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Local Resources, Online Resources and Books

Local Vancouver Piano-Related Resources

It is difficult to know where to start in listing piano-related local resources. I'm listing things that I find useful and hope that visitors will contribute more. In fact, if you have a suggestion please click here and send me a note!

Vancouver is a wonderful place to see great music. One place is the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Check out their Symphony Sampler, which is a great opportunity to get to the VSO a few times a year.

Also the Vancouver International Jazz Festival is a wonderful way to experience top line Jazz and Blues artists.

Another resource that you can find at the public library is the Naxos Music Library. You can get there by going to the VPL website and clicking on Electronic Resources. You will be prompted to log in using your library card number as your username and the last 4 digits of your phone number as the password. Now, that's a music collection!! It seems geared toward classical and old jazz but it's a great resource if you want to hear how something sounds.

As any great music teacher will tell you, listening to music is both one of the most inspiring and educational things you can do if you are trying to learn any instrument. The more we learn, as musicians, the deeper we listen. And the deeper we listen, the more we hear - and the more we learn and so on…

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Online Music Resources

The Web is actually in the process of revolutionizing (or perhaps evolutionizing) the music distribution industry. Many web sites have emerged as part of this evolution where you can now do three important things:

  • search for recorded music
  • listen to recorded music before you purchase it
  • purchase music one song at a time

    This makes it a lot easier for you to find the music you want, make sure it is the music you want and buy only the music you want without paying for a lot of other tunes you don't really care about.

    Apple's iTunes store is the front-runner in this market place, but you can search for other "music download stores" that offer different pricing and subscription schemes, different selections of music and deals. An example is Audio Lunch Box .

    Buyer Beware! Do your homework if you are considering any online purchase. There are lots of very reputable online stores, but if you don't know the store make sure the online store is secure and reputable. Look for the "Verisign Secured" or other secure, encrypted transaction assurance.

    You can also find digital sheet music online. There are now many Internet-based sheet music stores where you can go, search for the piece you want, listen to a sample of it in advance and buy it one song at a time. Many of the online sheet music stores allow you to select what parts you want (piano, vocal, guitar, clarinet, etc.) and even what key signature you want.

    Musicnotes.com is the leader in online sheet music but there are many other online stores. Just go to your favorite search engine and type in the search phrase "sheet music download".

    There are also free sheet music sources that you can search for. A popular site is The Mutopia Project where you can download an amazing variety of pieces where public domain (copyright-expired) editions are now available. They have titles by Scott Joplin, J.S. Bach, Eric Satie and Mozart to name a few.

    Many piano players would rather see, touch and feel their music. Fortunately, Vancouver boasts a wonderful sheet music emporium at the Long & McQuade store on Hastings at Homer (which was formerly Ward's Music sheet music store). Go there for a huge selection of sheet music. Also look around for used and/or vintage book stores that also stock sheet music. You can often pick up excellent older editions of many selections.

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    Piano-Related Books

    Reading about historical artists or other players experience has inspired me. I'm sure that this is a subject that you will have suggestions for and when you do, please click here and send me a note with your suggestions.

    Concert Pitch Piano Services has an extensive listing of piano-related books. Each has a short blurb about the book. If you want more information about any book and a somewhat useful customer rating system just search for that particular book at Amazon. Of course, if anything looks interesting first search your public library - Vancouver Public Library, Burnaby Public Library or Surrey Public Library to see if they have it.

    "Piano Lessons: Music, Love, & True Adventures" by NPR's Noah Adams is an entertaining account of an adult who always wanted to play the piano and finally took the plunge. It is an inspiration for those of us who are older and wish to start or further our musical journey.

    Of course since I am a piano technician I recommend both The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason and The Piano Shop on the Left Bank by Thad Carhart. I thought they were both a very good read.

    One source I've found for educating myself on Music History is The Teaching Company. They offer excellent audio and video University courses in their Fine Arts and Music Courses section. They are quite expensive but you can maybe find someone who has them already or you could ask your public library to order them for you. You could also purchase the course, donate it to your public library, request a charitable donation receipt from them and check the course out from the library.

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