Welcome to 31 Days of Homegrown Music! This month I am writing about why and how everyone can benefit from music making. To find other posts in the series, click here.
Are you new to listening to music purposefully? Is it hard to sort through the sheer volume of songs out there to find a few good ones? Do you only recognize famous composers like Mozart? Do you just want to start introducing your children to higher-quality music? One of the easiest first steps in getting involved with more music making is actively listening to it. I’m going to give you several easy resources where you can begin listening to good music for free.
The Library- Who doesn’t love the library? You can get a whole variety of CDs to take home and listen to for absolutely zero money. Each week, I let my son pick out a CD (at my discretion, of course), and we usually put it in right before nap time. That way he hears the same artist or composer about five times throughout the week, allowing him to get familiar with it. The only downside? One library can only hold so much music, so you’re limited depending on your local choices.
Youtube– Youtube obviously can be sketchy, with obnoxious advertisements and a long list of intolerable comments that can be rather onerous reading. If you can get past these downfalls, try typing in a composer who you are interested in learning about. You can get whole playlists containing only that composer for free. Here’s three for starters: Tchaikovsky, Schubert, Debussy. Bam.
Pandora– Pandora basically creates personalized radio stations at your request. If you type in “Stravinsky,” you will now get an entire “radio station” of music with Stravinsky-like characteristics. This is helpful because you can begin to categorize composers and artists by similar qualities and styles, rather than having to go looking for the information. Downsides of Pandora? 1) It becomes tiring listening to the same style of music for a very long time. Hence why you need to set up various radio stations. 2) It is full of completely irrelevant advertising, unless you go for the paid version.
Spotify– A free music player that you can listen to on the computer or mobile, with millions of songs and ready-made playlists. I am very new to Spotify, so I can’t speak to all the pros and cons of it yet, but I think it’s worth making the free music list.
NPR– It is hotly debated whether NPR is liberal or unbiased. Regardless of your political view, however, NPR is a wonderful resource for music. We turn it on in the car almost exclusively. From classical to jazz to folk to local music, NPR has it all, often with helpful commentary to boot. What I love? You don’t get to pick your preference- which often helps expose you to new music that you otherwise would not have selected.
What’s your favorite go-to resource for listening to music? Come back tomorrow for a quick run through music history to help get you familiar with music of the ages.