra. We’ll work with graphics, typography, and custom page layouts. We also cover audio topics in Dorico’s play mode.

Course Contents

Lesson 1: learn to navigate the Dorico interface and create your first project: the theme from Caprice No. 24 for solo violin by Niccolò Paganini.

Lesson 2: add two variations to Caprice No. 24 (from lesson 1) and work with layout features unique to Dorico.

Lesson 3: create a lead sheet which contains lyrics, chord symbols, and repeat signs.

Lesson 4: create a traditional four-voice hymn with multiple verses and a custom score layout.

Lesson 5: create an excerpt for solo piano that utilizes modern notation, such as stemless notes, custom beaming, and free meter.

Lesson 6: create an incipit for six Chopin Nocturnes. The project covers working with master pages, typography, graphics, and how to insert frames for music and text.

Lesson 7: create the first page of an orchestral score by Johannes Brahms. We’ll also cover condensing and take a look at cues and part preparation.

Lesson 8: create three excerpts for percussion: a drum set, a percussion part with multiple staves and instruments, and a percussion kit with multiple instruments on one staff.

Lesson 9: notate the entire fourth movement of Anton Webern’s Five Movements for String Quartet. We’ll look at playing techniques, custom layout, and detailed score formatting.

Lesson 10: create a two-page music infographic that describes keyboard ornamentation, figured bass, and guitar tablature.

Lesson 11: learn to navigate play mode, customize VST playback, connect Dorico playback to Logic Pro, and use Dorico’s MIDI editing features.

Lesson 12: upload and format an XML file, take a deeper look at parts, cover music symbols and notation customization, as well as discuss best practices for score creation.


  • A computer with any version of Dorico. These videos were made in Dorico 4 and Dorico 5. Some features may no be available in older versions of Dorico.
  • Basic knowledge of music notation and terminology is helpful.

Dr. Luke Carlson is a composer, educator, and conductor who teaches courses on music notation, music appreciation, aural skills, music theory, counterpoint, orchestration, and electronic music. In addition to teaching, he has worked as a freelance music engraver for over 15 years. He holds a BM, magna cum laude, from the University of Oregon, a MM from Rice University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. His award winning compositions are performed internationally and have been described as “yielding fascinating timbres” (Washington Classical Review), “magical”, and “otherworldly” (Philadelphia Inquirer) and “personal and strong” (New York Times).

He is an associate professor of music theory and composition at College of the Ozarks where he coordinates the theory and composition programs and directs the C of O orchestra. He also serves as the chair of composition for the Missouri Music Teacher’s Association.

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Dorico: Complete Music Notation Course

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