Scottish charity is transforming music education with new learning software

Originally designed to help people with learning difficulties, it has since been developed into a product that anyone can use. Photo credit: Shutterstock

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

The introduction of the software has been made possible with financial assistance from the ScottishPower Foundation and will help transform music education in Scotland and beyond.

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

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

Playing music develops communication, concentration, confidence and self-esteem

Music teacher, Sistema Scotland, Alison Gornall said:

“Figurenotes opened the eyes of our students who understood that anyone could play music. A highlight was seeing a student in need of extra support perform a duo with our patron violinist Nicola Benedetti at our Big Noise concert. He received a standing ovation.

Drake Music Scotland chief executive Thursa Sanderson said:

“Learning music notation is one of the most common barriers to practicing music. Figurenotes software allows 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 we also develop communication, concentration, confidence and self-esteem. Making music reduces isolation and provides an opportunity for social interaction and finding shared pleasure in playing and performing for our family and friends.

Melanie Hill, Chief Executive and Trustee of ScottishPower Foundation, said:

“Drake Music Scotland is reaching new heights with this amazing new software that will change the way people learn to play music – making it more accessible to everyone and bringing the joy of music into the lives of many more people. We are proud to support the Figurenotes project and delighted to see Drake Music Scotland inspiring the next generation of musicians.

The Drake Music Scotland program 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. Learn more on their website.

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