Andrew Harrison-King on work experience at Spartan Press

Work Experience at Spartan Press – July 2012

My first day began with a quick tour of the business, taking in: the print room, offices, numerous storage rooms, the sales area and post room.  I was then introduced to ‘Zeus’, the network that runs at the heart of Spartan Press. The rest of the day was spent getting to grips with the retail side of the company – processing card payments and amazon orders, and placing new stock arrivals onto the shelves ready to be sold.

Tuesday morning provided a perfect opportunity to appreciate the stunning scenery surrounding Strathmashie as I got up early to walk the dogs with Mark. I later worked on correcting some database issues before I had my first taste of typesetting on Sibelius. I was tasked with finalising the layout and smoothing out any anomalies in the score before I emailed the finished score to the composer for feedback.

For the rest of the week I worked on auditing the miniature scores – a task given to me by Mark because of my interest in scores of this type. I was also introduced to stock control procedures with Dave. The computer system is essential for this and contains all the information detailing how many copies of each publication are stored in the various rooms around Strathmashie. The system also contains important information about which publications are ‘good-sellers’, and therefore enables decisions to be made about how many copies to store in forward stock, and how many new copies need to be printed on the next print run to keep up with demand. I was also given a proof reading exercise, which involved highlighting corrections in a score to be made before the final print run.
My second week revolved around a more ambitious Sibelius project and more stock control tasks. On this occasion it was necessary to check that the stock levels shown on the computer system matched the physical copies on the shelves an in bulk storage. I also spent one morning in the print room learning how the publications are produced from the final pdf files. In total I produced copies of 3 different publications, including one that had not been put into stock before.

Leisure time provided an opportunity to go to the pub and walks in the hills surrounding Strathmashie. Mark and I even ventured out on the tandem bicycle with Rose one evening. I decided to revert to the backseat position after nearly veering off the road twice during my go at steering!

Overall I have had a wonderful two weeks at Spartan, and I am very grateful to have been given the chance to learn all about the music publishing business with the Goddard family, who have been most welcoming and accommodating. The tasks I have been given have been very useful in understanding the role of a sheet music publisher, whilst also delivering a huge amount of satisfaction, knowing that publications that I have produced and edited are now sitting on the shelves at Strathmashie!

Andrew Harrison-King

Andrew out on a walk with

Andrew on the brand new

Andrew, Rose and Mark
after cycling (on an old
tandem) to the local pub