Learn to sing or play an instrument
Published on 21st October 2021
Everyone can learn to sing or to play an instrument with our fantastic online resources. Whether you’re at the start of your musical journey or you’re already confident in your abilities, or whether you want to play and sing or just to listen, look and enjoy, we have something here for you. Our amazing array of digital resources includes a wide selection of free courses, a comprehensive choice of magazines and books and, for the student of music and music appreciation, an in-depth and authoritative range of reference and educational tools.
Courses on learning to sing and to play an instrument
ArtistWorks for Libraries is a fantastic resource which provides free music and voice instruction from Grammy Award-winning music professionals. Unlimited access to world-class instruction is available at beginner and advanced level through self-paced videos covering more than 30 of the most popular string and band instruments, all of which you can access on a range of devices including your phone, laptop or PC. The extensive range of lessons on offer include:
- Guitar: Rock, Electric, Jazz, Blue, Electric Country, Classical, Bluegrass Flatpick
- Bluegrass Dobro
- Bass: Electric, Jazz, Double
- Piano: Popular, Classic, Jazz
- Mandolin, Classical Mandolin, Ukulele, Banjo
- Violin, Fiddle, Multi-Style Cello
- Flute, Trumpet, Clarinet, French Horn, Jazz Saxophone
- Percussion, Jazz Drums
ArtistWorks also features 3 guided video tutorials for singers:
- Vocal Lessons with Jeannie Deva
- Country Vocals with Lari White
- Bluegrass Vocal Lessons with Michael Daves
And finally, it also features a class in:
- Music Theory
Check out our blog for a colleague’s first-hand experience of using ArtistWorks.
To access ArtistWorks for Libraries, click on the Extras link on the Libby app which is available to install on your device from Google Play - Android or iTunes - iOS. To sign in follow the prompts to find Dublin City Libraries and sign in with your library card number and PIN.
The Great Courses offers a series of video classes as follows for aspiring musicians
Learning to Play Guitar: Chords, Scales, and Solo: go from zero to guitar hero in 25 lessons, including:
- Guitar basics: play a song in 60 seconds
- Learning how to practice the guitar
- Playing rhythm guitar
- Playing with natural harmonics
How to Play Piano: learn to tickle the ivories and awaken your inner Beethoven over 36 lessons, including:
- Basic piano fingering and rhythm
- Pitch and off-staff notation
- Primary chords
- Major chords and simple accompaniment
- Sight reading and technique
How to Sing: Think you can’t carry a tune? Prove yourself wrong with 24 lessons which include the following themes and topics:
- Anyone can sing
- Vocal Warm-Ups
- Aligning the spine
- Your Voice Type
- Maximizing Your Vocal Range
The Great Courses also has a great selection of music information and appreciation courses for you to enjoy, such as:
- The 23 Greatest Solo Piano Works: Explore the greatest solo works written for piano.
- The Great Works of Sacred Music: Discover the masterworks of the sacred music tradition, from early church music to the modern era.
- Music and the Brain: Explore the neuroscience of music.
- America's Musical Heritage: Learn about more than 200 years of musical sounds and styles.
- Great Music of the 20th Century: Travel into the lives of the great 20th-century composers and immerse yourself in the era's musical masterworks.
- Music as a Mirror of History: Discover how great works of music have interacted with historical events.
- Other courses also include lectures on music such as Celtic Music and Dance from The Celtic World and Scoring the Story: Music in Film in How to View and Appreciate Great Movies
Each of the Great Courses is taught by experts in their field, and includes a supplementary guide book. You can play, pause, and review information as often as you like. You can access as many courses as you want to for 7 days. After 7 days, simply log in again and get another 7 day’s access.
Universal Class provides access to 500+ online courses including:
Introduction to Music Appreciation
This course is comprised of 16 lessons taking approximately 16 hours to complete, and covers the following subject matter:
- Basic Elements of Music
- Medieval Music
- Renaissance Music
- Baroque Music
- Classical Music
- The Romantic Period
- Classical (Pre-modern) Music, 1900-1945
- Classical (Modern) Music, 1945 to Present
- Jazz, 1890 to 1945
- Jazz, 1945 to Present
- Opera Part One
- Opera: Part Two
- Broadway Musical Theatre
- Pop Music
- Folk Music
- Non-Western Music
Universal Class courses include tutorials, lessons, assignments, discussion boards, and feedback on work you’ve submitted. All the courses are completely online, self-paced, available 24/7, and you have 6 months to complete each one. You’ll be awarded a certificate at the end that you can print off and keep. If you prefer not to do any assignments, a lot of Universal Class courses give you an option to just watch the video tutorials. Just to note, you won’t get a certificate at the end if you choose this option. You can register on the Libby app via the Extras link too.
Just to note, the digital magazines and books listed below are subject to change depending on publishers and the resource provider. Over time, some of the titles listed here may disappear and new titles appear.
Pressreader gives you access to over to 7,000 plus newspapers and magazines including Irish local and national papers, and a huge selection of publications from all over the world, including music magazines such as:
- Classic Rock
- BBC Music Magazine
- Sound & Vision
Other magazines you can find on Pressreader include: Rolling Stone; Bass Player; Guitar Player; Total Guitar; Billboard; and more.
The Libby Magazine Collection gives you access to a wide variety of digital magazines to cover all musical tastes. The following is just a sample of what’s on offer, so please sign in and explore for yourself.
- BBC Music Magazine
- The Ultimate Music Guide
- Dazed and Confused
- Billboard Magazine
- Rolling Stone
- Guitar World
- Gramophone Magazine
- Piano for Beginners
Other magazines you can access with this resource include: Rhythm; Computer Music; Classic Pop; Future Music; Pianist; Mojo; Guitar Player; Classic Rock; and many more.
For more detailed information on using Libby, check out our how to video.
Books about music
Very Short Introductions: From Oxford University Press, this collection of over 600 books provides intelligent and serious introductions to a range of subjects written by experts in their field. This comprehensive range of titles covers numerous subjects in the Arts, Law, Medicine, Sciences, and Social Sciences, and includes an interesting selection on music.
- Music: A Very Short Introduction (2nd edn) by Nicholas Cook
- Country Music: A Very Short Introduction by Richard Carlin
- World Music: A Very Short Introduction (2nd edn) by Philip V. Bohlman
- Film Music: A Very Short Introduction by Kathryn Kalinak
- The Psychology of Music: A Very Short Introduction by Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis
- The Blues: A Very Short Introduction by Elijah Wald
- Early Music: A Very Short Introduction by Thomas Forrest Kelly
- Ethnomusicology: A Very Short Introduction by Timothy Rice
- Folk Music: A Very Short Introduction by Mark Slobin
BorrowBox has a great selection of books about music. Here are some of the titles on offer – just remember you need to login first with you library card:
- Music Technology from Scratch by Mortimer Rhind-Tutt
- This is Your Brain on Music: Understanding a Human Obsession by Daniel Levitin
- Ideas in Profile: Music by Andrew Gant
- Discovering Classical Music: Handel (plus other composers in the series)
- Musicophilia by Oliver Sachs
- Digital Media in the Music Classroom by James Cross
- Hallelujah - George Frideric Handel’s Messiah in Dublin
Books by and about musicians
- Year of the Monkey – Patti Smith
- M Train – Patti Smith
- My Crazy World – Christy Dignam
- What Is It All But Luminous – Art Garfunkel
- Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music – David Grohl
- I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp – Richard Hell
- Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen
- Bruised, Never Broken – Phil Coulter
Access eBooks/eAudiobooks on your phone, tablet or reader. Once you have installed the app, search for Dublin in the ‘Library’ field provided and then sign in using your library membership card number and PIN.
Medici.tv is the world's leading classical music channel featuring hundreds of concerts, operas, and ballets. It also features an extensive range of documentaries, over 200 lectures and master classes in classical music and singing, plus a calendar of live events streamed from the world’s most prestigious concert halls, opera houses, festivals and competitions: have a look now and add to your diary to save the date!
This resource has a user-friendly interface and a powerful search engine, allowing you to access thousands of classical music programmes from Baroque to Contemporary music and to discover recordings from the 1940s to the present day. It also provides access to synopses, and to cast and performer biographies.
Here is just a taste of what’s available on Medici.tv:
- Yefim Bronfman performs Beethoven, Debussy, Schumann, and Chopin - Tsinandali Festival 2021
- Sir Simon Rattle conducts Dvořák and Tippett, with the London Symphony Orchestra
- Mozart's Così fan tutte – with Federica Lombardi (Fiordiligi), Marina Viotti (Dorabella)...
- Gounod's Faust – with Michael Fabiano (Faust), Erwin Schrott (Méphistophélès)...
- Midsummer Night's Dream by Alexander Ekman, music by Mikael Karlsson - Royal Swedish Ballet
- Swan Lake by Valery Kovtun after Petipa, music by Tchaikovsky – Ballet of the National Opera of Ukraine
- Crazy for Opera: backstage at the Bavarian State Opera
- Stravinsky in Hollywood: a film written, directed, and edited by Marco Capalbo
- Leonard Bernstein, The Gift of Music: An intimate portrait, narrated by legendary screen star Lauren Bacall.
Master classes and lectures
- Master Class with Evangeline Benedetti: Cello, Bow, and You: Alexander Technique Basics
- Leonidas Kavakos: International Violin Masterclass & Chamber Music Workshop
- Opera Master Class with Barbara Frittoli: Verbier Festival 2018
- Alfred Brendel on Music: Three Lectures: Light and Shade of Interpretation
One of our colleagues shares his thoughts here on this great resource. Watch and learn with Medici.tv on any device, whenever and wherever you want. All you need is your Dublin City library card.
Naxos Music Library [NML] is the world´s largest online classical music library, and it sets the industry standard in streaming classical music. Classical content includes:
- A wide range of standard and specialist repertoire with hundreds of albums added each month
- Music notes, cover artwork, tracklist, instrumentation and publisher information
- Libretti of over 65 and synopses of close to 1000 operas
- More than 40,000 composer and artist biographies
You also have access to a wide selection of Jazz music, from Jazz legends to contemporary Jazz, featuring over 20,000 albums, and with new content added weekly.
Furthermore, NML provides access to a vast array of educational resources which include:
- Hundreds of aural training exercises
- Guided Tours on classical music eras
- Audio book transcriptions about the history of classical music and opera with listening examples
- A pronunciation guide on composer and artist names as well as musical terms
- In-depth analyses of selected works
- Work details with instrumentation, publishers, duration, year of composition and available recordings of the work
- An interactive music dictionary with music examples and notation
- Easy-to-use yet sophisticated search engines
Furthermore, NML's has a Junior Section which helps parents to introduce the world of classical music to young children. Children can listen to audio books such as “The Story of Classical Music” and “The Instruments of the Orchestra”, or simply enjoy classic stories with classical music.
NML is also an e-learning resource that can be used by second level students. The Study Notes section provides a resource for both Junior and Leaving Certificate students. The study notes have been laid out according to the different courses with a selection of the songs and works included. There is general information on each song and on the form of the work followed by a short analysis.
NML can be accessed from any computer, anywhere, anytime. To register for Naxos please send an email with your name and library card number to [email protected].
Freegal Music (a combination of the words ‘free’ and ‘legal’) is a wonderful streaming resource for all the music lovers out there. This resource offers access to hundreds of genres of music, thousands of artists, and tens of thousands of albums. And what’s more, there are no digital rights management (DRM) restrictions, and no software to download. The collection is comprised of music from over 40,000 labels with music that originates in over 100 countries, and includes Sony Music’s catalog of legendary artists.
Freegal Music also offers free access (with your library card!) to a rich and growing collection of thousands of music videos. These videos often have supplemental content that is not in the underlying song, and some of these videos are historical treasures.
Just to note, because a video is premium content, a video download will count as 2 of your 5 weekly music selections. If you do not have 2 downloads left, you will not be able to download a video. The videos are in MP4 format, and are yours to keep! Just remember that given the size of these files, it is recommended that you connect to a Wi-Fi network or cable while downloading.
Dublin City Public Library users have unlimited streaming and can download 5 songs per week. All you need to log into Freegal is your library card number and PIN.
With over 15 million songs to listen to, you’re bound to find something you love on this fantastic resource. To help you get a flavour of what’s available, why not have a read of some great content from our music-loving colleagues in Dublin City Libraries.
- Check out Freegal
- Hard rock on Freegal
- Live music recordings on Freegal
- Thirty years of grunge
- Two of my favourite things
- Dancing in the kitchen
- Dancing in the moonlight
Music reference resources
If you want to learn more about music and music history and appreciation, Oxford Music Online gives you access to a number of acclaimed music reference works including Grove Music Online, The Oxford Companion to Music, and The Oxford Dictionary of Music.
For more information on these great resources, check out our Oxford Music Online blog.
To access Oxford Music Online, enter your Dublin City library card number where indicated (usually to the left of the screen), and select Dublin City Libraries from the options given.
An overview of our full range of online resources
Have a look on our website for a full list of our online resources. Or check out our blogs for more information on a wide range of reference and research tools: these include topics and resources as diverse as art history and appreciation; language learning and other language resources; dictionaries of English, of Family Names in Britain and Ireland and of Irish Biography; and encyclopaedias such as Britannica and World Book.
If you’re interested in exploring your creativity using the written word, we also have some excellent online resources for writers.
Or have a look here if learning to draw and paint is more your thing.
If you have any queries or if you registered online and can’t access any of these resources, you can also contact us at [email protected].
Submitted by Reader and Bibliographic Services.