Author Archives: Lauren

Work with us!

Are you our Figurenotes Officer Maternity Cover?
Are you our Figurenotes Officer Maternity Cover? We have an exciting opportunity to work with Drake Music Scotland, the nation’s leading organisation providing music education possibilities to disabled musicians of all ages. Based in Edinburgh, we have been working for over 20 years to enable

Summer Orders

A beach drawing with umbrella, striped beach bag, suncream, a book, and star fish.
You know it is a good summer when even up in Scotland we get a heatwave! Our staff will be making the most of the weather and getting their holidays in while schools are off. It is generally a quieter time here at Figurenotes HQ, as our school and community projects take a break and […]

Top Tips in New Tutorials

YouTube thumbnails for 3 videos - chime bars, a woman at a piano, and a man holding a guitar.
If you follow our Facebook page, you may have noticed our new series of video tutorials. Commissioned by The Space, we have launched a series of ‘How To’ videos giving step-by-step guidance through many aspects of learning to play music with Figurenotes. Each video tutorial features a di

Celebrating 20 years

As Drake Music Scotland celebrates 20 years of pioneering work, we hear from Chief Executive, Thursa Sanderson, on the role Figurenotes has played.   From its establishment in 1997 Drake Music Scotland’s primary purpose was to create music-making opportunities for disabled people of all ages. Fo

Busting into Boston

Logo for Massachusetts Music Educators Association
Not a sentence that many people in the UK have uttered in the last week, but we have been extremely lucky with the weather! Why? Emma, Pete, and Lauren just managed to get out of the country before all flights were cancelled. Boston played host to the Massachusetts Music Educators Association (MME

Prioritising the Piano

Figurenotes is perfectly suited to the piano. By placing stickers on the white notes, we make it much easier to see the repeating pattern of notes that the piano has. Each note has a colour and each octave has a shape. You can see the relationship between notes, while still seeing them as different

Where Does Your Money Go?

Proceeds from Figurenotes resources go to Drake Music Scotland. This wonderful charity enables people with disabilities to learn, compose, and perform music. “Our vision is to transform people’s lives through the power of music. We play a lead role in making Scotland a place where ground-

When did you last get CPD?

When did you last invest in yourself? Twice a year, we run a full day of training for music educators and practitioners. At the Music Teacher’s Toolbox, we’ll give you a good grounding in how Figurenotes can support your work and help your pupils flourish. This training is always tailo

Christmas Updates

Well, we are nearly there. You’ve heard your pupils play Jingle Bells approximately a bazillion times and you are ready to park yourself by the fire with a well deserved mince pie. Before you get cracking with the Christmas cheer, we thought we’d better give you some wee housekeeping new

New in Dorico!

We have a new, easy way for people to access stage 3 of Figurenotes. Figurenotes progresses through 3 stages towards reading standard music notation. Stage 3 is coloured note heads. Until now, stage 3 has only been available via plugins (available from the Resource Base) for use with Sibelius or Mu

“Always something new to learn”

A vibrant group of people attended last week’s Music Teacher’s Toolbox. We had a mix of mainstream teachers, music specialists, music therapists, SEN/ASN teachers, and community musicians. Two teachers travelled all the way from Barcelona, continuing our tradition of attracting an inter

Getting to Grips with Guitars

So you want to be a rock star? Start a Figurenotes band! Beginners can start playing together very quickly. This is shown brilliantly by our instant Figurenotes bands on training days. There are many ways to learn guitar using Figurenotes. The route you choose will depend on the style of music you

Blowing the Trumpet for Brass

This mini-series started with strings, worked with woodwind, and now we are blowing the trumpet for brass! There are Figurenoters doing some brilliant things with brass. Take a look at Favela Brass in Brazil as a prime example of what can be achieved. We are in no way dictatorial about how you use F

Working with Woodwind

For the second instalment of our mini-series on how to use Figurenotes with different instruments, we will focus on woodwind.  In the last blog, we covered strings and how to get started. This focused on violin, but can be applied to viola, cello, and double bass. If you have any thoughts or ques

Starting with Strings

We have had a few requests for blogs focusing on using Figurenotes with different instruments. I’d like to start, as a violinist, with strings. There was a wonderful pilot project, when Figurenotes first came over to Scotland, at Greenmill Primary School. This research project was a joint vent

New BBC Ten Pieces Resources

Blue banner with white text: TEN PIECES
Once again, the BBC have asked us to create accessible resources for their Ten Pieces initiative. The BBC are launching their third list of ten pieces, all chosen with the aim of opening up the world of classical music to a new generation. BBC Ten Pieces invites students to develop their own creati

Get Creative

Creativity needs nurturing. Parents and teachers often put the focus on technique and ‘getting it right’. I admit that I often get bogged down with this when teaching my violin pupils. Lots of older pupils get nervous when asked to compose or improvise, which can be a hangover from th

New Resources with that Friday Feeling

Figurenotes score of Jonathan Dove's 'The Little Girl of Rain'
We are delighted to announce an exciting new partnership with Snape Maltings (formerly Aldeburgh Music). Their Friday Afternoons project encourages children and young people to sing. Since 2013, there have been more than 80,000 participants, from all around the world. New songs are commissioned ann

A Special Launch in London

Friday Afternoons Logo - coloured dots below those wods
Are you visiting the Music Education Expo this Friday? Make sure you’re at stand M1 at 3pm.  We are launching some exciting new resources in partnership with Friday Afternoons. Snape Maltings (formerly Aldeburgh Music) is hosting the launch at the Music Education Expo with a visit from Emma

Christmas Break

Figurenotes HQ will be closed from lunchtime on 15th December until 4th January 2017. I can’t say whether Santa and the elves work here the rest of the year, but that can’t be a coincidence! Please be sure to get your orders in by 10am on 15th December, in order for our elves to work th

Advent Calendar

We asked Santa and he can’t find your names on the naughty list, so you must have been very good this year. We’ve decided to treat you all to a Figurenotes Advent Calendar. Sign up via the mailing list and we’ll send you a gift each Sunday of Advent. From resources to discount code

ABRSM Conference

“I just love it. It has worked so well!” “Wow! Figurenotes really transformed my lessons. I love it!” “The way of displaying rhythm is brilliant. It makes total sense.” “I’ve tried to use colour before, but Figurenotes is just perfect.” We were d

CPD: 2 extra places released

“You’re going to need a bigger boat” – Music Teacher’s Toolbox is proving so popular that we’ve booked a bigger space. Looking at a fully-booked CPD course, we thought we’d better make room for some others, so we have released 2 more places. You can see the

Curiosity Award (and no cats)

Drake Music Scotland, the charity behind this site, recently won a Curiosity Award. This has allowed us to make a demo Figurenotes app, which we hope will act as preparation before taking up an instrument. The app will develop musical skills in a game-like environment. We don’t know if this

BBC Get Playing!

Have you ever wanted to be part of an orchestra? The BBC have launched their Get Playing initiative, which includes a virtual orchestra. You record your part in time with the conductor and they’ll do the rest. You could feature in the Last Night of the Proms! Worried about reading the music? D

BBC Ten Pieces

We now have a dedicated space on our Resource Base for BBC Ten Pieces. So, if you’ve been wanting to get involved, but weren’t quite sure where to start, or if you’ve been brimming with ideas and want even more, click on over to our Resource Base. We have lesson plans, scores, crea

SQA Approved

Did you know that Figurenotes is SQA approved? You can use Figurenotes for both performance and composition in SQA exams all the way up to Advanced Highers! This means that accreditation can be opened up to a huge range of people that struggle with traditional notation, whether this is because of ad

Video Killed the Radio Star

Most teachers and Figurenoters tell us that tutorial videos are the best thing for them to learn from (apart from our excellent training days). We have been busy updating our old Figurenotes software tutorials on YouTube. Some have already gone up, but we would love to take your suggestions for mor


This Sunday, we will be setting off bright and early to the EPTA conference in Edinburgh. To those not in the know, EPTA is the European Piano Teachers Association. After chatting with EPTA at the Music Education Expo in February, they got very excited about the potential of Figurenotes for their me

That moment when…

We love watching the end of this video. People often start off scared, thinking they are ‘unmusical’ or that they can’t do it. That feeling doesn’t last long with Figurenotes. That moment when you think you aren’t musical… …and you discover you can play with

A great way to spend a Saturday

Our Music Teacher’s Toolbox was a huge success last Saturday! Not only did we explore how to make the most of those minuscule music department budgets, but we rocked out to everything from Prince to the King of Pop. Our participants arrived with limited or no knowledge of the software and left

Sharing the Knowledge

The nicest part of our job here at Figurenotes HQ is when we go out into the big, wide world and share our knowledge of inclusive music education. That magic spark when you see a fire light behind the eyes of a music teacher or practitioner, knowing that what they do with that inspiration will cha


Apologies to any customers experiencing problems with Figurenotes software v3.  Some issues have been reported, which can’t be fixed immediately, so we are withdrawing it from sale for the time being.  We will be in touch with those of you affected directly and if you experience any problems, pl

Music Teacher’s Toolbox Returns

We cannot wait for April 23rd. Why? Because Music Teacher’s Toolbox is back! Come and join us for some seriously inspirational CPD from the experts at Drake Music Scotland. This training day is perfect for all music practitioners, educators, therapists, and community musicians. The full progra

Ooooh, new software!

To stay up to date on v3, please join our mailing list Improvements to the new software will include: Triplets – This opens up a whole new world of pieces to play. A little bit overexcited about finding all the pieces with triplets in. First stop, Mars! Text Boxes – Moveable text boxes

London Adventures

We recently sent three of our Figurenotes gurus down to London to spread the word at the Music Education Expo 2016. Welcome to all those that we chatted to on our stall. Welcome to our community of Figurenoters and brilliant teachers, musicians, and all-round inspirational people. Join our Facebook

Wish us luck!

We are off to London for the Music Education Expo, 2016! Figurenotes has been shortlisted for the Best SEND Resource in the Music Teacher Awards for Excellence. We won this award in 2014 and it is very exciting to be shortlisted again. Fingers crossed! Come and see us during the Music Education Expo

Christmas Order Dates

We have our Figurenotes elves until 17th December, when we have to give them back to Santa. Elves don’t get Christmas holiday like the rest of us. Please get your online orders in by 9am on 17th Dec in order to get them processed and posted by 4pm the same day. I’m afraid we cannot [&hel

Exciting Awards News!

Through the work of Drake Music Scotland, Figurenotes has been shortlisted for Best SEND Resource at the Music Teacher Awards for Excellence. After winning the award in 2014, we are delighted to announce that we are finalists for 2016. It is wonderful to have all our hard work recognised and su