Posted In: Blog

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Making Our Music Library Accessible for People with Print Disabilities

May 21, 2024 - By 
A collage of images showing a music score, a pair of hands reading braille and a group of people dacing to music being played on their headphones.

At ChoirCommunity, one of our guiding principles has always been to make the highest quality choral music affordable and accessible to as many choirs as possible. It was therefore a great pleasure to be invited by one of our customers, Daisy Higman, to the Accessible Music Publishing Action Group earlier this year.

This group has been set up by the international DAISY Consortium, which is the home of tools, standards, advice and best practices to ensure that people with print disabilities can access media of all types, and RNIB, the Royal National Institute of Blind People.

The Accessible Music Publishing Action Group focuses on supporting music publishers, engravers, composers, and anyone creating music scores, to ensure that they create those scores in a way which is accessible for blind and other print-disabled musicians to quickly and effectively read the music in their preferred reading format, whether that is braille, modified stave notation, or digitally in notation tools and dedicated apps.

At ChoirCommunity, we realised that we were already a long way down the path of being able to offer this from our website since all our music scores are in a digital format which could be converted to one which is compatible with the reading and converter tools mentioned above.

Thanks to one of our team, Tim Allen who is something of an expert in music engraving, as well as the MusicXML format which is the basis for creating accessible scores, we worked with the DAISY Consortium to ensure that we could create sheet music files which conformed with the best practice standards which have been set.

As a result, we are now in a position to launch our accessible music offering! The way it will work is as follows:

  • If you or a member of your choir needs any of our scores to be in an accessible music format, please contact us with your request by email at: hello@choircommunity.net
  • To set you up as a member of the accessible music choir community, we just need you to complete an application form to confirm that you meet the eligibility criteria. We’ll be happy to talk with you about your requirements when you contact us.
  • Once your application has been approved by ChoirCommunity, whenever you purchase a sheet music title from us, you will also receive the sheet music in MusicXML format, fully compatible with accessible digital tools such as braille music converters and notation tools. We will also be able to send you backdated files for music purchased before joining the service upon request.

If you are interested in registering for this, or would simply like to discuss this further with us, please get in touch at: hello@choircommunity.net


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Frankie Armstrong – The Godmother of the Community Singing Movement

March 31, 2024 - By 

We have loved hearing stories of your choirs, how you came together, what was the spark that ignited the flame right at the beginning, and how things have developed since then. There are almost as many different stories as there are choirs, and this is one of the fascinating things about this recent explosion of Community Choirs in particular.

I was chatting to Gitika Partington, my fellow ChoirCommunity pal, who has been running choirs long before I started in the early 2000s. I asked her where she originally got her spark from and her answer was instantaneous, “Oh that would be Frankie Armstrong – she ran a workshop in the early 90s and she set me on the path.”  So I had to discover more about this amazing woman.

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Make Music on Make Music Day

March 7, 2024 - By 

Ever since its inception in France in 1982, people all over the world have been dedicating one day each year to the simple joy of making music, with no barriers to anyone wanting to play and enjoy live performance.

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First Impressions Count

March 6, 2024 - By 

MakingMusic.org have been a hugely positive and supportive partner of ChoirCommunity, even from the early days when we had very little in terms of content or members!  As a corporate partner of MakingMusic, we also offer a 15% discount to all MakingMusic members across our entire library of arrangements.

We also think they have a great deal to offer community choirs so we are delighted to highlight one of their latest services – the Making Music Platform.

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A New Partnership with Umoya Creations

February 12, 2024 - By 

If you were already a member of ChoirCommunity in May last year, you probably received an e-shot from us with news about a project we were working on to investigate the true provenance of the many of the unattributed songs which we have arranged and published from the African continent.

We have continued to work on this with Umoya Creations, a South-African charity set up to bring healing, education and reconciliation to people affected by Apartheid, set up and run by the International Percussionist, Composer and Workshop Leader, Eugene Skeef.

It has been a fascinating journey of discovery and we are very excited to announce the partnership with Umoya Creations which has come out of the work.  Firstly though, a little bit of background…

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Delivering a Better Browsing Experience

June 24, 2021 - By 
A screen capture of the new browse page design

We’re constantly looking to find new ways to make the website better and easier to use, especially when it comes to search for the right piece of music!  One of the things which has held us back is the way in which all the classification data – things like genre, voicing, difficulty level, accompaniment, choir type, etc.  – have been grouped together as ‘categories’ or ‘tags’.

Well, this has now all changed, along with a brand new design for all the pages on the website where our arrangements are listed.  Now you can filter any list by any of these categories independently, while also typing more specific search terms to find exactly what you want.

We hope you find the new page design easy to use and more importantly, enables you to find the best arrangements for your choir quickly and easily.

All the product pages still have the ability to preview the full scores, as well as listen to an excerpt of the ensemble learning track for every arrangement (well, nearly every one – we’re working on that!).  All our learning tracks are all properly sung and recorded in high-quality audio as well to make the browsing experience as enjoyable and useful as possible.

Try out the new full catalogue search page here.

We hope you like the changes – please let us know by replying on this post, or emailing us directly at hello@choircommunity.net

 


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New Homepage Redesign

August 20, 2018 - By 

It is apparently ‘industry best practice’ to regularly refresh and update your website.  Something about search engine optimisation, click through rates and other important-sounding phrases.  We don’t know much about that, but we thought that there were some improvements we could introduce to make the browsing experience on ChoirCommunity a bit easier and to introduce some of the new elements we have been working on.

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Christmas with a Community Choir

December 15, 2017 - By 

There’s something very special about a community choir Christmas concert.

There’s always a wealth of material to use with carols old and new, loads of great Christmas pop songs, some classical gems that have a christmassy feel, and our normal repertoire.

On Saturday 2 December, I led the Milton Keynes Community Choir in their Christmas concert, and fantastic fun it was too.

We always have local guest musicians to fill out the programme and provide variety. Plus there’s the annual raffle with some big hampers as prizes and the prospect of raising a decent amount for a local charity.

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A Pre-Launch Get Together For The Team

December 3, 2017 - By 

The start of December saw the ChoirCommunity team meet up at the MAC in Birmingham for a pre-launch meeting.

As a geographically dispersed group of people, it was the first time that some of us had met in person so it was great to get together and make final plans for the ‘Go Live’.

The good news is that everything is on track to launch ChoirCommunity on 1st January.

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First Batch of Arrangements Approved

November 19, 2017 - By 

Preparations for the launch of ChoirCommunity are starting to ramp up.

This month, we got our first batch of approvals for licensed arrangements. Our licensing partners, Thirty-Two Music, have been working hard all year to obtain the publishing rights for our chosen launch list and their work is starting to bear fruit.

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