Tag Archives: Royal Academy of Music

Westminster Music Library – a fresher approach

Despite September’s impressive attempts to imitate our August heat wave, summer is finally over. Autumn has rolled in and schools and universities have resumed business as usual.

Autumn from the Four Seasons by Vivaldi, at Westminster Music LibraryHere at Westminster Music Library, however, we do not resent the end of summer. The beginning of the school year brings with it thousands of students, and many of them musicians. Did you know that there are five specialist music conservatoires in London alone? Even conservatively estimating an intake of 100 per college per year, that’s 500 new music students in the Greater London area each year – all of whom could benefit from our wonderful collection at Westminster Music Library.

We are proud to have one of the finest public music collections in the country, and are keen to share it with as many musicians as possible. But how does one reach all of these newly-settled musicians? This is where we are immensely thankful for Freshers’ Fairs. Conservatoires’ Student Unions do a fantastic job arranging these each year for new students to discover what services they could benefit from during their time in London. I was fortunate enough to get to two of these Fairs this year, and meet hundreds of students in the process.

View from the Westminster Music Library stall at the Royal Academy of Music’s Freshers' Fair 2016

I first attended Royal Academy of Music’s Fair, in their very grand concert hall. Over an intense two hours, students flooded in. The amount of foot traffic was amazing and our stall was always surrounded. Fortunately, I was sharing a table with my colleague Barry, who was representing RAM’s local public library, Marylebone Library and Information Service. Between us we were able to keep up with the interest in our stall! A large number of students signed up for memberships after learning about our wide selection of stock and generous loan allowances. Being music students, many were particularly interested in our rehearsal space with piano. Here I also met our friends from Barbican Music Library, with whom I would be sharing a table at our next Fair. By the end of the Fair Barry and I were exhausted but satisfied with the interest shown.

Barry from Marylebone Library at the Royal Academy of Music’s Freshers' Fair 2016

After a few days I was out on the road again, carrying with me our same sheet music samples, fliers, membership forms, and, most importantly, free chocolates to entice hungry students. I was slightly concerned that my poor little folding bicycle would collapse under the strain on the way to Guildhall School of Music and Drama! Guildhall’s Fair was in their downstairs Theatre, a huge underground space. The size of the space allowed many more stallholders to be present, and I particularly enjoyed seeing my friends from Paxman Musical Instruments Ltd., who sold me my own instrument many years ago. Other stallholders ranged from the local police force to the Royal British Legion, and even a stall selling second-hand bicycles to new students. (Fortunately my bike had survived the journey and I didn’t need to replace it!). The Guildhall Fair was spread over five hours, and the stream of students was thinned out compared to RAM’s. Over the afternoon I was able to engage many interested musicians in conversations about their musical needs and how we can help them at the Library. Once again we had a great success, handing out many shiny new membership cards. Jacky, representing Barbican Music Library, was a wonderful table partner. The students could hardly believe it when they discovered that there were two specialist music libraries in London!

 Jacky from Barbican Music Library at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama's Freshers' Fair 2016

We are thankful to these two conservatoires for hosting us, and look forward to meeting more students in years to come.

If you’re a student new to London, whether or not we visited your institution we’d love to see you – come in and find out what we have to offer!



Spreading the word (and the music)

Music resourcesAt the beginning of each academic year, Westminster Music Library teams up with the Barbican Music Library to promote our library services to students at music colleges across London, registering new members and inviting them to come and explore the wealth of resources we have on offer.

During September, I attended a total of four Freshers’ Fairs on behalf of Westminster Libraries; at the Royal College of Music, Royal Academy of Music, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and Goldsmiths College, University of London.

Sharing a table with Barbican Music Library at the Royal College of Music - signing up a new recruit for Westminster, September 2015

Sharing a table with Barbican Music Library at the Royal College of Music – signing up a new recruit for Westminster, September 2015

As with previous years, I was lucky enough to be joined at the Royal Academy of Music by Learning Support Librarian Barry Tsirtou, sharing an exclusive ‘Westminster’ table for the Music Library and Marylebone Library. This was a great way of promoting the full range of Westminster Libraries’ resources to new students, and having an extra pair of hands to register new members proved to be a huge bonus.

Many students were very keen to join but a few took a little more persuading, and by the end of each Fair I had all but lost my voice from describing the vast wealth of services we have to offer. The long queues at the Royal Academy of Music had Barry and I talking non-stop for most of the Fair!

Many of the students’ faces lit up when they heard that membership was free of charge but it was the range of scores available at Westminster Music Library and CDs at branches including Marylebone that really grabbed their attention. One Fresher was particularly surprised and excited to hear that we had a variety of scores for the composer Henri Dutilleux; although widely considered one of the greatest modern French composers of his day, there are precious few freely accessible collections that can boast the range of his works held in Westminster Music Library.

Barry and I were keen to promote our plethora of 24/7 online resources particularly those that cover the performing arts such as Naxos and Oxford Music Online (log in to these and others with your Westminster library card number), alongside the advantages of access to library services across Westminster, Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington & Chelsea. These extra benefits also scored a big hit!

Almost 150 students registered to join Westminster Libraries during the Fairs with many more showing an interest, making this year a resounding success. Those who registered were issued with their membership cards on the day; we look forward to welcoming them to our libraries and helping them to make the most of our excellent resources.


A breath of fresh-er

I have to confess that I didn’t have very high expectations of the planned Marylebone Library outreach visit to the Royal Academy of Music for their Freshers’ Week – how very, very wrong I was! At times it felt like we were under siege – in a good way, of course – and we joined up nearly 50 enthusiastic students within our two hour window.

Marylebone Library display

My colleagues Mulgeta and Anthony were great support and David’s excellent display helped to lure them in. Once we had their attention, the students were impressed that they could use one library card for three library boroughs and although the Royal Academy has a well stocked library, they were pleased to learn of our award-winning collections at Westminster Music Library, as well as the online music resources on offer. We will definitely being paying them another visit this time next year!