Free Music Software

I’m a big fan of Aria Maestosa ( It is available free for all main operating systems. It has the ability to view and edit MIDI files in a number of ways, including the raw computer notation, as well as sheet music, piano roll, and guitar tab views. It can be a very interesting way to study music, especially if you’re comfortable reading musical notation.

Music Animation Machine

While on the classical bent, this is not exactly software (, but one of the most impressive YouTube channels I have ever seen. If you can look past all the pop trash on YouTube, every once in a while you can find something really grand.

Stephen Malinowski is a musician and computer programmer (it’s remarkable how often those two skills coincide). He has written a number of programs that allow him to visualize classical music. On YouTube, he has produced a huge number of videos that show these remarkable visualizations. They are not only beautiful but also are instructive. If you look at an orchestral piece, for example, you will see a line representing each instrument in the orchestra. Malinowski has also released the software for producing these videos for free, so you can experiment with your own music (

These tools should give you a lot of fun composing music on your computer. Don’t forget to use your headphones!


 Andy Harris is a homeschool dad, father of four great kids, and husband to the greatest homeschool teacher ever. He has taught all ages of students, from kindergarten to university level. Andy is the author of a number of well-known books, including HTML/XHTML/CSS: All in One for Dummies, Game Programming—The L Line, PHP6/MySQL Programming for the Absolute Beginner, and Beginning

Flash Game Programming for Dummies. For more information about his books, to see where he is speaking next, or to just say hi, please stop by his website:

Copyright 2012, used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in the November 2012 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the family education magazine. Read the magazine free at or read it on the go and download the free apps at to read the magazine on your mobile devices.

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