Figurenotes FAQ

How can I start using Figurenotes?

If you’re not sure where to start then take a look at the ‘Is it for me?’ section of the site and see how Figurenotes can be added to your toolbox.

For information on our software and resources, visit the Discover Figurenotes page, where you can find information on our subscriptions and physical resources. Sign up for the Figurenotes Software here. Remember that you can subscribe to the Figurenotes Accessible Music Hub for a great library of tunes, worksheets, and creative resources to get you started and keep you inspired.

Our training has proved to be immensely popular and is seen as an invaluable part of becoming a fantastic educator using Figurenotes. Take a look at our training options. If you are working alone then we suggest our online course Figurenotes: Developing Your Practice, which runs twice a year.

You can also seek advice from the team at Drake Music Scotland on 0131 659 4766 or email

What instruments can Figurenotes be used with?

Figurenotes can be adapted for most instruments, so, if you aren’t sure how to adapt it to suit your work, get in touch to ask our advice.

Visit our Instrument Guides page for information on setting Figurenotes up on different t instruments.

We also have some handy blogs packed full of tips for different instruments.

Getting to Grips with Guitars, Starting with Strings, Daring to Drum, Blowing the Trumpet for Brass and Working with Woodwind

If you need more advice on this subject, please get in touch.

What resources are available?

Read all about our resources here. We also have Figurenotes Software and the Figurenotes Accessible Music Hub.

We currently have 4 Figurenotes packs: First Figurenotes, for use with developmental age of 3-7;  Festive Figurenotes for Christmas; a Classical Pack; and a Folk Tunes pack.

Figurenotes Software is an invaluable resource, allowing you to tailor your work to your pupils’ needs. You can also write your own tunes, recreate others and import/export to Sibelius and MuseScore for Stage 3 Figurenotes.

In our Figurenotes Accessible Music Hub we have an array of tunes, warm ups, work sheets, band packs, creative resources and more. You can get access via an annual or monthly subscription. You will also get a discount on our training days.

Magnets are great for creative work, rhythm games, composition and more. A must for group work!

Stickers are essential for Figurenoters who are using the matching system (not wind and brass players).

Where can I get Figurenotes training?

You can find information on the most current Figurenotes: Developing Your Practice training day here; these days run twice a year.

If you would like more information then please get in touch. You can also join the mailing list to stay up to date on training dates.

We also offer bespoke training for organisations, so please get in touch if you would like to discuss options.

Can I get Figurenotes at home?

Figurenotes is ideal for learning at home. This is where the software is particularly useful, as well as the resources in the Figurenotes Resource Base. If you choose not to use the software at home, then you might consider buying our Figurenotes Magnets. These can be used to build creativity as you compose your own tunes.

What do I do if I’m colourblind?

If you are colourblind and still wish to use Figurenotes, our software can create letter names within the shapes, as well as solfege. Some Figurenoters also draw a diagonal line through a colour they struggle with. For example, if you can’t distinguish red from green, put a diagonal line through all the greens. This has proved a very effective method.

I don’t want to put stickers on my piano. What can I do instead?

If you are a member of the Figurenotes Accessible Music Hub then you can download ‘Fingers’ which you can place on your piano without stickers. Figurenotes is used in exactly the same way, but is easy to apply and remove depending on each pupil’s needs.

Is it easy to use the Figurenotes software?

Absolutely! It is a visual and graphic system, with little to no text, making it clear and simple to use for everyone. A lot of our pupils, both mainstream and with additional support needs, use it to compose their own music! Here is a little demo video on how to get started on it. There are many more tutorials, but you could come along to a training day to find out more.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. The software can help you tailor your lessons to your pupil’s exact needs. Alternatively, the Figurenotes Accessible Music Hub contains a large array of ready-made resources for you to use. You can also find more information on our Figurenotes packs, supporting products and subscriptions.

How does Figurenotes help pupils to improve at school?

Learning music via Figurenotes helps pupils develop better study skills by encouraging them to concentrate on a task, commit to working and practising regularly. They also develop social skills by working as a team with the teacher and/or other pupils.

They will be used to matching shapes, which helps develop their ability to process information. As they improve, they will learn to work more independently by gaining a certain amount of control over their instrument and improving motor skills in the process.

Pupils who read music, including via Figurenotes, improve their scanning skills, leading to improved reading skills. This is especially evident for those with dyslexia, as Figurenotes eliminates the visual disturbances triggered by conventional notation.

Instant success, due to the concrete nature of Figurenotes, leads to confidence and motivation, meaning players are less likely to give up.

Ready to get started?

We have all  you need to get started and playing in our online shop.

What Our Users Say...

My less able piano pupils are finding piano lessons much more joyful using stage 3 Figurenotes and I'm about to start using stage 1, 2 and 3 at primary school to teach recorder and keyboard.

Felicity Palmer

I’d just like to thank you and the team for an amazing day last Saturday. I’d love if it was on again this weekend! I’ll definitely be over for next one in March.

Luke Cranitch, Music Teacher

I've realised Figurenotes can be used not just in school, but also with my private pupils. Really valuable to try out the practical activities. Thanks very much!

Emma Wright, Primary Teacher

Really brilliant! I learned a lot and had a good time. Keep it up!

Clare McBrien, Community Music Leader

Thank you! It was great to experience Figurenotes in person and have the opportunity to talk to the professionals.

Shannon Stevenson

We were shown the skills to create lessons for all abilities. I'll be able to create arrangements and resources for all levels. The course leaders were great. Excellent delivery of the course. Interactive and easy to understand. Fantastic course, and it was delivered at the right level for me and my knowledge.

Craig Hart, Secondary Music Teacher

Useful to get a refresher for general music teaching, as well as learning how to use Figurenotes. Thank you!

Lorna Williamson, Big Noise Teacher

Lots of new ideas and tips, plus refresher to help think about different music situations. Lots of ideas and good networking opportunities. Thank you!

Gordon Turnbull, Music Teacher (ASN)

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!

Luke Cranitch, Music Teacher

A great day. Many thanks! Really useful to try different things and get new ways to approach introducing rhythm and pulse.

Scott Coutts, Music Teacher (Secondary)

It has been absolutely amazing. I have learned so much from the first session to the whole day. I have so many ideas and I'm more confident going forward. It is perfectly formed. Really valuable to refresh my knowledge and being able to embed the learning. Thank you so much for allowing me to come.

Maureen Malcolm-Gourley

Very good indeed!

Connie Reilly, Music Teacher

Figurenotes will allow me to bring more structured learning to the groups and give the young people access to music theory/learning/playing that they haven't had before.

Janet Butterworth, Support Practitioner

Today's training has been a fantastic experience. Fantastic course and people! Thank you very much!

Justyna Grajewska
Thank you and keep up your good work, as the Figurenotes system has had a major impact on my teaching and learning.
I had a pupil who could not read notation due to Dyslexia. She managed to get an A in higher music with piano as her second instrument. She is now in 2nd year of Teacher Training. It is a fabulous way to learn and is such a confidence builder.
Anne Lawrence – Piano Teacher
The course was very thorough! It was really valuable to have the practical examples and see how many different ways there are to put them into action.
Jelena Sipila
A great mix of engaging activities and useful information. Thanks for the day! This will come in handy 🙂
Jelena Sipila
I gained a thorough understanding of the use of Figurenotes. I have encountered it before, but today I figures out how to use it more professionally. Also, it was great to learn to use the notation software - this will be very helpful in the future.
Jelena Sipila
Lovely staff- very relaxed and experienced, and supportive all day. Great music making experience. Thank you very much.
Maria Kelly
Looking at ways to introduce simple music making to young people was really useful. The most valuable part of the day was getting the chance to play the instruments using Figurenotes and looking at composing.
Maria Kelly
Excellent notation system to support all learners.
Maria Kelly
We are impressed with how easy it is to make music with a lot of different instruments
Lorena Sanchis
Good to get ideas for using/introducing Figurenotes into classroom teaching. Good to hear how other people use the software. Nice mix of activities. Thank you. It was a really fun day 🙂
Meg Dowling
Great to be reminded of tricks and shortcuts on the software. Awesome to play in the band, and great composing ideas. I loved getting to just play and be out of my comfort zone. All of it is valuable! Thank you.
Mo Malcolm-Gourley
No matter how often I attend these training days, there is always something new to learn, and new ideas to share and take back. Great day meeting lots of interesting people and thinking about new ways of working.
Annona Thornton
Thank you - I really enjoyed the training course, especially the opportunity to use the software, bring new ideas, and create film music.
Karen McCondichie
Fab day! Thank you 🙂
Joe McGuire
The whole day was really valuable. It has been useful in every way possible!
Audrey Mackay
The day has been great! The games with Figurenotes gave me lots of new ideas. The computer session was really helpful and answered lots of my questions about how to do things. The band session was fun and illustrated how to get a group going. It was much better than I expected, as I had no idea what to expect! Loads of questions answered! Presenters were great! Thank you so much for a brilliant and inspiring day!
Amanda Frew
A well organised day; good pace. Really well resources, with instruments, computers, etc. Ideas for how to teach Figurneotes in the early stages was really useful. Breaking down the content into manageable chunks and progressing. Great to put it all together in the band session.
Johnathan Westrup – Drake Music (England)
Today was very useful. I can work on rhythm and pulse using Figurenotes to make it enjoyable for my pupils. Everything we covered was beyond my expectation. It was really valuable to have the different kinds of games you can play using simple materials. The adaptability of everything covered was really valuable.
Janet Okumu – Kodaly Instructor
Ideas for different ways of reading music, which will be very useful for a couple of students struggling with standard notation. The games ideas will be really useful too. Thank you!
Marit Falt
Learned more about using the software, which will help me build resources for my school. Loved the practical band skills. I can see this working really well in the classroom. I also enjoyed the games - would use them with ASN pupils and S1/S2. The most valuable aspect of the day was the band skills - seeing Figurenotes used on various instruments and how it might work in a group setting.
Jacqui Cockburn
The day was exactly what I needed to make me feel wildly enthusiastic again. [My partner] may find me hard to live with for the next few weeks!
Annona Thornton
Renews enthusiasm with new ideas of different way of working. Sharing ideas with other musicians and getting new ones. Excellent day. Great fun. Well done! Continue doing the good work.
Annona Thornton
Fantastic balance of active and passive sessions. The presenters were open, friendly, knowledgable, and fun. The Q&A session was particularly useful. A really fabulous day. Very informative and enjoyable.
Susannah Breaden – YourDNA Creative Arts
Great range of ideas for using and adapting Figurenotes, including games, band, and technology. I will be able to apply some of these ideas straight away, easily adapt others, and work on the technology aspect too.
Susannah Breaden – YourDNA Creative Arts
It's been so awesome. Having fun just reminded me to be using Figurenotes more. Absolutely loved the games, the skittles, the software - loved it all! Thank you for having me!
Mo Malcolm-Gourley
I've got lots of new ideas to use as teaching methods for pupils who struggle with music notation and had a laugh at the same time!
Jen Austin
  Excellent! It has worked wonders and the pupils love being able to understand rhythms, as in the past they have 'forgotten how the tune goes' and, therefore, had no success at home.
Elaine Moffat
The Figurenotes notation system is very quickly understood by children (as in, by the end of the first lesson), and brings the practical advantages of a music notation system. This combination makes initial progress in terms of the musical result very fast. Nothing gets kids playing and learning tunes in the beginning like Figurenotes.
Tom Ashe – Favela Brass
Nothing translates as easily as Figurenotes. It is just so obvious that it works!
Lucinda Mackworth-Young – Pianist

Great to have new ideas, learn how to adapt various instruments and experience band arrangements. Also great to have software queries cleared up. Very thorough and staff answered all queries and questions. Thank you. A wonderful day!

Musician and Tutor

Figurenotes, starting simply for my ASN pupils, is very relatable and doable. The fact that I can make my own unique music and resources, and so can my pupils, is so valuable. Really enjoyed the training day. Extremely valuable for my pupils

ASN Teacher

Great to see that there is a useful resource to compliment me or others in delivering REAL music lessons. Really useful to see how Figurenotes can start basic and develop to full musical writing and composition.

Chloe Douglas – Primary Teacher

By attempting instruments myself I realised how easily we could help the children to access instruments. Learning to play Manic Monday on the guitar was the most valuable aspect of the day. I've waited my whole life for this LOL! Seriously though, this illustrated the above point.

Colette Edie – Support Teacher
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