Noteworthy Music Sites

Musical Instrument Museum
A Smithsonian Institute affiliate, the Musical Instrument Museum is touted as the world’s only global music instrument museum, and the MIM’s website offers the full expanse of this diverse institution. The amount of inclusion in the site is manifold; from a fully stocked calendar that boasts of events such as MIMKids Mini Music Makers courses, orientation tours that run daily, and an exhibition page that details exhibits offered by the museum, past and present, to an extensive concert calendar that includes an ample and thorough biography of the selected performers and their dates of performance.
The MIM’s website does a substantial job at conveying the overwhelming sense of eager reception and cultural embrace that is doubtlessly abundantly available when one is listening to the music in person. Moreover, the MIM’s collection of instruments and musical artifacts from around the world exceeds 15,000, and they have more than 6,000 on display at any one moment. It’s this accrual of culturally stimulating and significant articles that perhaps influences the most inclusive facet of the MIM’s website – education. Providing pages for student tours, youth group tours, educator resources, family weekend trips and artist workshops and residency, it’s the Musical Instruments Museum’s desire to teach, to educate and to embrace that makes this website such a welcoming place to visit.

The Science of Music: Accidental Scientist
The Science of Music, a website sheltered within the Exploratorium, the Museum of Science, Art and Human Perception, makes no mistake about its willingness to traverse the vast realm of music, or, rather, what we define as music. The homepage clearly identifies that music is a fluid and dynamic thing, and the site is concerned most of all with exploring those darkened corners of what music is, and what it could be. Asking questions like “What is music? Is birdsong music? How about the tap-tap-tap of a hammer, or the wail of a creaking door?” along with offering online exhibits such as a “Dot Mixer” where users can manipulate and warp the sound of sampled music and a “Step Re-Mix” where users can utilize claps, stomps and combinations of both to create a tonal medley of sound, the Science of Music website is an experimental offering that could be, for those music adventurers who dare to venture forth into the avant-garde and unorthodox, a bounty of food-for-thought and ideas to mull over.

Piano Nanny
Piano Nanny is, in name and function, an appropriately chosen designation for this public piano tutorial service. Having acquired “Piano on the Net,” an original online and free piano lesson music course, Piano Nanny walks the visitor, whether they’re a wide-eyed neophyte or a seasoned longtime player, through an extensive assortment of studies ranging in three different gradations of difficulty -- beginner, intermediate and advanced. The Web site is straightforward with easy-to-understand lessons that include music notation, tablature, and supplementary audio clips on Piano Nanny. The site imparts online piano instruction, and is a useful resource for those who are searching for online piano study unencumbered by banner ads.

Arts Alive
The Students page of the National Arts Centre seems enthusiastic about inspiring a love for music in younger generations. The Web site has an easily understandable format and makes the opportunity for younger students of music to find their way around the page without feeling their budding passion quelled by an over-complicated site. The page also incorporates the practical application of practice and study with the inspiring aspects of perfecting the craft of music, with FAQ’s for students to ask for advice from real musicians and gain some insight into expert opinions. The site also offers videos and performances of musicians for study. And the Arts Alive student page combines these stimulating tutorials with a diverse educational outlook on music, such as a “Discover the Composers” page and an opportunity to hear and watch the National Arts Centre Orchestra perform.

by Andrew Chauvin