Home Email Scroll top Community

Drake Music’s Figurenotes rises to the new National Plan challenge

Scottish charity Drake Music Scotland says the latest Figurenotes music learning software meets the requirements of the government’s revised National Plan for Music Education in England to ensure all young people get greater access to music making. 

Aimed initially at young people with learning difficulties, Figurenotes is a colour- and shape-based system of representing notes and octaves that creates a simple path to learning traditional music notation while acquiring performance skills. 

The original system was designed by Finnish music teachers Kaarlo Uusitalo and Markku Kaikkonen and introduced to the UK by Drake Music in 2010. A decade later, Drake took the system into the digital domain. Now, with the financial support of the Scottish Power Foundation, the latest system can be accessed by anyone via the internet. 

Scotland Music Teacher Alison Gornall, who already uses Figurenotes, said, ‘It’s incredible how this software tool can unlock youngsters’ music potential and allow them to read music in a much more fun and contemporary way. It has been particularly beneficial to pupils with additional support needs, but I’m delighted to see it now being rolled out across the whole of the UK education system.’

Over 60 Scottish schools employ Figurenotes and over 1000 students benefit from it every year. But to introduce more schools to the system, Drake Music is offering a free support bundle for teachers, including webinars and digital resources to help them learn about the system and help their students. 

Drake Music Scotland Chief Executive 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 offering an opportunity for social interaction and finding shared enjoyment in playing and performing to our family and friends.’

Get involved

To access the free bundle of support please email: figurenotes@drakemusicscotland.org, quoting #FigureOutFigurenotes.