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Log on to the sound of music

You know how it is. You're taking a lesson on Indonesian culture and you forgot to pack that Sounds of Gamelan CD that for years you've been meaning to find a use for. Or you need to compare and contrast different versions of Moon River (there comes a time when everyone has to).

Playtime is a new resource which could provide everything you might ever conceivably need to play to your class. It is endorsed by the National Association of Music Educators and the likes of Andrew Lloyd Webber and offers schools and universities access to a huge online music library.

Access to music is one of the most essential aspects of teaching, yet the costs and legal implications of possible copyright infringements often prevent schools from fulfilling their potential.

Playtime was launched this month by Broadchart Limited, which sources and delivers music online.

It is based on the music collection of Phil Swern, former record promoter and producer and now a radio producer on BBC Radio 2, who donated his vinyl and CD archive of more than a million recordings amassed over about 45 years.

The collection covers every type of music imaginable, and is updated constantly. It includes every track that has made the UK Top 40 since the chart's inception in 1952, as well as everything from the US Top 100, and a huge amount of jazz, classical, soundtracks and music from around the world. Type "India" into the search engine to find many examples of the subcontinent's music. Or see what music is available to accompany your school production of Hair.

It's a streaming service, so you can play tracks off the website but not download them. Playlists put together by one teacher can also be accessed and modified by others elsewhere. The price depends on the number of users.

For example, for between 250 and 1,000 it's pound;650. This covers the local computer, software, copyright payments, and access to the remote digital online music library


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