On a sunny Friday afternoon, Kate and I set off from Cambridge for College Court, Leicester for the IAML Annual Study Weekend. It was a great chance to meet other colleagues working in music libraries and to put some faces to names. After settling in to our rooms in College Court – a purpose built conference centre for the University of Leicester – we headed to the meeting rooms to hear firstly about orchestral & hire libraries and then about a BL Discovering Music exhibition.
Interesting to learn that the hire of a work/parts does not convey rights of performance with choreography, costumes etc. This is aimed at preventing hirers from performing extracts (staged) without getting a licence from the Performing Rights Society. A fascinating talk by Georgina Govier, Head of Music Library, Welsh National Opera, described what her job entails, including coming to the rescue with lost parts for last-minute panicking conductors and negotiating performance rights and licence fees.
Saturday morning started bright and early with news and updates before a talk from local musician and teacher Viram Jasami of the Asian Music Circuit gave us an insight into the relevance of South Asian Music in the 21st century.
A look at Cecilia and other IAML databases followed, with attendees being encouraged to promote these to their students, before a coffee break with cake to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Cecilia database. Cake featured quite highly throughout the weekend, it has to be said!
Lauren Smyth of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library discussed the project to make folk songs findable, using digitisation projects and tools to aid discovery. Their “Take 6” pilot project of digitising six of their own items and then taking them on outreach projects was a successful idea, which led to them being able to bid for more funds for “The Full English” project.
A useful session by Peter Linnitt of the Royal College of Music Library investigated digital sheet music options of libraries, which looked at what is commercially available, what is (or is not) affordable and what sort of licencing arrangements are being looked at for libraries and institutions. Ultimately, our library users want the widest range of decent scores available digitally and not have to rely solely on IMSLP which has out of copyright (and therefore older) scores.
An afternoon session offered a practical insight into South Asian Music with Viram Jasami, with lots of participation and was very much enjoyed by the attendees. Taking "God Rest ye Merry Gentlemen" as a tune that everyone would know, he then split it up into sections to sing as a Raag with drone accompaniment - the braver souls attempted to then sing it!
Saturday evening we attended a reception hosted by Cramer Music followed by the conference dinner which was delicious. Lots of networking in the bar followed late into the evening…
Sunday morning saw us back in the meeting rooms after a hearty breakfast for more news and updates. Charles Inskip, Department of Information Studies, University College London was the next speaker, talking about the challenges of attracting new graduate trainees into Music Librarianship. He encouraged the audience to offer their services to local institutions teaching librarianship, by giving talks, career sessions to encourage students.
Finally - the last word goes to the Easter "Pick-n-Mix" - thanks College Court!
Helen Snelling & Kate Crane - Pendlebury Library of Music (IAML Education Committee) / University Library Music Department, Cambridge.
Previously published on MusiCB3, the blog of Cambridge University Library Music Collections.