ExploreMusic provides community access to music technology

Opinion
The Sage Gateshead, and the river Tyne
The Sage Gateshead, and the river Tyne

I was delighted last week to receive an email from Tom Hyland, the manager of ExploreMusic, Gateshead Council’s music library and information service, based in the striking landmark building The Sage Gateshead, which was designed by Lord Norman Foster.

Tom told me about the wonderful service that Gateshead Council provides to the local community through the ExploreMusic programme. “A major part of our service is the fact that we currently have nearly 20 computers,” he says, “which in addition to offering free Internet access to library members also provide access to a range of specialist music software, including Sibelius.”

For members of the public to be able to get information about music and have access to composition and notation software like Sibelius in their local library is remarkable enough, but ExploreMusic doesn’t stop there.

“We don’t merely provide access to the software,” says Tom. “Our specialised staff also offer a range of training options, including one-to-one tuition, group sessions for students, four-week and weekend courses, and tutorial handouts. In the five years we have been open we have trained over 300 people how to use Sibelius, and it is the only notation program we recommend.”

If you happen to live in the Gateshead area and would be interested in receiving Sibelius training from the ExploreMusic staff, take a look at their web site. If you’d like to download some of their training materials for your own use, they’re freely available to all, whether or not you live in Gateshead: see here.

If you know about any similar community projects that provide access to software like Sibelius, get in touch!

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