Please specify the application that you are using.
I'm using After Effects with CC particle systems II.
Not sure if that is the right effect preset to use though?
Particle systems are an illusion and in your case you'd probaly fare better using other techniques. If you must do it with CC partiucle systems, simply pre-compose the text and then assign it as a custom texture for the particles in the effect settings. Then use a box emitter and tweak and animate its parameters. Just be aware that this doesn't do any inter-particle collision or anything like that, so you also have to tweak gravity and wind forces to control the spacing of the particles.
Can you recommend any other techniques I could try? I have four sheets of music to animate and fear that if I animated each word individually this is going to take a vast amount of time and also leave me with a video that takes a very long time to render due to the size/amount of layers.
Words flying in and then falling out can easily be done with the standard text animators. Add one to fly in, move down the timeline and add another to fly out. You'll need to study up on text animators but you can do a whole page of text on a single layer and move every letter, every word or every line as you wish.
I would start by examining a few of the text animation presets that come with After Effects. Once you apply a preset press the U key twice to reveal all of the modified properties and start playing around with things so you can see how they work. You should also type animate text in the search help field at the top right corner of AE and study up on the process. You will find that Search Help is a much more useful feature than just an internet search using Google or some other search engine.
Thanks Rick. I have played around with CC particle world here and can easily get it working in my comp. However when I try adding this to a 3d rectangle which is acting as my 'sheet music' I am no longer able to see anything. Can you help me with this? Are there any tutorials you can recommend?
Don't try and do everything on a single layer, especially when you are messing with particle systems. Put the rectangle on another layer.
Did you end up solving your issue with Rick's suggestions? Please let us know or if you still need help.