Setting up an Excel file for Focus on Sound

Please note, this is for the MusicFirst Application Cloud management system.
(not for users of MusicFirst or Rhinegold Online classrooms, who should contact MusicFirst customer support.)

We now have a new video on preparing an Excel file for batch import to Focus on Sound - see below

You may want your IT department to do this for you or a school secretary with Excel skills - though it's straightforward for anybody to do. If you'd prefer it, we may be able to do it for you, especially if you're accessing the software via one of the UK music hubs, like Lancashire, Gloucestershire, Devon, etc. Just contact

If you're adding the students yourself you need a single Excel (or similar) table, looking like this - the columns can be in any order:

First Last Class Username (optional) Year group
Jo Smith 7B SmithJ16 7

There should be no blank rows or columns. The table should be saved as a csv file (see the 'Save as' options in Excel).

Here's a video explaining how to produce a table from the kind of data you might receive from a school management system.



  • Get rid of unwanted columns like date of birth, gender, etc. To do this, click at the top of the column to select it (usually where it says A, B, etc.). Use shift to select multiple columns. Then right click and click delete.
  • If your name column has both last name and first name in a single column like this: ANSTEY, Freya you'll need to separate them out into two columns.
  • Select the name column and go to the Data menu at the top of the Excel screen. Click on 'Text to Columns'. Then choose 'Delimited' not Fixed width. Click Next.
  • Make sure you have the class name for each of the kids. Add a column heading called 'Class'. Then change all the cells in that column for that class to e.g. 7A1/Mu, filling down to the bottom of the column for that class (see the video). A better way of filling down is to select the class name, hold the shift button and then click Ctrl D in the bottom cell. That will fill all the relevant cells.
  • You will then be asked to explain how the full name is divided. In ANSTEY, Freya the two parts of the name are separated by a comma and a space. Ignore the space. Just click on the comma box, ensuring the other boxes are not ticked. The data preview below would then show you what the final columns would look like.
  • You'll then need to change the titles at the top of the columns, so that one column says something like 'last' and the other says 'first'.
  • Delete any rows you don't need. In the example above, you don't need the title and the row below. You don't need rows showing how many males and females there are, etc. You also don't need the other header rows - so you only need one line of First name, Last name, Year group, class.
  • Make sure there are no blank columns or rows at the end of the spreadsheet
  • HINT - If the names in your list aren't separated by a comma, you might have problems with double or triple barreled names. These might cause you difficulties. Something like van der Vliet Anne Marie. This will create problems using Excel's Text to Columns techniques. What we do is add five blank columns after the name. Otherwise you might find the process deletes the class name. If you can, we suggest adding hyphens between parts of the name, e.g. Anne-Marie.
  • You'll end up with a separate column for each name, e.g. van der Vliet Anne Marie. You'd then put van der Vliet in the first column and Anne Marie in the second. If you're using our automated username system you might want to put hyphens in, e.g. van-der-Vliet or amalgamate the name, e.g vanderVliet. Once you've finished sorting the names out, you can then delete all the blank columns.