“Not only was the training great, it was also really fun, which is so important”

As always, we had an absolute blast delivering the Figurenotes: Developing Your Practice course. The interactive elements always have everyone smiling and it really brightens our day to work with such enthusiastic music leaders.

The inspiration was sparking for our fabulous course participants from the very first week! It is so invigorating to set an activity or a homework challenge and see the ideas pouring out of the wonderful teachers before us.

Online worked a treat! Well planned for the context and plenty of opportunity to share practice. Good space for thoughts to be absorbed too.

The Group

Last time we had an international crowd, but this crew were all based in Scotland, so we are also building a lovely network of musicians that can support each other in their day-to-day work too. That is why we encourage all our Figurenoters to join the private Facebook group too. It’s a great place to ask questions and share ideas with other Figurenotes teachers and leaders.

Getting to know our small groups and working together over the weeks really helps us to deliver practical advice relevant to each person and their working environment. With such broad portfolio careers in music and music education, we love hearing about the incredible professional experience each attendee brings to their work. Instrumental and classroom teachers, mainstream and specialist schools, composers and community musicians – we had a wealth of knowledge and experience within this group. Music education in Scotland is very lucky to have such an inspirational bunch of musicians teaching the next generation.

Excellent, fun, interactive, and curious sessions that were active and engaging.

Zoom screenshot with 7 smiling Figurenotes trainees. Some instruments are visible, such as guitar and ukulele

Week 1 – Rhythm

After introducing the basic principles of Figurenotes, we start the fun and games. Our rhythm activities using canon even got a live outing with a woodwind group in the week following the session, which went down very well with the pupils!

Our rhythm homework challenge inspired such innovative responses. These ranged from movement activities inspired by Pachelbel’s Canon, exploring and listening on an adventure with a cuckoo (Saint-Saens), all the way into outer space for a space-themed rhythm and structure activity. Their pupils are going to be having a lot of fun in the coming weeks working on this lot.

Week 2 – Composition

Chime cam made an appearance this week to showcase some compositions created during the session. We played with different ways of using rhythm and colour (pitch), as well as directing each other’s playing. It is always lovely to hear some live playing in an online setting too (the viola played as a cello was my personal highlight).

Week 3 – Groups

The Gingerbread Man came to play today. Incorporating elements from the past 2 weeks, this activity is great for differentiation, turn-taking and other ensemble skills, as well as having more extension activities than you can shake a rainstick at!

By combining this with practical tips for making group-work accessible and fun, this action packed week should set up our music leaders with the tools they need to get cracking with Figurenotes.

“I’ve already started using it and the kids just get it straight away. It’s definitely here to stay. It’s been life-changing!”

1:1 Follow-ups

Every participant can book a follow-up session with course leaders to ask whatever questions and queries that weren’t covered in the training or to dive deeper into certain aspects of their practice. This could be anything from reviewing and discussing resources created during the course, refining and developing them, or a walk-through of the software. These sessions are a wonderful way to tie up the learning from the previous 3 weeks to set our participants up with the skills and confidence to dive into using Figurenotes in their practice.

What Next?

Our next course will run in March 2022. Book your place here and join us for more Figurenotes fun and games, learning skills for delivering accessible music sessions, whatever your work setting.

Loved all of the compositional games gifted and the resources of materials – an amazing package of tools to get going in a lot of contexts.


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