What makes a music library so important to a musician?

2017 welcomes an exciting development to Leeds’ creative resources, as we move the Leeds College of Music Library to the bigger, better-equipped site at the Quarry Hill Skyline building - opening up our resources to the public for the first time.

Our vast collection (including 30,000 items of printed music, 8,000 books 11,000 CDs, 9,000 LPs, 700 DVDs, and exclusive artefacts), will now not only be a vital part of the student experience - but will help budding musicians and aficionados across the city.

So in an era where music is readily streamed and information is available at the click of a button - what makes a music library so vital?

The music student’s perspective

Access to resources which would be otherwise unaffordable for fledgling musicians is a key benefit - student Santino Browne told us: “On my first day I borrowed "The Art Of Mixing" (around £50 on eBay) and taught myself the basics concepts of mixing – helping me achieve some high marks.”

The variety of resources and quiet learning environment is a key factor for Santino too; “Extended knowledge and independent learning is essential for anyone wanting to succeed in the creative arts.”

Student Liam Brigg highlighted the staff as vital to the service: “The library team are extremely supportive” said Liam - referencing the technical support available for the conservatoire’s online resources, as well as their ability to signpost towards additional resources on a topic.

Top Treasures

Academic resources and professional support are crucial in music education, but it is our exclusive artefacts that make our music library truly unique. We’ve selected some of our top treasures…

Max Abrams Diaries

Drummer, teacher and author Max Abrams kept detailed diaries between 1943 – 1992, documenting his personal life and performance career, alongside information about his pupils. He was dismissive of most of his students (descriptions included ‘harmless’, ‘a nit’ and ‘grim’) but every lesson from the 1960s onwards is recorded. He fixed his pupils with jobs in big bands, theatre bands and elsewhere, taking a generous agent’s fee for his troubles.

The diaries are a “colourful” description of all aspects of his life.

Ted Heath Scores

Ted Heath, the bandleader of Britain’s greatest post-war big band, recorded over 100 albums and sold more than 20 million discs. Our archive includes the original scores and parts commissioned by Heath and played by the band. Post-war, paper was in very short supply, so some scores are written on manuscript paper that is printed on the reverse of no-longer-required military maps.

Score written on the reverse of map sheets of the Balkans - printed for the British Army.

Vinyl Collection

Leeds College of Music has been collecting vinyl for many years. The 9000 jazz LPs held are mainly donations from several avid jazz collectors. The recent rise in popularity of vinyl has seen an increase in usage of the collections, which also include pop, film and classical. The discs also get a regular outing from DJs at the conservatoire’s B-Side night.


Leeds College of Music are currently fundraising towards costs of their new music library. The conservatoire has raised over 90% of the funds required.

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