Are you a beginning or intermediate music student? Have budget or time constraints made it difficult for you to take the number of music lessons you'd like, or to purchase the sheet music you're dying to play?
Fortunately, the internet has made it easy to find and download free music resources. From tips regarding technique and sheet music, to video-led lessons - we want to share our favorite resources with you.
Free Music Resources
We'll be honest with you: while these free music resources are helpful - particularly the access to free or low-cost sheet music - no musician (save the virtuosos out there) will be playing in Carnegie hall using free, self-taught methods.
That being said, free lessons are a wonderful way to explore whether or not your instrument of choice is the right one for you. Whether or not you're serious about the instrument, and the basic music theory and techniques to get you started, the options can help you achieve the next level of musicianship.
Free Lessons From Professional Music Instructors
Many music instructors post free, online lessons and tutorials in order to inspire future students and to draw attention to their instructional offerings or music schools. Here at Connolly Music, we take musicianship very seriously and only vet the most qualified strings teachers, which is why we're confident recommending Mimi Zweig's String Pedagogy courses, which focus on the natural, free movement of the body while playing music. Mimi's lessons were life changing for Joshua Bell, so there's something there for you, too!
In addition to violin, the String Pedagogy site offers instructional videos for cello as well as tips for strings classroom success.
YouTube Offers Instruction and Lessons, Too
YouTube is well-known for DIY home improvement and fix-it videos. However, it also offers a range of high-quality video lessons, ranging from How to Read Music and Music Theory 101, to Cello Bowing Techniques and Easy Guitar Solos. Use their search box to get started.
Videos are an interactive way to learn and are especially helpful for those who have a difficult time learning strictly from the page.
Free Online Lessons and Music Courses
There are plenty of free lessons available online. Most are designed for beginners, and the large majority only offer one or two lessons for free, after which you may need to pay more to access a larger variety - or higher levels - of instruction.
Some high-quality examples include:
- BerkleeX - free online classes from the Berklee School of Music
You can also use your browser's search engine to search for free music lessons based on instrument type(s). Keep in mind, however, that the lessons provided may not be up-to-par with those offered by credentialed, qualified music instructors.
Trust your gut; if a video or tutorial doesn't seem like it's quality, it's probably not. Skip it and look for something else. The last thing you want is to learn something incorrectly, or develop unhealthy techniques that all have to be re-learned should you continue to pursue your musicianship with an instructor.
Access the Sheet Music of Your Choice
The internet also offers plenty of free sheet music. Keep in mind, however, that just as music artists make their money from royalties (monies earned when you pay for their music or products) so do those who write and arrange music.
While it's handy to be able to download some of your favorite pieces for practice, we also recommend visiting your local music store or online music store to purchase materials. It's a way to give back to those artists or arrangers you appreciate so much.
There are plenty of online sources for free sheet music - but that doesn't mean they'll have what you want, or a score that's written for the instrument of your choice. "Shopping" for free sheet music online can be a little like shopping at a thrift store, you have to keep your mind open and not have your heart set on any one thing because they might not have your exact preference.
Websites to get you started include:
Have friends that play music or the same instrument you're interested in? Ask to borrow their old lesson books and music scores. Most students hang on to their "old stuff" even though they don't access it anymore. Garage sales and sites like Craigslist also have free or very low-cost sheet music, instruments and other musician-worthy products available. Posting your own "want ads" is another way to reach out to those who are ready to unload their music-related items.
Again, free content is rarely the same quality as the lessons, music or theory courses you'd pay for. However, it is a good way to suss out how serious you are, and your level of commitment, so you don't waste precious financial resources or energy on instruments, classes and accessories that wind up languishing in a closet somewhere.