How does a child who cannot read music write music?
Generally, it could be argued that most mainstream musical education programs make it possible to write music with symbols other than traditional notation.
Here, for example, are a number of programs with their own unique properties:
The programs Visual Arranger and Band in a Box are designed to create music for pop songs, rock, and jazz. This is accomplished by writing the harmony based on established song structures. The user can choose various background styles for each piece, but he or she does not have full control over every note in the final composition.
The program eJay is intended for the creation of electronic and dance music. The user can choose from pre-recorded samples (loops) of various musical instruments (generally one or two measures long). Each loop appears as a cube, and the user arranges the cubes according to his or her taste; thereby constructing the composition.
The program ACID is also based on loops, but it offers a sophisticated way to edit them. ACID also allows the user to incorporate single tones from various instruments, as well as add Midi files, movies, and more. Here is a screen shot of ACID containing two measures from student's composition. The three top tracks contain lone tones with various lengths and pitches. The bottom two rows contain drum loops.
Finally, Cubase makes it possible to record and edit music, write music using different graphics (including traditional notation), as well as incorporate loop editing, movies, and more.
Here, for example, is a Cubase screen shot that contains cube-shaped notes, which vary based on their length and their pitch. This is an editing style called Piano Roll due to the keyboard on the left side of the screen, which signifies each note’s pitch.
This shot captures a measure with A minor chord: low A (in yellow), and above it the notes A, C, and E (in orange). Sophisticated programs such as Cubase allow the user to control various sound components such as duration, dynamics, portamento (slide transitions), tone, vibration, etc, etc.