Category Archives: Guest Blogs

Guest Blog: Less Talking, More Success!

A birds-eye view of a glockenspiel played with red beaters, a xylophone played with wooden beaters, and a guitar being played.

In today’s guest blog we look at why Figurenotes has been so successful in additional needs settings. Iain Macleod works in Kaimes School, a wonderful specialist school in Edinburgh. They have had projects from Drake Music Scotland for many years, alongside their regular music lessons. Iain explains his reasoning for using Figurenotes in the classroom. […]

Guest Blog: Giving Tools to Talent

In today’s guest blog, Fiona Sharp shares the success of a talented pupil she is working with in Scotland. Fiona is an Associate Musician with Drake Music Scotland, who arranged this project. She is also the founder of F Sharp Music, recently celebrating their 10 year anniversary. Natural Talent From a very young age Arnas […]

Teaching Figurenotes Online part 2 – Hear My Music

Screenshot of Hear My Music's showcase video.

Emily Carr-Martin from Hear My Music has continued to provide high quality music provision during lockdown. Here she gives us an insight into how they moved sessions online, as well as some of the unexpected benefits of working in this way. I’m Emily and I’m the creative director of Hear My Music, a charity enabling […]

Teaching Figurenotes Online part 1 – F Sharp Music Practice

Fiona Sharp of F Sharp Music Practice has had great success with her online music sessions during 2020 and into the new year. As many musicians worried about their future work opportunities, Fiona has continued to provide high quality sessions for many organisations including PAMIS and Drake Music Scotland. She has also delivered training sessions […]

Emmeline McCracken – ELM Music Therapy

In our latest guest blog, Emmeline McCracken shows us how she uses Figurenotes in her work as a music therapist. Hello everyone, My name is Emmeline and I am a music therapist. I work for my own company, ELM Music Therapy, primarily with children who have profound and multiple learning difficulties and those with terminal […]

Guest Blog: Don’t Lockdown your Creativity – 3. Hope

As a strange summer stretches before us, musician Francis Moore-Colyer looks ahead to the joy of what is to come. “After a long time at home, we can start to get excited about the future. When you feel ill, the very best bit is how good you feel when you’re better again. When you miss […]

Guest Blog: Don’t Lockdown Your Creativity – 2. Technology

Homepage of Chrome Music Lab

Musician Francis Moore-Colyer talks about some of the ways technology has helped us through lockdown. “I find that making music can be light relief from ‘work’ – household chores, schoolwork, shopping for groceries, etc. Taking part in music can be a release from these mundane or stressful things, because it sets off lots of sparks […]

Guest Blog: Don’t Lockdown Your Creativity – 1

Musician Francis Moore-Colyer shares some ideas for unlocking your creative side during lockdown. “If you have to stay at home, you might have more time to get creative. Everyone has a creative side, so let yours out! Thankfully, most of us have access to the internet or recorded music, which means we can play along […]

Aiding Recovery with Figurenotes

Posters and images, including a green mountain landscape, are displayed on a white wall

This wonderful project, which uses Figurenotes to help in the recovery from eating disorders, was brought to our attention recently. The instant accessibility of Figurenotes seemed to work really well in this scenario and allowed the group to compose and express themselves without any prior musical knowledge. My name is Nadine Allan and I am […]

Guest Blog: Creating a Figurenotes Curriculum

Mark Browne and Jill Reeves have been using Figurenotes to great effect at Craigmarloch School, so we asked them to share their experience. Figurenotes has revolutionised music here at Craigmarloch School. Its visual style and literal colour-matching logic has engaged pupils at all ages, stages and levels, and it has become integral to learning across […]

Guest Blog: Focus on Composing 2 – A Composer’s Perspective

Last week, composer and community musician, Matilda Brown, laid out how she introduced Figurenotes and the idea of matching to her music groups. If you missed it, you can read about it in last week's blog post. In part 2 of the series, Matilda tells us about Figurenotes from a composer's perspective.  Part 2 - A [...]

Guest blog: Focus on Composing 1 – Introducing Figurenotes

In a new series of guest blogs, Matilda Brown, composer and community musician, gives us an insight into how she uses Figurenotes with pupils. Matilda uses her work in special schools to demonstrate particular ways into using Figurenotes, which work wonders with beginners of all ages. Look out for part 2 and 3 over the […]

Guest Blog: Figurenotes Collaborations

Sam Dook from ‘Carousel’, a disability led arts organisation in Brighton, tells us of the joys of collaboration and composition, along with some great advice on which resources to use to get you started. For the last two years we have explored implementing Figurenotes in our music projects. It has proven to be very successful; perfect […]

Guest Blog: A Short Flight to Standard Notation

Fiona Sharp uses BBC Ten Pieces and Figurenotes in perfect harmony, leading her groups to stage 3 Figurenotes. Learning the coloured note-heads is only one step away from reading standard notation. For three years I have been leading Figurenotes focused projects with pupils in the Support For Learning Department at Arbroath High School. I have been […]

Guest Blog: But they’re the wrong colours!

Emily MacQuarrie tells us how she easily overcame the fact that the colours of tuned percussion don’t always match up with Figurenotes. I am a music teacher at Drummond School Inverness, a school for pupils aged 3-19 who have additional support needs. All of our pupils have severe learning difficulties and many have severe and […]

Guest Blog – The Magic of Figurenotes

Adam Featherstone, a teacher from Middlesbrough, tells us how he used music from Harry Potter to inspire a creative project with BBC Philharmonic musicians (pictured above with a musician from Priory Woods). I started to use Figurenotes in March of 2015 starting with whole class electronic keyboards, using single note melodies. I quickly progressed to […]


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