\"How effective are these techniques and modulations in a program like sonar 3?\"
The usefulness of midi controller info in a program like Sonar depends totally on the instruments you are controlling from Sonar. When midi was first implemented, most synths used no more than note on info. Even though a seqeuncer was capable of sending many different types of controller data, the receiving synth would ignore it. Thankfully, things are different these days and most synths/VSTis let you decide which midi controller to route to a wide range of modulation choices.