25 June 2013

Charity appeal to local businesses in Exeter

Honeyland’s Music Therapy Unit is our Charity of the Year 2013. Music therapy provides a much needed therapy for children who have difficulties with communication and interaction skills.  It helps children to explore their emotions in a non-verbal way without the need for speech. Music therapy, carried out by a specialist registered music therapist is an established part of the multidisciplinary team at Honeylands Specialist Child Assessment Centre. It is solely reliant on charitable funding so the 80 children that benefit from this therapy each year at Honeylands would not be able to carry on without charitable help.

In a push to raise these funds, Paritor are having an Open House Lunch on Friday 26th July between 12pm and 2pm. The event will provide local business people with a delicious hot lunch, cupcakes, raffle, and drinks; as well we will also be providing entertainment in form of a dance troop/Devon Youth Jazz Orchestra.

We are appealing to local businesses to donate much needed prizes for the raffle. If any local businesses feel that they could help please contact Les Christiansen from Honeylands Children’s Charity email: les.christiansen@btinternet.com or  Jodie from Paritor on 01395 445092 or via email:  Jodie@partior.co.uk

19 June 2013

Sign up now for 6 Months FREE data hosting

With more and more pressure for businesses to move to the cloud we understand that it can be a daunting task. Paritor are making it simple for you by offering 6 MONTHS FREE DATA HOSTING if you sign up before 30th June 2013. Your data will be hosted in a highly secure environment, consistently backed up as well as having the advantage of being accessible anywhere AND with over 50% of our customers now opting to use data hosting isn't it about time you found out more?

Just give us a call on 01395 445092 or email sales@paritor.co.uk and take advantage of this amazing offer!!!

17 June 2013

Guest Blog: Matthew James, Software Developer - Windows Explorer, navigation tips & tricks

The guide below is intended for use with Windows 7, but much of the advice is applicable to other versions of Windows.

In a standard office environment you probably spend a fair amount of time with this useful tool, but this guide will hopefully show you a few additional ways to improve your Windows experience, followed by discussion of a practical example.

Let’s start by opening Windows Explorer. You can access this feature by selecting the Start icon in the lower left of your main screen, followed by ‘Computer’. If this is not already pinned to your task bar you should right-click this option and select ‘pin this program to taskbar’.

The Explorer is split into 2 main areas, the window area, which will display everything on your current level and the shortcut bar to the left which allows for quick navigation to commonly accessed areas of your system.

The window area will display folders that you can double-click on to navigate through the file system or files, which you can double-click to open. However, you can get a lot more options by right-clicking on these objects. For example, you can create a compressed version of your file by right-clicking and going to Send to -> Compressed folder or rapidly send an email by going to Send to -> Mail recipient. I recommend you take the time to test these different options to see which will be helpful to you.

Your shortcut bar will typically have a ‘Favourites’ section, which should include your Desktop and Downloads folders. If you select the Recent Places folder this will display the latest folders that you have entered, allowing you to rapidly navigate to one of these locations. In addition you will have instant access to your media libraries, the drive(s) on your computer and any networked computers that will allow you to access them.

If you find yourself regularly going to the same folder you can create your own shortcut, this will allow you to instantly travel to this location from Windows Explorer. Drag this folder to Favourites in the shortcut bar and it should be there ready for you to use.

Let’s consider a scenario often encountered by our users. Imagine you have customised a report and you need to place the template into your ‘CustomReports’ folder. The first step would be to open Ensemble and go to Tools (top menu) -> Parameters -> Configuration Settings -> Settings -> Shared Location. Select the file on your desktop and click the file, then use the keyboard shortcut (Ctrl + C) to copy the file. You can now open windows explorer and navigate to this location and within the CustomReports folder press Ctrl + V to paste the file. You have now successfully copied a file from your desktop into the appropriate location within the Shared Location. To keep this shortcut for future reference you should attach it to the shortcut bar as mentioned above.

10 June 2013

Guest Blog: Agnes Abel - Why computer-aided learning has become essential in music education?

Agnes Abel is a flute teacher and orchestral musician besides working with customer support for MusicalEar a unique software for ear training and music theory

Today’s music students have a vast selection of tools at their fingertips to help them advance in their studies. Starting from YouTube videos, where they can watch many different performances of the pieces they are learning, through self-recording tools to record and evaluate their playing, to play-along music files, music-making platforms and software for ear training such as MusicalEar.

You might say that music geniuses in the past have all accomplished lasting achievements without using any of the above listed tools. But is it because they didn’t need them or rather because they were not available? In pre-computer times all what was available to an aspiring young musician was lessons from trustworthy professors and of course - practice. Plus books and recordings for the lucky/more interested ones.

It is perfectly true that even computer-aided learning tools will not replace musical talent but they will indeed support musical talent to unfold and develop.

It is also true that every music student needs one or more influential teachers to guide him/her on the path of music, but computer-aided learning tools are like magnifying lenses: they increase the efficiency of the lessons with a teacher by enabling students to prepare better for the lessons and help them to acquire and deepen the new learning and skills which are introduced in the lesson.

Online tools and software help the work of music teachers as well. If teachers can assign exercises and homework for the students to do on their own, then they can use the lessons more efficiently for work, which needs more active interaction, feedback, guidance and explanations from the teacher.

Besides this, computer-aided learning tools do enforce many useful skills: setting goals, perseverance, self-judgment, autonomy…

The musicians’ world is getting more and more diversified, the new generations of musicians need to be more and more flexible in adapting the necessary skills for their career. The choice of careers open to students with an interest in music is wide: they can not only become orchestral musicians or music teachers, but also studio recording professionals, arts managers, event organizers, music trade business entrepreneurs etc. Computers play a vital role in every profession in our times and using computer-based tools in music education also help students build important computer skills.

Computer-aided learning tools also offers a cost efficient alternative to expensive private lessons. Regular private coaching is inaccessible to many young and not-so-young people who intend to study music. Not only due to the high price of the personal lessons but also due to travel distances/costs, scheduling difficulties. A computer-aided learning tool, such as a well-designed software can be used from anywhere at anytime and will help a user study, practice and develop on his own pace.

Computers and the Internet help us experience new musical influences, which we might otherwise never encounter in the geographical/cultural environment we live in. These might be new musical styles, genres, new concepts, ideas, approaches… In our times music education is also becoming more and more globalized, thanks to which, music students, teachers and musicians can connect with each other from all around the world to share thoughts and best practices. Music students have an unlimited choice of instruments, genres and styles to choose from to find their own musical path. Computer-aided music learning tools create opportunities for music students all around the world to develop their music skills and realize their dreams in an efficient and fun way.

 Agnes Abel, June 2013

Any feedback or comments to the author: agnes.abel@musicalear.se

NMC Music Education Awards 2013

This year Paritor are helping the National Music Council by sending out the application forms for the Music Education Awards 2013.   

Hub leaders in England and Local Authorities in the rest of the UK are now invited to make submissions for the 2013 National Music Council Music Education Awards.

The NMC Music Education Awards scheme recognises Hubs (in England) and local authorities across the rest of the UK that are able to demonstrate imaginative, inclusive and all round high-quality music provision in a particular year. Once again, Jazz Services will be looking to award Diplomas/Certificates of their own this year, and there will as usual be an award for new music.

In 2013, as in previous years, the Awards will take the form of a major trophy and diplomas of merit, which will be presented at a major ceremony in November. The major trophy will be awarded to the Hub or authority that demonstrates the most substantial overall commitment to music during the year in question, given the resources at its disposal, and the questionnaire has been drawn up in such a way as to enable recognition by diploma to be accorded also to those Hubs and authorities whose policies and practices are worthy of special acknowledgement.

Hub leaders in England and Local Authorities in the rest of the UK are now invited to make submissions for the 2013 Awards.  Full details and entry forms can be found on the Awards page of the NMC website.  The closing date for submissions is 6pm on Friday 23rd August 2013.