NotateMe | notation app for Piano Teachers - Creative Music Education

NotateMe | notation app for Piano Teachers

By Tim Topham | iPads / iPhones

Dec 07

NotateMe app for piano teachers

If you’ve ever been frustrated by the difficulty of using traditional notation software such as Finale or Sibelius, you are sure to like NotateMe.

I’m just old enough to remember when notation and recording software cost thousands of dollars, required huge processing power and memory and large desktop computers.

With the advent of the iPad, things that used to be out of the reach of the average student and teacher is now just a click away. Consider an app like Garageband. This complete multi-track recording bundle was almost inconceivable for most recording musicians 10 years ago. Now it’s being released free with new iPhones and iPads!

Notation software for iPad

There have been a few apps around that can create notation on the iPad. The ones I’ve tended to use have been Symphony Pro, Notion (see my article: Notation for iPad just got easier with Notion) and now NotateMe. All have their advantages and disadvantages. I primarily like Notion and Symphony Pro (with Notion now in front) for the ability to record in MIDI from a keyboard and convert it directly to notation.

Both Symphony Pro and Notion are fully-featured notation solutions and I can’t really fault either of them. That said, most people would agree that it’s still often faster to hand-write your own notation – especially if it’s a short excerpt or example for a student! This is where NotateMe comes to the rescue.


For those who haven’t heard, NotateMe allows you to convert handwritten notation on the iPad screen into printed notation in real-time. Here’s a quick video demonstration of me using the app recently (please excuse my hand getting in the way!):

It costs about $15 and is available for Android and iPad. It also works on iPhone, however given the small size of the screen, I wouldn’t attempt to write anything on a phone! For those looking for more information, have a glance at the NotateME Quick-start guide to see what it can do.

Here’s a demo video by the developers:

The only downsides I’ve found so far are that it:

  • Takes a while to get used to (ie. getting used to writing so that the software understands you can be awkward at first, but it does get better and the software ‘learns’ how to read your writing as you go)
  • Requires a stylus to be accurate (The Adonit Jot Pro is the stylus that I prefer to use)
  • Doesn’t yet understand dynamics and is lacking in articulations and some of the more complex features of music notation.


If you’re looking for a handy way to jot some ideas, make notes for students or create student worksheets with professional-looking printed notation, NotateMe could be a perfect solution. However, if your scoring needs are complex and require things like drum notation, auto lyric spacing, complex signs and symbols, etc. etc,. you may be better off with Notion or Sibelius.

What’s your experience with notation on the iPad?

Disclaimer: I was not asked to write a review on this app, nor was I given a free download or compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed are my own.


About the Author

Best-known for his blogging and teaching, Tim is also a well-respected presenter, performer and accompanist based in Melbourne, Australia. You can check him out on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

  • Beth says:

    I purchased it a couple of weeks ago. Even though the app has completed its “learning phase”, I find it still has difficulty recognizing tied notes. I finally gave up.

    • Tim Topham says:

      Hi Beth – yes, I found it similarly hard at first but eventually worked out a way to write them that NotateMe seemed to understand. Have you tried either of the other notation apps for iPad? I’d be interested in your experience.

  • Robin says:

    I am a firm advocate of Sibelius and have tried a couple the available iPad apps including symphony Pro which crashed a lot!
    I am going to have a look at NotateMe though have viewed the creators vid and on your recommendation Tim so thanks for this post.

  • Carlinton says:

    Thanks for sharing! It is always good to know that there are other software on the market to use. I will be giving it a try. I love Finale and Sibelius but I am still yet to see a notation software that my year old students will enjoy using.

    Thanks Tim, my high school music students should be able to use this software.

  • Rebecca Ly says:

    Thanks for the review, I’ve been wanting to buy the app, but I was a bit unsure of how effective it is. However, I did want to ask – is the app capable of producing worksheets?

    • Tim Topham says:

      Hi Rebecca. Yes it is, but I personally wouldn’t do it. Much easier to do on PC. Use a free online scoring website like Noteflight and cut and paste to get the layout right.

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