'Dream come true' as online Scottish music education guidebook launches for learners, teachers and parents

‘Essential’ website hailed as nation’s first live national map of music-making

A new digital learning resource has been launched to provide expert guidance to people of all ages and stages who want to make music in Scotland.

The We Make Music (WMM) Companion is described as the nation’s first live national map of music-making and music education.

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It is an easy-to-navigate website that guides learners, teachers, parents, carers and active musicians through its search engine, providing access to a broad range of tuition, guidance, local music groups, educational pathways, and online resources.

Image: Royal Conservatoire of ScotlandImage: Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Image: Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

The resource accompanies WMM libraries, which have been successfully piloted in Fife, North Ayrshire, Edinburgh, West Lothian, and the Scottish Borders.

The libraries stock a wide variety of instruments, including guitars, keyboards, ukuleles, violins, trombones, and orchestral instruments, as well as music software and midi keyboards.

The WMM Companion will provide all a learner needs to know to progress on the instrument of their choice, while pointing the way towards local music groups, schools, community projects and venues.

Graeme Smillie, a tutor in popular music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and lecturer in music and music business at UHI Perth, is editor-in-chief of the Companion.

He said: “This resource really fulfils a need for visibility and accessibility towards music education opportunities in Scotland. The process of compiling this Companion has highlighted the wealth of music making in Scotland, but also how important it is to be grown, preserved, developed, and supported.

"This is just the first step, laying the groundwork in making all of this work visible for learners and educators. But next it feels important for Government and policy makers to be able to see how rich the Scottish music education ecology is, how integral it is to generating a truly diverse and grounded cultural landscape, and how important it is that it is properly supported and funded.”

We Make Music Scotland is the banner adopted by the Music Education Partnership Group (MEPG), an independent charity advocating for accessible and high-quality music education in all its forms.

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Cat Major, who created the Companion’s user-friendly interface, said: “The joy of learning and making music should be accessible to everyone. Every music learner has different goals and needs, and we hope the Companion helps people find the opportunities that are right for them.

"It’s been fantastic to be part of a project that highlights and celebrates the incredible work happening around Scotland.”

Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said: “The WMM Companion will help musicians of all ages find the best learning opportunities to suit them throughout Scotland. It’s more than a mapping – it’s a celebration of the range of formal and informal learning opportunities that support active participation in the art of music.”

The development of the We Make Music Companion was assisted by an editorial board of music education experts, chaired by MEPG convenor John Wallace CBE. He said: “The WMM Companion is a dream come true. It is the essential guidebook in easily accessible digital form to all that is good in music education.”



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