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Riley Music Academy Music Cast: 15 amazing online music resources

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15 amazing online music resources

Although from time to time I like to go ‘off grid’ and take some time out (usually outdoors with my wife and kids), I absolutely LOVE the internet!

In fact in the late 90′s I got hooked on ‘electronic-mail’ with my first hotmail account, MSN Messenger and when MySpace first hit popularity I thought it was going to be so easy to hit the big time!

More recently I’ve really imbraced the internet for research, online teaching, socialising, getting things done and finding work.  Its awesome…

BUT…

..its crowded!

There is so much information out there, it can be daunting, time wasting or worse still, detrimental to your progress as some information is just wrong.

So this blog will talk about some of the resources I trust and visit often to get good quality information.

Be warned though: it is possible to overload yourselves with too much information.

Our brains are hard wired to enjoy new stimulus and this can lead to unhelpful tangents.  An example would be: we sit down to play that tough passage of music but after one or two awkward attempts, we get distracted and look ahead to an easier section or look it up on YouTube and end up watching someone snowboarding through the streets of New York or those blasted cat videos!

To combat this, I would advise you select one or two main themes for improvement and try to lock those in your mind for a few months (or however long it takes).  It can allow you to deviate slightly and tackle the problem(s) in a variety of ‘new’ and exciting ways but you are still focusing your attention on one or possibly two aspects.  I sometimes have things like:

‘Technique and Tone’, ‘Phrasing & Cadences’ or ‘Articulation, Time & Feel’

If I choose too many areas of study then I go off the boil and I’m all over the place!

Once I have reached a level of satisfaction (its never perfect) on the areas of study my mind gradually replaces them with new topics.

Anyway, just thought I’d throw that top tip in there.

Now for the list of great online resources:

Scotts Bass Lessons 

I don’t play bass but this is an online resource that comes up time and time again.  It’s a great example of a down to earth player winning over viewers on YouTube and turning his videos into a massive business.  Good for him!  If you play bass, you need to watch his YouTube videos.  The only one I watched in its entirety was one where he kept sniffing as he had a cold so I didn’t get the best experience but he’s pretty much got the system down and if you want to improve then this is a great place to visit.  There’s a membership site now too which is a great, cost effective way of learning.

Bob Reynolds

Another example of online tuition at the highest level.  I am actually a member of this site.  It’s pretty awesome and I’ve tried to model some of the RMA site around it.  It’s advanced though so if you are a beginner saxophonist then it’s not for you.  It’s also not the cheapest but far cheaper than flying to L.A. for a $150 p/h lesson!

Martin Taylor

One of my many teenage crushes was (not on Martin Taylor!) on Nicole from the Renault Clio advert; along with Diane Youdale from Gladiators, Wendy James from Transvision Vamp and Candy Dulfer.  Anyway…Martin Taylor wrote the chirpy, gypsy jazz theme to the “papa?” “nicole” series and if you watched as much television as I did during the 80′s and 90′s then I guarantee you will be able to sing along to it.  Martin Taylor is a fantastic guitarist and now has his own online academy.  Well worth a look.

Good-ear.com

I sometimes use this with students and get them to use the site to learn intervals.  It’s basic but does the job.

Jazz Advice

Two American dudes started a site dedicated to all the crazy theory and learning methods of jazz musicians and it is now not only really good, but also incredibly popular.  You can leave your email address on the site and they send out regular-ish blogs detailing some serious jazz woodshedding techniques.  Don’t forget to donate if you enjoy the material.

All Music

This site has been going a long time and I often check it for music research, line ups, album info and biographies.  It’s a great resource for music geeks.

Cafe Saxophone

This is another site that Ive been using for a long time.  Its an extension of Pete Thomas’ site and its a really good place for sax players of all levels to meet and discuss things.  Its like an AA meeting for sax players.  Seriously though, if you’re just starting out on saxophone, I would recommend joining the forum and saying hello as there are a lot of helpful people on it and a lot of keen amateurs that are hungry for knowledge.  Don’t trust everyones opinion but get a sample of different ideas and if you still not sure then email me and I’ll give you my advice!

YouTube

A bit obvious perhaps?  Well…maybe, but I use this almost everyday.  Mostly to watch cats slide down stairs in a box!  There are some amazing videos out there but it can easily eat into your day.  I have to restrict myself to one or two focused searches and not deviate too much.  It also has some utter trash on it and some commenters who are not only highly opinionated but also highly inappropriate.  One of the darker sides of the internet is that people can say what they like and its not always nice.  My channel is on YouTube and I am yet to receive many harsh comments but I’m sure it will come someday!

Wikipedia

My academic friends may disagree with this choice but I don’t think it’s too bad.  I find it a great source for sources!  Also, if I Google a musical term its usually wikipedia which gives me the answer.  Sometime’s that’s all I want – a quick answer to a simple question.  Whatever happened to Ask Jeeves eh?!

Music Theory.net

If Wiki doesn’t give me my answer then this site usually pops up.

Join my Band

There are many of these sites now but this was one of the first.  It’s a great place for amateur musicians to meet and get involved in community music projects.  There comes a time when you don’t need it so much but for a foot in the door to the music industry, its pretty good.

Riley Music Academy

Heh, how did this sneak on the list?!  Of course, it’s my baby and I had to show it off.  It’s much like the first 3 sites and although it focuses on my main instruments (sax and piano) it covers a lot of improvisation, musicianship, reading music, theory, musicology, philosophy and how to be an awesome individual!  It will literally change your life.  Although there’s a cost, its good value in comparison with other sites (I know, Ive checked) and it’s actually a very cost effective way of receiving tuition in a time where music lessons are considered luxury and sacrificed.   I personally, would try selling a kidney first!

Improvise for real

A good example of a great player who writes some great material and has a keen entrepreneurial mind.  His site is based around his book and its good.

Jazz Tutorial with Julian Bradley (themusicalear.com) 

I found this guy on YouTube and I think he’s great.  Incredibly useful content (especially for serious music theory nuts), nicely played examples and great looking videos.  He doesn’t smile that often and its all very serious but thats fine as he makes my videos look like I’m charismatic!  He is also far more anal about his sound and video production than me, which is why his videos look and sound so amazing.  A really, really useful place to visit and he now has a gajillion subscribers.  I wish him even more success.

Facebook

We all use Facebook.  We all know the company owns your soul.  We’ve accepted it and now we use it for our social pleasures.  However, as a musician I get a lot of work from it.  In much the same way that if you are in the corporate world Linked In is a great networking site, Facebook gives me access to all the musicians I have ever worked with and if someone needs a dep you get a message.  Also, other people can recommend you and it’s all one big musical group hug.

If you think of any other sites I have missed then please post them below

Comments

2 Comments Add a Comment
  1. Paul Englefield
    January 28, 2016

    Thanks Jay, this is a really useful list and it’s nice to see Wikipedia getting some respect. Here are a few jazz guitar related resources I’ve found helpful. http://www.jazzguitar.be/ is handy, especially on chords, both for theory and fingering. Matt Warnock’s site at http://mattwarnockguitar.com/ has some diverse material on theory, linear improv, vocabulary and practice habits – although he does tend to use ‘essential’ as a synonym for ‘aspirational’ ;-) For guitar technique in general, Justin Sandercoe’s site is excellent. He’s at http://www.justinguitar.com/.

    • Jay
      January 30, 2016

      Glad you found it useful and thanks for the additions.

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