Practical, Simple, Useful Online Resources for the Music Teacher

For online resources used in this presentation, please choose a computer, start NETSCAPE, and go to <>.

Press <ctrl-d> or <CTRL-d> to add this page to your bookmarks--we will return to it several times.


The internet is like a medium-sized suburban lending library collected by a staff of mediocre and disorganized librarians who don't mind mostly collecting the half-baked, half-finished, ill-conceived works of a bunch of untrained and misinformed dilettantes. BUT you can (theoretically . . . ) search every word in every book of this mal-formed and motley library, and that makes it--in many cases--as useful as the best and largest research library.

So the first revolutionary characteristic of the internet is that this vast interconnected databank of information is SEARCHABLE. We have had vast collections of information before, of far better quality than the internet, but these collections have never been searchable to the degree the internet is.

If you don't know how to search the internet, you are missing the biggest, most important key to its power and usefulness.

Figuring out the right search terms is an art.

A common problem is too many results; most "hits" are meaningless. How do you narrow it down?

ü HINT: Most search engines tell you how many pages were found. You can use this number to gauge how general or specific your search terms are.

EXAMPLES: è beethoven finds Beethoven the dog, Beethoven the composer, etc. etc.

è beethoven piano music (or +beethoven +"piano music") narrows it

EXAMPLES: è ludwig van beethoven would find Roger put his Ludwig guitar and his dog "Beethoven" in his van.

è "ludwig van beethoven" (with double quotes) wouldn't

EXAMPLE: è sonat* would find all these forms: sonata, sonatas, sonate, sonaten

EXAMPLES: è beethoven date of birth finds some pages with only beethoven, some with only date, and some with only birth (the word of would be ignored)

è +beethoven +"date of birth" finds only those pages containing both the word "beethoven" and the phrase "date of birth"

EXAMPLES: è +gamelan +java finds pages about the javanese gamelan but also numerous pages about the computer language called java.

è +gamelan +java +music -program* -applet -developer -code

ü HINT: Look at a few "bad results" summaries or pages to get an idea of what words appear on these "bad pages" that have nothing to do with the subject you are really searching for. Then put these words in your search with a "minus" in front of them.

Click on the interesting result L'Illustration nį 2419 p.9 <>

Click <ctrl-f> to search for pagodes.

Your turn . . .

Can you answer these questions, using one (or more) of the internet search engines?

  1. What year was Beethoven born?
  2. Can you find a picture of a Javanese gamelan?
  3. Was the term "pagode" ever used to refer to a kind of Javanese building?
  4. Eric Satie's wrote a work called "Vexations". When and by whom was the work premiered?
  5. What year (and day) was Sergei Prokofieff born? (Note alternate spellings Sergey, Serge, Sergé, Prokofiev, Prokoviev, etc., all of which will probably appear on different internet pages--and that is not even mentioning the dozens of misspellings you will find . . . )
  6. What can you find out about composer N. Louise Wright?
  7. What is the name of the book on piano technique by Otto Ortmann? What is it about? How could I get a copy of it?
  8. What is the Alexander Technique? How can it help musicians?
  9. Who wrote the Eroica Variations? When were they written? How many variations are there? Where did the them of the variations come from?
  10. When did Rachmaninoff arrange Bizet's L'Arlesienne Suite for piano? What kind of musical group was Bizet's L'Arlesienne Suite written for? What kind of work is the original "L'Arlesienne", which the suite was taken from?
  11. Where can you order replacement belts for your old phonograph? How about replacement cartridges?

ü HINT: If you are not finding any results, try your search on a different internet search site. Each site indexes a different list of sites and each search engine searches in a slightly different way.


There are several free automated translation services on the internet. They can translate a word, a phrase, or a whole web page. In addition, there are online dictionaries of most commonly used languages.

Automated translations tend to be literalistic and stilted, but they can still be very useful.

These translation services can be used to translate unusual foreign phrases that donít appear in common music dictionaries. Also, translating common musical terms can give you and/or your students a fresh approach to them.


Windows: Use Character Map (Start Menu/Run, then type "charmap"; BUT some Windows versions don't include charmap . . . )

Mac: Use KeyCaps to figure out key combinations (option-u then letter for umlaut; option-e then letter for acute accent; option-c for cedilla, etc.)

<ctrl c> to copy <ctrl v> to paste or <apple-c> to copy <apple-v> to paste

Your turn . . .

Can you translate these phrases into English using the internet translation sites? All are from music or music-related sources (Satie, Scriabin, Beethoven, etc.). These examples are designed to show how useful internet translators can be, but also to show their limitations . . .

FRENCH: (milieu) La buvette (construite sur le modèle des pagodes javanaises), Trois morceaux en forme de poire, Poudre d'or , Carrelage phonique (pour jouer a un lunch), Ogives, Sonnerie pour réveiller le bon gros Roi des Singes qui ne dort toujours que d'un oeil (fanfare for two trumpets), avec une douceur de plus en plus caressante et empoisonnèe, perfide, avec une volupté douloureuse, avec une joie subite, en s'eteignant peu à peu, avec une douce ivresse, avec trouble, avec une ardeur profonde et voilée, très doux et pur

GERMAN Dem Fürsten Carl van Lichnowsky gewidmet

ITALIAN Marcia Funebre sulla morte d'un eroe, Si deve suonare tutto questo pezzo delicatissimamente e senza sordini, prestissimo volando, pianissimo, forte, presto

Search Periodical and Dissertation Indexes

Periodical indexes such as Music Index and RILM that used to be down at the library in 97 thick volumes with thin paper and microscopic print, are now all computerized, online, and searchable. Most indexes have reference information and abstracts, some have full text available online. Unfortunately you usually must have a personal or institutional membership in the database to search.

If you work at a college or university, you most likely can access these periodical databases through your college computer account. Others can typically access the databases through library computers at colleges/universities.

Although you won't be able to search unless you are logged on through a UMKC computer, you can see what is available at

Find MP3 & Midi Music:,, has near CD-quality recordings that you can listen to right on your computer. All mp3s on are legal (in contrast to, which has mostly pirated commercial recordings). Performance quality ranges from terrible (Beethoven typed into a music notation program and played via cheap sound card) to wonderful (Paul Badura-Skoda, Rami bar Nev, John Bell Young, Elena Kuschnerova, the Warsaw Philharmonic ). This itself can be a valuable teaching point, because your students will have to discriminate between good and bad performances.

Searching can be problematic because titles are very abbreviated and non-standardized. For instance, to find Chopin's Waltz in B minor Op. 69 no. 2, you might try any or all of these searches:

chopin waltz b chopin waltz bm chopin waltz 69 chopin valse b

chopin 69 chopin valse chopin waltz waltz


Midi files

Several sites, including, have a wide range of classical midi files available. Again, these range in quality from terrible to OK. Some are recorded by actual musicians (playing, for instance, a Yamaha Disklavier), but most are entered note-by-note into notation programs.

I love to play these terrible performances for my students, and after they have finished retching, ask, "But what was wrong with that performance? There were no mistakes and every accent, staccato, and dynamic marking was followed to the T . . . ", a new site, specializes in midi accompaniments to vocal works and concertos. This has the potential to be really fun and useful, especially when paired with software (starting to be perfected, see and that can automatically synchronize with and follow the student who is playing/singing the solo.

Find Downloadable/Printable Sheet Music:,,

You can find a good deal of free sheet music on the internet, and several companies sell music that you can download and print, usually at quite reasonable prices.

Usually you must have some kind of specialized software to view and print the software. Usually this special software is free for the download from the site that requires it. But it can be annoying to install special software just to print one or two pieces.

Buy Useful Items

The internet is very useful for tracking down hard-to-find items, because you can search nationally or even world-wide, not just in your own town or city.


You can find most any book in print, and many out of print.

Music Books/Sheet Music:,

I have honestly had more luck calling knowledgeable local music stores (most of whom will mail you the order at a lower shipping rate the internet stores will) about music books, simply because searching for specific music books is a nightmare unless you already know the exact title and publisher.

Used Books:

Often interesting books about music are out of print. Often you can find them online.

Music Software:,,

Some inexpensive and free music software can be found online. Some software you can order and it will come in a box like software you would buy in a store. But much useful software can be downloaded from the internet directly to your computer.

At general software sites, search for terms like "music", "piano", "ear training", and so on.

Computer Equipment/Electronic Music Equipment:,,,

If you are purchasing computer equipment or electronic music equipment, you will almost always be able to find it better and cheaper online. Example: I bought a 10mbs network card at a local store for $45. When it didn't work, I searched online and found a 100mbs network card for $12. 10x better for 1/4 the price . . .

Downside: you (or a helpful friend) needs to know exactly what you want and how to use it. Much information for computer and electronic equipment can be found online, if you have the time to research. But if you don't have the time or the knowledge, it is well worth it to pay a helpful and knowledgeable local computer/electronics store more money for worse equipment. If your local store isn't helpful and knowledgeable, however, you might as well save the money and shop on the internet.

If you know the make and model number of a piece of equipment you want to buy, you can often find an amazing amount of information about that item simply by searching the internet for something like "panasonic sv-3800". Be sure to search usenet also (, because that is where people write to complain about faulty items or get help from other users of the product.



The second revolutionary aspect of the internet is that you can instantly and inexpensively communicate with individuals and groups around the world with whom you share common interests. There may be only two people in your county interested in Braille music, but when those two people from every county in the U.S. meet on the internet, suddenly there is large and helpful community of Braille music users instead of a widely dispersed group of lonely and frustrated people.


Usenet is a huge network of worldwide discussion groups covering every imaginable subject. Because anyone can post anything to most usenet newsgroups, there can be a tremendous amount of "garbage" to before you find the few gems.

In Netscape you may be able to access usenet groups through the menu "Communicator/Messenger" (whether you can access the groups or not depends on your internet provider and whether you have set Netscape up correctly)

You can always access usenet through You can read discussion groups, post messages, and search for messages and newsgroups. Usenet is especially useful because you can post questions and (sometimes) get helpful answers.

A sampling of useful newsgroups for musicians:

Email Lists:,

Email lists come to your email box. There are three main types of email lists

ü HINT: Most good email software (Eudora, Pine, Outlook) can sort all incoming messages from a certain email list into a special folder for that list. That way you don't have to manually pick out list messages from all your other email. You can go to the special folder and read email from the list when you have time and interest, and easily do mass deletions of list email when you don't have time to read. In Eudora this feature is called "filters".

Like usenet, email lists are valuable because you can interact with others with your interests, and sometimes even with respected experts in the field. You can post questions and discuss topics or problems that are of special interest to you. For example, when I was doing research on my doctoral research projects, I had many hints

Bulletin Boards:

A bulletin board is a discussion forum on the world-wide web. You just type the bulletin board's address in your world-wide web browser and you're ready to join the discussion.

Some people prefer to chat via bulletin boards rather than email lists, because the messages don't clutter up their emailbox. Messages can be check on the WWW as often or as seldom as you wish.



The third revolutionary aspect of the internet is that you can instantly and inexpensively publish written works, sheet music, and recorded music, and make it available to a potential audience of millions.

I have personally had over 100,000 internet listens to my CD-quality MP3 files (how many CDs sell 100,000 copies?) and one single piece of sheet music has been downloaded over 40,000 times (how many pieces of commercial sheet music sell over 40,000 copies?), all with financial outlay of near $0. A little booklet I made with suggestions for practicing, intending to distribute it to my own private students, has now been read by over 18,000 internet users.

If you are already engaged in writing, composing, recording, teaching, or advocating certain ideas, the internet can have a wonderful multiplying effect on your efforts. Information you prepared for a single class (30 students) might be of interest to hundreds or thousands of internet users worldwide.

How do I do it?

Detailed instructions on how to publish information, recorded music, and sheet music on the internet are almost impossible to pin down, because the details change (literally!) week by week. The best answer to the question "How do I do X on the internet?" is "Look on the internet to find out!"

If you want to publish MP3 recordings to the internet, look on for detailed instructions and helpful discussion forums. Use search engines to answer questions like "how do I transfer a sound recording to my computer?", "how do I convert a sound file to mp3 format", "what mp3 conversion software is best", or "where can I upload my mp3 files".

Expect to spend some time figuring things out and experimenting. A knowledgeable friend (often someone under age 20) can be an invaluable asset. For instance, creating an MP3 file and uploading it to an MP3 web site is a process with at least five separate steps. So many things can possibly go wrong in each of those steps--everything from faulty cables to faulty software drivers--that it would be impossible to list them all! Often a friend who has already been through the process can instantly suggest solutions to the inevitable problems that arise.

Recordings on,

Students love to have their own performances online. The possibility of putting their performance online can be a real incentive for practicing.

Good performances of simple pieces are perfectly acceptable for uploading to a place like (far better that than awful performances of difficult repertoire that are so often found!). With luck, the internet will eventually have a huge repository of decent performances of simple pieces. Such a library of recordings could be very helpful to music students and teachers.

How to upload a piece to

Detailed instructions can be found at (look for artist login, then find the Artist FAQ), but in general the process would be something like this:

    1. Make an artist account at (
    2. Recording your performance using audio tape, DAT tape, or whatever you normally use.
    3. Transfer your recording to your computer. Plug your recorder into your soundcard (special cable required) and use a program like GoldWave ( or CoolEdit ( to record the tape into your computer. Save the sound file as a ".wav" file.
    4. Use a program like MusicMatch ( to convert your wav file into an mp3.file.
    5. Logon to and upload the mp3 file you have made.
    6. Sit around waiting for the masses to discover your magnificent creation.


Broadcast on Internet Radio:,

Having your own internet radio station is a lot like uploading your recordings to You put recordings online, and users can log in and listen to them. There are some advantages and disadvantages to the "internet radio station" approach, however:



Detailed instructions for creating your own internet radio broadcast are found on

Run your own Bulletin Board or Email List:,

Several sites allow you to run your own bulletin board or email list for free. This can be an easy and inexpensive way to keep in contact with students and families, and for students to keep in contact and get to know each other better.

You could send weekly announcements about your studio. You could have students write short weekly updates on their progress (and read the weekly update everyone else has written). You could assign students to write short reports about their music or general topics in music history, theory, etc., and post them on the bulletin board or email list.

Make your own Web Page

You can use a web page to communicate with students or give them access to your policies, historical information, the yearly schedule, ideas on piano technique, etc.

Student love to make web pages. If you're having them do research or write reports anyway (say, in a class situation or during special summer sessions), having the students put their finished product on the web is a great way to give these assignments a real purpose. Putting work on the internet is a real incentive to create quality work. Students know that an ill-prepared report will be embarrassing, because it will be there on the internet for (potentially) millions of people to view.


The "easy" way to make a web page is to take material that you have already written (for students, for a class . . . ) and turn it into a web page. The same basic procedure works for both Macs and Windows PCs.

Here are the steps:

A. Sign up for your web space

    1. Go to the "Apps" folder and start Netscape. Make sure you are using Netscape. DO NOT use Internet Explorer, because it WON'T WORK!
    2. Get a free, unlimited size web account at Click on "Sign up here!" and follow the instructions to sign up.
    3. WRITE DOWN your NBCi username and password so that you don't forget them. Notice that username and password are CASE SENSITIVE: Jack, jack, and JACK are all different usernames.

[Because requires email confirmation before your web page is activated, we won't use your actual account today. We will use a special account I setup for us to practice with. All steps will be identical, though, except that the USERNAME and PASSWORD will be different.]

B. Make your first web page

    1. Start Netscape Composer (Menu "Communicator/Composer")
    2. In Netscape Composer, edit the web page just as you would in a word processor. For now, just make up some nonsense so that your web page will have something on it.
    3. To upload the page to the WWW, click on File/Publish.
    4. On the Publish: dialogue box, fill in this information (some may be pre-filled out):
    5. HTML Filename: pickafilename.html [choose your filename; something different

      from what everyone else picks; WWW

      filenames usually end with ".html"]

      HTTP or FTP Location

      to publish to:

      User name: brenthugh [at home, use whatever username/password

      Password: convention you chose earlier when you signed up]

      When all information is filled out, click OK.

    6. You receive a message "Upload Successful".
    7. See what your creation looks like by switching to Netscape Navigator and going to

[Of course you must substitute your actual filename for pickafilename]

C. Edit your web page

    1. In Netscape, in the "Location" line, enter

    3. Netscape will ask for the password. Enter
    4. convention

    5. A directory listing appears. Click on the name of the file you want to edit (brent.html, bradley.html, etc.).
    6. In the main Netscape screen, you now should see the file you want to edit.
    7. Click on File/Edit Page. This opens Netscape Composer.
    8. In Netscape Composer, edit the document just as you would in a word processor. Make your additions to the WWW document.
    9. To upload the page to the WWW, click on File/Publish.
    10. On the Publish: dialogue box, fill in this information (some may be pre-filled out):
    11. HTML Filename: [enter the filename you loaded]

      HTTP or FTP Location to publish to:

      User name: brenthugh

      Password: convention

      When all information is filled out, click OK.

    12. You receive a message "Upload Successful".
    13. Again, check the final result by switching to Netscape Navigator and going to

D: Convert a Microsoft Word Document to a Web Page

    1. Open Microsoft Word (double-click on "apps", then double-click "Word")
    2. Open a document you have already made, or create a new document. (Be sure to save it!)
    3. Save the document as a WWW (HTML) document:
    4. Click "File/Save as HTML"

      Choose a location and a name for the document


    5. Go to Netscape Composer.
    6. Open the document:
    7. Click "File/Open Page"

      Click "Choose File"

      Click around to the same directory where you saved the HTML file from Microsoft Word

      Select that HTML file and open it

    8. You should see the file in Netscape Composer now. Edit it as necessary.
    9. Upload the file to your website using the by-now-familiar procedure: Click on File/Publish.
    10. On the Publish: dialogue box, fill in this information (some may be pre-filled out):

HTML Filename: [enter whatever filename you want.html]

HTTP or FTP Location to publish to:

User name: brenthugh

Password: convention

When all information is filled out, click OK.

    1. You receive a message "Upload Successful".
    2. Again, check the final result by switching to Netscape Navigator and going to

ü HINT: This same procedure should work with WORDPERFECT files also, with only slight modifications in details. Your copy of either WORD or WORDPERFECT needs to be relatively modern, however (say, 1997 or newer), to be able to "save as html".

E: Publicize your web page

1. View your newly created web page by going to

2. Select the entire website address in Netscape by clicking and dragging the mouse over it.

3. Press "CTRL-C" to copy that website address.

ü HINT: The purpose of steps 1-3 is to make sure there is really a website at that address and to get a copy of the ACCURATE website address. Later we will use "CTRL-V" to paste that address where we need it. Website addresses are not easy to type, and copying and pasting website addresses this way will save you countless headaches caused by typing your website address incorrectly when, for instance, emailing the address to a friend . . .

4. Go to web page

5. Put your cursor in the "URL" entry box and press "CTRL-V". Now your accurate website address should be in the box.

6. Type your email address in the box as requested.

7. Press the button labeled "Register your site"

8. Abracabra! In 4-12 months your page will start showing up in the major search engines and strange, random people will begin to visit your WWW page.

9. You can also use a similar procedure to submit your page to

This is a little better, but also a little more complicated than the submission.

10. You can track how many people visit your web page and where they came from: (look for NedStat Basic)



Congratulations! You're now an Internet Expert!


Alternate Free Web Hosting Sites

1. To sign up for your site, go to

2. When you use Netscape Composer, use this information:

HTML Filename: pickafilename.html [choose your filename; something different

from what everyone else picks; WWW

filenames usually end with ".html"]

HTTP or FTP Location

to publish to:

User name: mmta [at home, use whatever username/password

Password: convention you chose earlier when you signed up]

When all information is filled out, click OK.

3. To view your page, go to

1. To sign up for your site, go to

Then click on "Sign Up"


HTML Filename: pickafilename.html

[choose your own filename; WWW filenames usually end with ".html"]

HTTP or FTP Location to publish to:

User name: mmtaconv [at home, use whatever username/password

Password: convention you chose earlier when you signed up]

When all information is filled out, click OK.

3. To view your page, go to