Last week, Glasgow City Hall’s Old Fruitmarket venue was packed with teachers, educators, musicians and policy makers wanting to find out more about Figurenotes, a simple music notation system that uses colours and symbols instead of notes.
The Figurenotes conference was organized by Drake Music Scotland, the Scottish partner in an international network of music educators using Figurenotes to make music making accessible to a range of user groups including SEN music, Early Years and those with Autistic Spectrum disorder.
‘Making music should be a basic human right – Figurenotes is helping to place the joy and delight of making music in reach of all.’
Markku Kaikkonen and Kaarlo Uusitalo, Figurenotes creators
Presentations from inspiring teachers like Annona Thornton from Lilybank school, made evident the powerful impact the system has for children and young people – they find it easy to use and can quickly achieve and make progress, which in turn helps build confidence, motivation and communication skills. Figurenotes not only supports one to one teaching, it also allows differentiation within shared group activity.
Drake has been trialling Figurenotes Software with 40 people, and is using their feedback to develop the software before rolling it out nationally to Scotland’s music educators in 2011. Information on the software and a Figurenotes Resource pack will be available early next term.
In the iCompose session, Conference delegates had an opportunity to try out Figurenotes, creating short compositions which were played back to them by professional musicians from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Drake Music Scotland is working in partnership with Scottish Chamber Orchestra on the iCompose competition, which this year includes a Special Needs Category. For more information on the competition and how to enter visit www.icompose.org
Drake Music Scotland is one of ten Scottish arts organisations awarded funding to deliver a Co-Create project for Glow.