Library and Information Services, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Friday, 19 December 2014

Why Karen Loves Dundee (It Concerns Scottish Music!)

Read Karen's recent posting, HERE.  (She entered a competition - this is her blog entry!)

Another String to her Bow: EIS Journal Interviews Nicola Benedetti

The December Scottish Educational Journal features an interview with violinist Nicola Benedetti about her work supporting music in schools.

Find it on page 14 of this electronic journal, HERE.

Also visit the BBC Two Ten Pieces Project:-
"Ten Pieces aims to inspire a generation of children to get creative with classical music."
NB There's a free copy of the Ten Pieces film, which is available to primary schools while stocks last. Primary school music teachers can email with "DVD" in the subject line.

Cherubim Music Trust assists Promising Young Musicians

The Whittaker Library has just received a brochure from this relatively new charity, the
Cherubim Music Trust.  Founded in 2001, the Trust assists promising young musicians by providing first-rate instruments to help further their musical development.

Find out about the Cherubim Music Trust HERE.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Want Some Free Scottish Fiddle Music to Download?

Highland Music Trust offers a whole batch of 18th and 19th century Scottish fiddle tune books available to download, free of charge.  

So you're looking for dance tunes?  You couldn't dance your way through this lot in a year!  Happy Hogmanay...

Click HERE.

Guardian Culture Professionals Network Discussing Devised Theatre

Spotted in the Guardian Culture Network this week - this was authored by John Walton and posted on Tuesday 16th December:-

Devised theatre: ten tips for a truly creative collaboration 

"The REF" - What's It All About?

"The REF" is the Research Assessment Framework - it determines the quality and ranking of research in all the UK's universities, conservatoires and art schools.

The results of the 2014 REF came out at 00.01 this morning, Thursday 18th December.  Since the last rating and ranking exercise was in 2008, it's a very big deal indeed.  If you hear people talking about it, you'll understand why they're so animated.  

What it means to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland - click HERE.

Institutions are assessed on output, impact, and overall.  "GPA" means Grade Point Average.   Here is the link to the REF website:-
And you can also consult Times Higher Education's Table of Excellence, HERE:-

Friday, 12 December 2014

Do You Plan to visit the Whittaker Library During Winter Break?

Winter Break for the Whittaker Library at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

The Whittaker Library will close at 3pm on 23rd December and reopen at 8.45am on 5th January 2015 - the day the building reopens - when we will recommence normal opening hours, evenings included. 

Commencing today (12th December), the library Winter Break opening hours are 9-5 Monday to Friday.  

Additionally, we will only be open until 2.30 pm on Thursday 18th  December and 3 pm on Tuesday 23rd December.

We’re not open on Saturdays until Saturday 10th January, and our next special Sunday opening will be on 11th January 2015.

Selected 2015 Sunday opening hours

11th January 2015
25th January 2015
19th April 2015
3rd May 2015
17th May 2015
12th July 2015
19th July 2015

Opening times do occasionally vary and if you are planning to make a journey to visit us it is advisable to call first.  If you're a student or member of staff at the Conservatoire, we have lots of web resources that you can use all year round.  Visit our library website HERE.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

World War I Resources from the International Association of Music Libraries

Seeking Material about the First World War?

 Our professional association has helpfully compiled a list of useful resources about the First World War.  If you're planning a performance on this theme, maybe these might be helpful:-

"World War I began 100 years ago. On the IAML website there is a collection of online resources relating to music and the war, with a focus on resources that have just become available this year:
"Do you know of digital collections relating to World War I that you would like to see on this list"  [Please let your music librarian know, and the knowledge can be pooled!]
See the posting on IAML website:

Monday, 8 December 2014

Reflective Practice and Learning Journals: If you Do what you've always Done, you'll Get what you've always Got!

Group or Seminar Presentation Coming Up?

Many staff and students at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland have embraced the concept of  reflective practice - reflecting upon your creative practice, and allowing your reflections to inform future practice.  If you have to do a group presentation or seminar about a particular project or placement, maybe it's time for a bit of reflection and inner contemplation before you work out what to say?

If you check the Whittaker Library catalogue, you'll find various books and examples of learning journals.  Here are some useful keywords to search under!  (Don't miss our Learning Journals e-book, perfect for home study over the Christmas break when you tire of turkey and chocolates!!)

You could also try our Ingenta Connect database, to find useful articles that other people have written about reflective practice journals.

Here's the link:- Ingenta Connect - and you might start by searching Reflective Journal as your keywords.  Feel free to experiment!  (NB if you're off-campus, you'll need to login.  Find the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland - RCS staff and students can login once you've clicked on the Conservatoire's link.)

"If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got!" - it's one of Karen's favourite quotes.  So go on - reflect!

Thursday, 4 December 2014

What's in a Name? That which we call a Rose (Electronic Resource, E-Resource, Online Resource) ...

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet. *

In library-speak, electronic resources are all the databases, online music streaming, electronic journals, encyclopedias and so on that we subscribe to on your behalf.  We tend to talk glibly about electronic resources, assuming everyone knows what we mean, but maybe we're wrong to assume that!

You may have your own Spotify subscription.  We have Naxos and the Alexander Street Press Classical Music Library.

You may subscribe to one or two magazines.  We have online access to hundreds!

We also have online indexes to tell you where you can find journal articles on music, drama or stage subjects, and we have Oxford Music Online, which is the world's greatest music encyclopedia.

Nearly all these online resources are accessible from anywhere with internet access, either in the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland or beyond it.  (There are one or two exceptions.  IPA Source, the phonetics database for opera pronunciations etc, is only for use on site, because it's tied to our computer network IP addresses.)

Anyway, we call all these things, "electronic resources", or "e-resources."  Maybe "online resources" would be easier to remember? 

* Romeo and Juliet soliloquy

Monday, 1 December 2014

Do Your Study Skills Need Polishing?!

We found a useful website called Get Better Grades Now.  If essays and assignments are getting on top of you, you might lessen the stress by working out where things are going right, and where things could be improved.

For a start, this blog author reminds us to "chunk it down". A clumsy expression, but it basically means breaking down assignments into bite-sized "chunks".  Start small, work out the steps you need to take to complete that assignment, then decide which step has to come first.

  • NB  The Whittaker Library at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland has books on study skills (click HERE), as well as the usual books on music, dance, drama, film and TV.  Ask us!

Manic Monday Assignment Crisis?

When you're up against deadlines, it's easy to panic.  But don't forget, the Whittaker Library has loads of materials to help you.  As well as the books on the shelves (ask for help if you can't find what you need), we have lots of online materials too.  If you're off-campus, it's good to know there's material you can still access. 
Find them on our Electronic Resources pages on the Library website or via Moodle.  Off-campus, you'll need to login, generally by picking RCS from a list of institutions then using your usual RCS login.
  • JSTOR has literally thousands of articles about every aspect of music under the sun.
  • RILM is another music resource - it has abstracts (summaries) of articles, books and more.
  • Oxford Music Online is the world's best music encyclopedia.
  • Naxos, one of our streaming services, is a bit like Spotify.  An added extra is the ability to access cover notes, giving programme notes for any piece of music on the website.  RCS students should ask us if they need the off-campus login - it's not the general RCS one.
We also have a page for Electronic Journals, which might be helpful to you.

Last but not least, some textbooks are available as e-books as well as paper copies.  They're just in the catalogue like any book, but there's a hyperlink for e-book access.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Professor John Butt Plays Bach's 48 Preludes and Fugues

When we got word that John Butt, Music Professor at the University of Glasgow, had released a new CD set of Bach's forty-eight preludes and fugues, it seemed only right that we should get it for the Whittaker Library.  John Butt is an eminent Bach scholar and performer.

So here is the CD, ready for borrowing! DETAILS

Who has the Copyright When You Don't Know Who Wrote It?

There's new UK copyright legislation that takes care of 'orphan works' - publications where you don't know the author or composer.

IAML (UK and Ireland)* has posted useful information on their website about this.  Read it HERE.

'29 October 2014 saw the implementation of legislation to facilitate the use of orphan works in the UK. An orphan work is defined as a copyright work or performance for which one or more of the rights holders either cannot be identified or cannot be located, thus making it impossible to seek permission for use of the work.
Use of orphan works is now permitted under two different routes: the implementation of the EU Directive 2012/28/EU, or under the UK Licensing Scheme.' Read more HERE.

*IAML is the International Association of Music Libraries.  We're in the UK and Ireland branch.

Black Friday? Library Help with History Essays and Band Arrangements

Black Friday?

If you have an assignment deadline, this isn't just black Friday - the whole weekend is spoken for!  This weekend, we have students writing essays about Ives, Handel and Purcell. Meanwhile our Scottish Music degree students are working on their scores for their bands and ensembles.

Can the Library help?  We believe we can!

Here at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, we have plenty of online information.  

Studying Ives, Handel or Purcell? 

  • You can find plenty of info on JSTOR. 
  • There's more on Oxford Music Online.  
  • Naxos music streaming service is great for quick info - each recording comes with a pdf of the accompanying booklet.
Working on a band arrangement?
  • The Whittaker Library has books on using music notation software.
  • RILM database has articles about rehearsing with your group once you've written the score!  (search rehearsal, or band practice)
  • See how times have changed.  British Library Sounds lets you hear historic performances - search in the World and Traditional Music section.
  • Searching Scottish music group in SCRAN will also bring a smile!
ALL these useful online sources are available through the Whittaker Library's Electronic Resources web pages.  Or via Moodle (look for the library links under Student Support Services!)

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Learning and Teaching Styles: One Size Does Not Fit All

Here's a post about teaching, which recently came up on the American Vitae blog. If you teach, or you're learning to teach, or you're just learning about your own learning style, take a look at this:-

Author: David Gooblar (Adjunct/Writer/Website Proprietor at -

Blasts from the Past (Archival Recordings)

Early 20th Century Music Interpretation -

You may not have come across - it's a French database of very old sound recordings.  If you're curious how things were first performed, this could provide hours of productive amusement.

Here is Phonobase introducing itself to you:-

Phonobase : gathers sound excerpts and photos taken from early commercial cylinders and records made from 1888 to 1914 approximately, and distributed in France and Europe mainly.
It contains also amateur and private recordings made during the same period on wax cylinders.
Photos and audio tracks are watermarked. Complete unmarked audio and photos are available upon request for broadcasting or publishing purposes.