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Music Monitor x Five: Building a Modern Database Solution for Music Schools

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Dominik Keller
Feb 15th, 2024
Case Studies

Managing a music department in a school or conservatorium is a complex task: teachers, students, instruments, classrooms, and orchestras or ensembles all must be perfectly in sync to create a seamless school and classroom experience. To accomplish this, music school administration software such as Music Monitor, a software solution developed by the eponymous Melbourne-based software company can help.

Trusted by almost 100 music schools and conservatoriums in Australia, Music Monitor is a purpose-built database system for managing music departments. Until recently, Music Monitor’s functionality was exclusively designed for use by music schools’ administration and teaching staff.

This has now changed: through the introduction of Music Monitor Plus, the software’s usage has now been extended to students, parents and staff outside the music department as well.

Let’s explore how Five, a rapid application development environment, helped Music Monitor create Music Monitor Plus, an online portal for students, parents, and classroom teachers to view and manage their upcoming lessons.

Displaying Data From an API Without Duplication or Replication

Music Monitor’s database keeps all data required to manage a music school in one place: students, resources, equipment, instruments, music books, ensembles, and classes are all stored in Music Monitor’s custom-built database solution. The data is stored on-site at music schools’ premises.

To make some of this data accessible to students and teachers, a process that does not store, duplicate, or replicate, but purely displays data to students was created in Five. Five can securely connect to any RESTful API endpoint using time-limited bearer tokens, thereby retrieving data stored in a database without copying or storing it.

In Music Monitor’s case, Five is able to securely interface with the underlying FileMaker Data API, an application programming interface (API) that allows web services to access data in hosted databases. Five calls Music Monitor’s FileMaker Data API to obtain an authentication token for access to the database and then uses that token in subsequent calls to get (but not update or delete) relevant records.

The advantages: all data is maintained in one place and no data is kept on Five’s servers. Data access is tightly controlled by providing GET access to Five only. As music schools manage students’ and teachers’ personally identifiable information (PII) stored on their servers, this ensures that control over the data remains with the school’s IT department.

Securing the Application With Unique Logins or Single Sign-On (SSO)

Music Monitor Plus lets students, parents and classroom teachers view and manage their upcoming lessons. To share this data with students securely, the Music Monitor Plus web application, which runs inside the browser and can be accessed from a desktop, tablet, or mobile, is secured through passwords and logins.

Five supports two types of authentication: it can either be used to provide unique logins or it can be set up to work with a federated identity provider, such as Microsoft Active Directory, for example.

Federated identity management is increasingly popular because user management is centralised, reducing the number of passwords a user needs to remember, improving their user experience, and improving the overall security infrastructure.

Using Tried-and-Tested Web Technologies to Build Scalable Applications

Last but not least, Five builds applications by letting developers combine its pre-built application development components with custom code. Custom code in Five is written in SQL, JavaScript, and HTML, i.e. standard programming languages that have large support communities and a deep talent pool. Created by a team of developers who have previously worked in cybersecurity, Five is secured against common security exploits, such as SQL injection.

Applications built with Five use Docker and Kubernetes, two popular technologies that bundle and orchestrate “containers”, or lightweight packages, which allow applications to operate at scale on the web. By applying best-in-class principles to architect and manage its infrastructure, Five ensures apps run safely on the cloud.

The underlying infrastructure that applications developed in Five are running on is provided by the world’s leading cloud providers, such as AWS or Microsoft Azure. It is monitored 24/7 through a threat detection service that monitors for malicious activity and anomalous behavior and secured through a web application firewall that helps protect against common web exploits that can affect availability or compromise security. Five uses servers located in Australia to run its applications.

About Music Monitor

Music Monitor is a comprehensive, user-friendly database system, designed specifically to handle the administrative needs of music departments in schools and conservatoriums. Founded and developed by Alison Carr, a former music administrator turned developer, Music Monitor is a complete database solution made for Australian schools, music departments, and conservatoriums.

For more information, visit

About Five

Five is an application development environment that helps software developers rapidly build and deploy bespoke applications. Five is headquartered in Brisbane (Australia), with additional offices in Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur. For a free download of Five, visit

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