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.

Read through the descriptions of the resources and take a look at the videos. You can find out more information about the Figurenotes software here. Remember that you can subscribe to the Resource Base 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 the Music Teacher’s Toolbox, which runs twice a year.

You can also seek advice from the team at Drake Music Scotland on 0131 659 4766 or email laurenclay@drakemusicscotland.org

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.

Our Figurenotes Starter Pack contains guides to setting up Figurenotes on keyboard, guitar and drums. The First Figurenotes pack will take care of your pupils learning about chime bars. If you need more advice on this subject, please get in touch.

What resources are available?

Read all about our physical resources here. We also have Figurenotes Software and the Resource Base.

 

We currently have 5 Figurenotes packs: ; the Figurenotes Starter Pack, which contains everything you need to start using Figurenotes; First Figurenotes, for use with developmental age of 3-7; a Carol Pack 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 Resource Base we have an array of tunes, warm ups, work sheets, band packs, creative resources and more. You can get access via an annual subscription of less than £2 a month. 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 Music Teacher’s Toolbox 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. The Figurenotes Starter Pack should provide you with everything you need to get started with Figurenotes at home. 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. For added value, try the Get Started Value Bundle.

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 Resource Base 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 Resource Base contains a large array of ready-made resources for you to use. You can also find more information on our Figurenotes packs designed for both group work and one-to-one tuition.

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...

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

Delighted to be shown a new way of teaching notation. A very nice mix of activities/information delighted with the 3 different presenters. Never got bored. Great! When can I attend more of this?

Dorothy Mutch – Music CST

Fantastic to find out about ways that kids who can't speak or read can learn to read music. Also, finding out that I can play guitar! Fantastic course - paced to perfection! Very engaging and appropriate.

Rachel Paterson – Principal Teacher ASN

The training day gave me ideas of rhythm-making games and tasks to use with pupils with severe and complex needs. Great to be given opportunities to see practical ways to engage pupils and to make music-making accessible. I thought the day was well delivered. An excellent blend of theory and informational content, along with thoroughly enjoyable practical tasks. I loved the day!

Vikki Bridgewood – Additional Needs Support Teacher
If only all CPD left you feeling like this!
Vikki Bridgewood – Additional Needs Support Teacher
It's the tool I've been looking for for a long time
Isobel Burnie – Music Teacher
I'm so impressed with Figurenotes. Such a simple concept and so effective
Thomas Frost – Music Teacher
I haven't come across anything that comes close to it for inclusivity
Morven McKerrell – Music Teacher
The software is great! It means we can do the songs they really want to learn
Mo Malcolm-Gourley – Glasgow
A really valuable technique. Needs more exposure!
Lee Reynolds – Glyndebourne Youth Opera Musical Director
Figurenotes is by far the best thing for pupils with additional support needs
Karl Macrae – Let’s Mac Music
Figurenotes is giving us the opportunity to involve all children in music
Annona Thornton – Music Teacher
Figurenotes has broken down a huge barrier for me to enable teaching and learning to progress
Primary Teacher – Wemyss Bay Primary School
Figurenotes is giving us the opportunity to involve all children in music
Annona Thornton – Music Teacher
Colour works a treat and the kids really enjoy it
Catriona Squires
Figurenotes is brilliant!
Margaret Lang – Music Teacher
So easy to use and it is progressive
Hannah Kennedy – Music Teacher