Library and Information Services, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Monday, 29 December 2014

Do You Research Scottish Music? Here's the Musica Scotica 2015 CFP!

Musica Scotica - Tenth Annual Conference

Sat 25th – Sun 26th April 2015

St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art
2 Castle Street, Glasgow G4 0RH

Call for Papers
Papers, 20 minutes in length, are invited on any aspect of Scottish music. Topics presented in previous years have included chant, Gaelic song, fiddle and bagpipe music, manuscript sources, music publishing, the Scottish diaspora, opera performance, cultural organisations, music education, sectarianism, George Thomson and Haydn, Marjory Kennedy-Fraser, Learmont Drysdale, Hamish MacCunn, James MacMillan and Sally Beamish.

There will additionally be a special session dedicated to papers relating to the history of the McEwen Memorial Concerts of Scottish Chamber Music:-

McEwen Paper Session

We invite submissions for a paper session featuring topics that in some way relate to the history of the McEwen Memorial Concerts of Scottish Chamber Music. The McEwen Commission has supported the commissioning and performance of contemporary art music in Scotland since 1955. A commission is awarded annually to a composer of Scottish birth, descent or residency. Early recipients of the commission include Ian Whyte, Cedric Thorpe Davie, Robert Crawford, and Thea Musgrave. More recently, works have been commissioned from John Maxwell Geddes, James MacMillan, Judith Weir, and David Fennessy. The McEwen bequest has yielded a substantial body of chamber pieces since the first award in 1955, and this collection continues to grow. A list of previously commissioned pieces dating back to 1955, as well as further information about the concerts can be found at
We are interested in papers that in some way relate to the history of the McEwen Chamber Music concerts. Papers may focus either on specific pieces that were commissioned, or on the work more generally of composers who have befitted from the McEwen Bequest over the years. Most importantly, we are interested in papers that aim to stimulate interest in and discussion around contemporary music in Scotland.
Please submit an abstract (250 words) as a Word document or rtf file by Saturday 28th February 2015 (specifying if you wish specifically to give a paper for the McEwen session), to:-
Dr Karen McAulay

You will be notified by mid-March 2015 if your abstract has been accepted.

A poster session may be included; delegates are invited to indicate whether they would be interested in availing themselves of this opportunity.

Proposed conference fees 

  • Full rate £40 for single day attendance, £75 for two day attendance,
  • Students and unwaged £30 for single day, £55 for two day attendance, 
  • £15 as the default half-day without lunch, for any category of delegate.
The registration form will be available in due course on the MusicaScotica website.
Publication of proceedings

Musica Scotica will publish papers from this conference along with a selection of papers from previous conferences.

The Library's Shut! How Will You Manage?

Staff and students at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland will know that the building's closed until next Monday, 5th January.  

Assignments or presentations pending? What will you do?!

The Whittaker Library subscribes to loads of online information via the web. Visit our Library and IT website, or you'll find everything via Moodle and Mahara, if you prefer that route.  Any of the resources we subscribe to will require you to login first.  That usually means picking Royal Conservatoire of Scotland from a list of universities and colleges,then entering your usual RCS login.  (Naxos is different - you'll have been given the login details.)

Whittaker Library and IT website - click HERE.  Scroll down and pick Electronic Resources, or E-Journals.

We also have E-books - they're in the catalogue like any other book.  Here's the RCS Catalogue link:-

We look forward to seeing our students and colleagues in the New Year.  Happy Hogmanay, everyone!

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Of Course, You Love Giving Presentations?! Try This ...

Everyone knows of PowerPoint.  Good old dependable PowerPoint, with a reasonable array of different formats and applications.  But have you ever wished you could try using something different?

Perhaps you've already turned to Prezi?  Many people love it.  Used well, it's great.  Used badly, the audience can end up feeling dizzy as you whizz across the screen, in and out of bubbles, generally mimicking a mosquito on speed.  It's not for everyone!

Our professional association, CILIP, featured a new kid on the block, recently: PowToon. Karen explored it briefly last week, and decided it might make a useful alternative for presentations that aren't trying too hard to be serious and scholarly.  This is just a first impression, and maybe a little unfair, since she didn't look at all the templates PowToon had to offer.  Still, it was easy enough to use, and you can share your finished presentation by hyperlink or email.  We haven't yet tried to see if a PowToon presentation can also be saved to USB stick, so that's something we'll need to find out about and report back on.

Why not visit the website and experiment with the free basic sign-up?

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.