Scottish charity transforms music education with new learning software

A Scottish charity is set to transform music education in Scotland with the launch of innovative new software called Figurenotes.

Edinburgh-based charity Drake Music Scotland will use the technology to help learners read music quickly and learn to play instruments straight away. The colour and shaped-based system helps users read and understand music with a clear progression path to reading traditional notations.

The introduction of the software has been made possible thanks to a funding boost from the ScottishPower Foundation and will help transform music education across Scotland and beyond.

Drake Music Scotland has been developing Figurenotes for the last 12 years – working with music education experts in Finland to develop the tools. Originally designed to support people with learning difficulties, it’s since been developed into a product that anyone can use.

As well as launching the new Figurenotes software, Drake Music Scotland’s team has also designed the world’s first Accessible Music Hub with support from the University of Edinburgh’s Creative Informatics Challenge Fund. The Accessible Music Hub will provide training for teachers, allow them to download a wealth of creative resources and join the global Figurenotes community for learning and teaching music.

Music Teacher, Sistema Scotland, Alison Gornall said: “Figurenotes has opened the eyes of our pupils who realised that anyone can play music. A highlight was watching a pupil with additional support needs playing a duet with our Patron violinist Nicola Benedetti at our Big Noise concert. It got an ovation.”

Chief Executive, Drake Music Scotland, Thursa Sanderson said: “Learning music notation is one of the most common barriers to playing music. Figurenotes software makes it possible for any learner to pick up an instrument and play music instantly.

“We all know the power of music to transform lives. By playing music, we not only hone our musical skills but also develop communication, concentration, confidence and self-esteem. Music making reduces isolation and offers an opportunity for social interaction and finding shared enjoyment in playing and performing for our family and friends.”

Melanie Hill, Executive Officer and Trustee at the ScottishPower Foundation, said: “Drake Music Scotland is hitting the high notes with this incredible new software that will change the way people learn to play music – making it more accessible for everyone and bringing the joy of music into many more people’s lives. We’re proud to support the Figurenotes project and excited to see Drake Music Scotland inspire the next generation of musicians.”

The Drake Music Scotland programme works with schools across Scotland each year, providing over 1,000 children with access to learning and support that can be enjoyed by everyone – regardless of ability. 

Professor Melissa Terras, Director, Creative Informatics said: “We were thrilled to welcome Drake Music Scotland on board as one of our Creative Informatics Challenge Holders and it’s been great to see their Challenge Project progress, culminating in the world’s first Accessible Music Hub.

“We hope that this fantastic new resource will make it even easier for teachers and musicians around the world to get involved in making music as part of the Figurenotes community.”

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