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Updated Sticker Design

Image of FN stickers

If you’ve ordered Figurenotes Stickers recently, you might have noticed a slight change in their design. The same shapes and colours as before, but without the shadows. We think this makes the shapes clearer and easier to see on the instrument – and you seem to agree! Thank you to everyone that has helped us […]

Music in Primary

How can Figurenotes help music sessions happen as Primary School returns? Educators all over the world are either in preparations or currently navigating the return of our young people to formal education. There are so many factors to consider, and when it comes to music it’s no different. Figurenotes have some great resources designed to […]

Resume the Routine

How can Figurenotes help as schools plan to return next week? Teachers, pupil support assistants and practitioners do incredible work all year round supporting our young people’s learning. We know that things will look very different when schools return next week, so at Figurenotes HQ we have been putting together some useful resources for delivering […]

Early Years Music Returns

How can Figurenotes help as we plan to return to our settings? Today the Scottish Government released guidance on returning to early years settings. Many practitioners in Scotland and all over the world will be wondering how music is going to fit in to the “new normal”. Here at Figurenotes HQ, we want to help […]

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 […]

Power Up Your Practice

Image of a notepad with the words 'Plan of Action' and 'Practise' written on it

Lockdown has brought different challenges to different people. You may have discovered that you’ve got tonnes of time to practise. Maybe you’re juggling multiple responsibilities and need to make your practice time as efficient as possible. Or you might find that having lots on your mind means you can’t concentrate very well at the moment. […]

Got Rhythm? #FigurenotesChallenge

Rhythm is so intuitive with Figurenotes – the note is as long as it looks! So how does it all fit together? Our newest #FigurenotesChallenge aims to help you/your students understand the relationship between different rhythms through this gentle movement activity. This is the first in a series of videos designed to develop rhythmic skills […]

Somewhere Over The Rainbow Project #FigurenotesChallenge

On Thursday 30th April at 8pm, musicians all over Scotland are going to pick up their instruments and show their appreciation for our NHS and other frontline workers by having a great big play-along! This national event named the Over The Rainbow Project has been organised by MEPG (The Music Education Partnership Group) and will […]

Learn to Play Music at Home with Figurenotes! #StaySafe

Staying home comes with some challenges, but one HUGE positive is we can still make music. You might even have more time on your hands to practise! This is a great time to pick up that new instrument, learn a new piece, or finally nail that beast of a drum fill you have always dreamed […]

New Music Scotland Awards

Logo for New Music Scotland

Figurenotes projects have led to nominations in FOUR categories of the Scottish Awards for New Music 2020. Diversions, written by Ben Lunn, was performed by Drake Music Scotland’s Digital Orchestra and Hebrides Ensemble. The Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh was the setting for this accessible concert of new works. Figurenotes was used by some members of […]

Coronavirus Delays

Please note that, while our online shop is still open, there is likely to be a delay in processing orders due to the coronavirus. The situation is changing quickly and we will be following governmental advice on how we handle it. We will be available via email on figurenotes@drakemusicscotland.org, but our phone lines will be […]

ThumbJam & Figurenotes

ThumbJam is undoubtedly one of the greatest apps of all time! This much has always been known amongst music botherers. With over 40 exclusive real instrument samples and hundreds of ready-to-load scales, the flexibility and sensitivity of the app allow for a level of musical expression equal to a traditional instrument. Perfect for beginners and […]

Music Teacher’s Toolbox Returns!

Group of musicians playing Figurenotes in a band

Our ever-popular training for music teachers and practitioners returns on Saturday 21st March, 2020. Come and develop your knowledge of creating a more inclusive music classroom. Whether you work in a mainstream setting, as a private teacher, in a specialist environment, or any other music-making context, you’ll learn how to realise your pupil’s potential. You’ll […]

Really relaxed and informative day! Lovely environment to create, think and share.

As we wrap up our final Music Teachers Toolbox Training Day of 2019, one of our favourite things to do here at Figurenotes HQ is to read the lovely feedback we receive from our participants! It was wonderful! The facility is amazing in terms of the equipment and all the staff were kind and inspiring!  […]

SAME Conference 2019

“I’ve been using Figurenotes with ASN pupil since earlier this year & love it. Was great to hear a bit more from Drake Music Scotland at #sameconf23. Will now expand my use of this excellent resource with pupils to stop ASN being a barrier to learning & participating in music.” It’s statements like this one […]

Figurenotes Collect @ Craigmarloch

Figurenotes Collect @ Craigmarloch School The final leg of Figurenotes Collect is over! This collecting exercise culminated in visiting Craigmarloch School in Inverclyde. Craigmarloch is an exceptional facility born of the amalgamation of the former Lilybank and Glenbank Schools. The school is one of three in the New Port Glasgow Community Campus, working closely with […]

Figurenotes Collect @ Teens+

As some of you may already know, we are in the process of applying to update the current Figurenotes Software. A part of the application requires us to estimate our reach i.e how many people are using Figurenotes. With this in mind, we have launched our new project Figurenotes Collect! We are delighted to announce […]

“Could we have more please!!!”

“Great course, thank you! So many ideas for new functional musical activities.” “Could we have more please!!!” What a day! Big thanks to everyone that came along to our Music Teachers Toolbox training event on Saturday at Drake Music Scotland. We could not be more delighted by the feedback from our participants. Quotes like these really […]

Music Teachers Toolbox

Hello Figurenoters! We are thrilled to announce the programme for our upcoming Music Teachers Toolbox on Saturday 23rd March 2019. First Figurenotes & BBC Ten Pieces  This time around, we will be focusing on Creative Sessions involving Early Years/Primary/ASN and how best to support your participants brand new to Figurenotes in a variety of engaging […]

Important Christmas Dates

December is upon us and the festive season seems to be in full swing here in Scotland! You’ve probably been preparing for concerts and end of term performances before a well-earned break. Before you get cracking with the Christmas cheer, we thought we’d better give you a few bits of housekeeping news. In order to […]

“I’d love for it to be on again this weekend!”

“Today’s training has been a fantastic experience. Fantastic course and people! Thank you very much!” “Music Teacher’s Toolbox has given me a new way to approach teaching, making music easier to understand and play. Everything was fantastic! I got a very comprehensive understanding of Figurenotes. I’ll be back for the next one!” “Really brilliant! I […]

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 people to learn, play, compose, and perform music. You can […]

Training at Aberdeen University

A group of students sit in a circle working on the Thumbjam apps on their iPads at a training day.

“I feel sorry for those people that couldn’t make the training today, as I think they’ve missed out on something great!” It is always wonderful to get a glowing review from our training sessions. Over two days, this one combined both Figurenotes and demonstrations of the technology that Drake Music Scotland use in their work. If […]

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 different expert from Drake Music Scotland, showcasing plenty […]

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. For the first 10 years this was primarily achieved through the […]

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 (MMEA) Conference 2018. Drake Music Scotland and […]

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-breaking new music featuring skilled musicians and composers with disabilities comes alive for […]

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 MuseScore. Now, the people at Steinberg have […]

“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 international crowd! “Good to get ideas for using/introducing Figurenotes into classroom teaching. Good to hear […]

“I can’t wait to get going!” – ABRSM Conference 2017

“I am so excited about this!” “I’m so glad I came to talk to you. This is great!” “Ooh, this looks fun!” Lauren and Emma were greeted with lots of big smiles and lightbulb moments during the ABRSM Conference. Many teachers are looking for extra tools in areas where their students may struggle; some just want a […]

Pick-a-Brick (and other tips)

A pile of colourful Lego bricks

I know you teachers are a committed bunch and spend much of your holiday time thinking about next term and updating your lesson plans. With that in mind, I’d like to give you a little inspiration for your upcoming lessons. If this feels too much like hard work right now, save this blog and come […]

Thumbjamming with Figurenotes

Image of Thumbjam on a screen with Figurenotes icons on the appropriate notes

At Drake Music Scotland, the charity behind Figurenotes, we love using Thumbjam. Obviously, we love using Figurenotes too, so we wanted to find a way to combine the two. Our Associate Musician, Clare Johnston, came up with a brilliant way to use Figurenotes with Thumbjam on the iPad. Clare is a bit of a Thumbjam virtuoso. […]

Exclusively for Resource Base Members

Our award-winning training is back! Due to a flurry of recent training enquiries, we thought we should open booking for November’s Music Teacher’s Toolbox. This time around, Resource Base members get exclusive access to pre-sale booking. Only a limited amount of places will be released, so make sure you grab yours early. All members of the Resource […]

Snarky Puppy Workshop

It’s not every day you get to workshop with a Grammy award winning musician. Michael League from Snarky Puppy kindly gave up his morning in Glasgow to work with members of Drake Music Scotland’s Digital Orchestra. This group uses all kinds of technologies to compose, play, and perform music: Notion and switches, iPads, synths, and more. […]

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 the ‘getting it right’ approach, prevalent in schools and […]

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 […]

What’s in your Toolbox? More places!

You booked it – we made it bigger! Due to a rush of bookings, we have decided to release more places for our Music Teacher’s Toolbox on 25th March. Get in quick before we run out of space again. You’ll get expert guidance on using Figurenotes with different instruments and in different scenarios. You’ll learn how […]

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 annually, with the most recent compositions from Jonathan Dove, creating a song bank […]

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 […]

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 drowning in compliments at the ABRSM conference. With over 500 instrumental teachers attending, […]

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 […]

“If only all CPD left you feeling like this!”

We can’t wait until 19th November. Why? It is the next Music Teacher’s Toolbox! *insert your own personal fanfare here* These training days are packed full of inspiration, whether you are new to Figurenotes or an experienced Figurenoter. Perfect for freelance music practitioners looking for some CPD. Great for teachers in both mainstream and special […]

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? Don’t worry, we’ve […]

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, creative activities, poetic […]

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 additional needs, such as […]

Special Music Educators of the World, Unite!

We are super excited about presenting with the Finnish creators of Figurenotes at the ISME pre-conference seminar on Special Music Education and Music Therapy!  Figurenotes will have quite a presence at this incredible conference. You’ll also be able to get our event discounts on resources. There will be performances, workshops, presentations, and papers from international stars […]

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 […]

EPTA

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 members, and invited us […]

Apologies

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, please let us know, as this information […]

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 group if you want more contact […]

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 on Stand […]

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 supported in this way. We have great connections with a […]

Figurenotes in Rio!

The Favela Brass Project has been using Figurenotes to teach their students with great success! They provide free instrumental music lessons for children in a small favela in Rio de Janeiro. Founder, Tom Ashe, says that Figurenotes “makes students’ first musical steps as simple and enjoyable as possible.” Their students regularly perform on trumpets, trombones, […]

Facebook Group

Connecting with other Figurenoters is now easier than ever. Come and join in the discussion in our new ‘Figurenotes – Let’s Make Music’ Facebook group. Share your ideas and inspire others, ask questions and get answers from us and other Figurenoters, and meet more of our worldwide Figurenotes community. Super easy to access from your […]

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