Avid has recently rolled out a new unified support policy for all of its products, which has changed the standard support entitlement for many of its products, including Sibelius. Read on for a run-down of the changes and how they could affect you and, most importantly, the many other ways you can obtain support for your copy of Sibelius.
The new policy involves the use of Avid Support Codes (ASCs) to enable you to contact Avid’s support team. When you purchase a new copy of Sibelius or an upgrade, you will receive a complimentary ASC allowing you to contact support to resolve a single incident (even if that takes multiple emails or phone calls). After that, if you want to contact support again, you can purchase additional ASCs from Avid’s online store.
However, one of the real benefits of using Sibelius is its amazing user community, and there are plenty of ways to get great support without contacting Avid’s support team. Here are a few suggestions.
Sibelius comes with comprehensive documentation, and it should be the first place you look for an answer when you’re stuck. Look in the Help > Documentation submenu in Sibelius 6 to find more than 1000 pages of documentation designed to help you answer your questions.
Here are some tips to using the documentation effectively:
- Try the Visual index section just before the text index at the back of the Sibelius Reference book. This is particularly useful when you’re not sure what a particular notation element is called.
- Try the table of contents as well as the index. If you’re looking for an answer about, say, chord symbols, find the Chord symbols topic via the table of contents and flip through the topic, rather than going straight to the index.
- Think about the terminology you’re using. While I’ve done my best to index and cross-reference all of the common terms, unfortunately there are many different words for the same thing, and I may have missed one out. (If you find a term that’s familiar to you but isn’t indexed, do let me know about it.)
All of the documentation for Sibelius is also available for download from the Sibelius web site in PDF format. If you have an iPad, why not try loading the PDF into iBooks by adding it to your iTunes library? (I’m sure other digital readers allow a similar kind of thing.)
There are a couple of third party books about Sibelius available, but neither has yet been updated for Sibelius 6 (though publishers Hal Leonard and Cengage have their authors working on it):
- Mastering Sibelius 5 by Marc Schonbrun
- Sibelius: A Comprehensive Guide by Tom Rudolph and Vince Leonard
Online knowledge base
The online Help Center at the Sibelius web site has more than 600 articles, and more are being added all the time. You can also find the same content at the Avid site, with a slightly different search mechanism. Try out both of them and see which works best for you.
The forum on the Sibelius web site is the Sibelius user’s secret weapon. If you’re not going here when you need help, you’re missing out. This is where the amazing Sibelius user community really comes into its own. Because only registered Sibelius users can post to the forum (though anybody can read it via guest access), there’s a very high signal-to-noise ratio, and flame wars and trolls are few and far between.
You can very often post on the forum and receive an answer from an experienced Sibelius user (or often from me) within minutes of posting your question. Often you will get a faster response via the forum than you would get if you contacted Avid’s dedicated tech support staff!
The forum is probably the most important support resource available to a Sibelius user, and it’s no understatement to say that is one of the most remarkable things about the product and its community.
(By the way, don’t be fooled by SibeliusForum.com: although there are a couple of experienced users hanging out there and providing answers to people who post questions, this site is not affiliated with Avid or Sibelius and I can’t personally recommend it.)
If you don’t like the vibe of a web forum, you might prefer the Sibelius mailing list. While unofficial, I have been a member of this list for almost as long as I have been working on Sibelius, so it’s a good place to ask questions.
Like the forum on the web site, there’s a community of expert Sibelius users on this list, and although the signal-to-noise ratio is much lower than the forum (as you might expect from a largely unmoderated mailing list), it’s still a friendly place to hang out, and you’ll learn lots of things, both about Sibelius and music in general.
There are plenty of free tutorial videos available for Sibelius. The most viewed post on this blog (by some margin!) is for my friend James Humberstone’s excellent series that will help you to learn Sibelius in one hour. Other videos you should check out:
…and this blog
I do my best to post useful and helpful tips and tutorials on this blog as often as I can. We’ve even had the odd guest post, so if you’re itching to share your secret Sibelius expertise with the world, get in touch! To be sure you don’t miss out, make sure you subscribe to the blog (you can choose to receive each post by email when it’s added, or to receive a monthly digest).