Good music teaching demands quality resources. To teach effectively we need the right tools. This is just as important when considering music technology as it is when choosing reliable orchestral instruments. Away from the traditional classroom, recording studios and multimedia performance areas offer extra learning opportunities. It is vital when making a purchase that you receive the very best advice and service.
Whatever you need, we have a range of services and solutions that will help your pupils achieve their full potential.
View and download our Music and the creative arts brochure
Consultancy and design
We have many years’ experience in planning and developing creative facilities for schools and colleges. We will work closely with you to arrive at the best solution, ensuring that any project is implemented efficiently, on time, and on budget.
Installation and training
Our team looks after every aspect of the job, working closely with consulting engineers and building contractors to make sure that you are delivered the quality facilities you expect. Follow-up bespoke training means that you will get the best out of your new equipment.
Instruments and Equipment
As one of the UK’s biggest music retailers we enjoy unrivalled purchasing power with all major instrument and equipment manufacturers. We can then offer the best prices to our customers. We can supply everything you need for teaching music and other creative arts.
Consultation and design
Our team, under the leadership of William Thompson, our Director of Education, provides consultation and design advice to schools.
Many schools around the world have benefitted from William's considerable expertise and experience, on every step of the journey from aspiration to implementation. We work with architects, consulting engineers and other professionals, along with school staff. We ensure that the result is affordable, appropriate, relevant, and future-proofed.
We have been providing advice and support to music teachers for over 30 years, during which time changes in the exam system has led to a rethink of the role of creativity in the music curriculum. Music departments no longer teach only notation, aural, recorder and singing. Pupils can express their creativity through improvisation and composition. This new era in music teaching brought about a need both for better accommodation and new equipment.
We have always provided impartial advice over the years, and this has expanded into other areas of the creative curriculum, not least the introduction of new and exciting technologies. Many schools and school-build companies do not have the required know-how to design spaces suited for creativity.
That is where we come in, providing the missing elements, acting as advocates for both teaching staff and students.
We can bring clarity and focus at the planning stage, continuing to work with the design and construction teams throughout the length of the project, to ensure that areas such as acoustic separation, room relationships and audio connectivity are dealt with appropriately. We offer specialists who have a passion for their subject areas, combined with excellent creative skills and balanced with budgetary awareness and a recognition that the best solution is not necessarily the most complicated or the most expensive.
“William Thompson has been most helpful in designing the Music Technology Rooms in our new Music School. Having been a Director of Music, William knows how the technology can and should be used by a forward-thinking Music Department and as a result his frank advice during the early stages of our project was most welcome. He has shown us how we can make best use of the budget and technology available.” Peter Farrelly - Newton Prep, London
Installation and Training
For schools to get the best out of their equipment, we provide structured, comprehensive, and tailored training on every aspect of the equipment we install. Teachers can opt to stagger aspects of their training to match their own progression through using the new facilities: our staff can return after a number of weeks or months to answer any questions which have arisen in the interim, and to help staff move on to the next level. We can also provide ongoing support for teachers via phone, email, or a remote online session.
“From my first contact … I was confident that they would be able to provide my department with the technology solution we needed. The iMacs are totally reliable, unobtrusive in the classroom and intuitive to use. The children are able to achieve a great deal musically and really enjoy using the computers. I am able to spend my time teaching rather than trying to deal with ICT problems. The installation, training and ongoing support offered … have been superb.” Kate Davies - Edgeborough Preparatory School
It is vital that details agreed at the design stage are effectively implemented during construction. Excellence at this stage will preserve the integrity of the complete project.
We understand the challenges faced in achieving the best outcome for any new build or refurbishment project. We have worked with construction companies who, like us, aimed to provide the very highest standards to our shared clients. Sadly, we occasionally encounter those whose lack of vision has threatened to compromise the whole scheme. No matter what challenges we have faced, our staff always act as advocates for the school throughout the project, ensuring the best outcomes for the school and its future student population.
We offer comprehensive installation services, working in tandem with industry-leading companies to provide the highest quality at every stage. We install stage lighting, theatre sound systems and digital studio wiring; music ICT suites, school radio stations and Apple server systems; mobile and fixed staging, bespoke keyboard and computer furniture and television green screens. In short, anything related to the effective teaching of the creative curriculum.
Music ICT step-by-step
We have considerable experience in the development of music ICT facilities in schools around the world. Whether based around PCs, Apple computers or tablets, we can help you find the best solution to provide a relevant music curriculum using ICT.
Our experience means we will design the perfect ICT system for your music department. Our education advisors use the software and hardware that we recommend, so you can be confident that what we suggest will meet your needs. We interact with your consulting engineers and architect to ensure that the building infrastructure supports the music department’s vision.
We pre-install as many of your software packages as possible onto your new computers so that when you receive them you are ready to teach. With all software pre-configured and drivers for your hardware installed, you can focus on the teaching rather than being distracted by the technology. Multiple licences for Sibelius can either be pre-installed or deployed from any new network server.
Where multiple Apple computers are being considered, an Apple server seamlessly joins any new computers to the school’s existing Active Directory. This can be a challenge for any school without expertise or experience in Mac OS X integration. We will configure the server to your school’s specifications and create or migrate usernames and managed preferences.
Any music ICT suite usually consists of computers (often with an associated server), ancillary devices (keyboards, audio interfaces), network cabling and switches, and dedicated bespoke furniture that allows effective use of music and computer equipment together. We will ensure that everything is set up correctly, and that it is left tidy, easy to maintain and ready for use.
Our tailored training ensures that you can operate and teach effectively using your software and hardware packages. We deliver training that provides a comprehensive overview of your software. We ensure that you understand how your new suite is put together and can train you on its relevant use in the music curriculum. We also provide training for your ICT technicians on any server software we have installed.
Music departments often need support - whether it is general advice or help after a system problem. We offer a remote support package which provides fast and reliable solutions. Almost all queries or problems can be resolved using remote support, taking the waiting time and any potential additional costs out of the equation.
More and more schools are recognising the benefits of the creative curriculum for all their pupils. No longer restricted to a few talented musicians, the use of creative technologies is now enhancing the learning of many more students, through school radio stations, television and drama studios and spaces where sound and video equipment are incorporated into school performances.
Modern digital audio recording facilities provide not only the requirements for many aspects of the music curriculum, they also become places where informal creativity can be nurtured. Children love the excitement of taking home an audio recording of something they have created or performed.
A school Radio Station allows students to express their views, engage in lively debates and explore their creativity whilst simultaneously developing their speaking and listening skills. We install bespoke Radio Stations that suit the size and age range of any school population, with optional interview and editing facilities which can mesh seamlessly with the school’s audio network.
Having a school TV studio puts the power of video into your students’ hands and helps them to develop employable media skills using professional equipment. Extended learning takes place when video is incorporated as part of the everyday curriculum. Everyone benefits from sharing the ethos and vision of the school through the students’ eyes, showcasing professionally created content of sports matches, school productions and special events to the school and the local community.
Drama (and Dance) studios require careful planning because of the mix of requirements: space, lighting, sound, even audience seating. Flooring and acoustic treatment are also areas which need consideration. We ensure you end up with a creative space which can be used for a multitude of different activities, from drama rehearsals to art exhibitions, dance performances to master classes.
All schools require effective performance spaces, and to ensure that all performers are heard clearly, a good sound system is a prerequisite. Whatever the occasion, clarity of sound and ease of operation are essential. We can also design and install projection equipment and surround-sound AV systems to transform your school hall into a top-quality cinema!