The Music Student’s Guide to Online Resources

A few weeks ago, I achieved a technological milestone upon the acquisition of my very first iPhone. As much as I loved my LG Verizon flip phone, and the reactions I elicited when I whipped it out in public (“Whoa, I haven’t seen one of those since 2009!!”), the fact that it was taking me five minutes to respond to a single text message finally pushed me over the (cutting) edge and into the twenty-first century. As I’ve been marveling at the wonders manifested in Google maps, Data plans and Siri (who, incidentally, makes a great conversation partner on long commutes), I’ve often thought about just how many more resources are available to the high school-age generation than there were when I was that age (back in the technological dark ages of 2004). Not only can we look up pretty much anything at the tap of a screen, but there are now a wealth of music-related blogs and websites as well. Here is a brief compilation of some sites of note, and why you should check them out: A great site for news and commentary on the orchestra scene, as well as editorial style blogs on issues pertinent to the classical music community as a whole. Based out of the Eastman School of Music’s Institute for Music leadership, Polyphonic’s contributors range from prominent orchestra musicians to conservatory presidents to young professionals (like myself!). An excellent resource for violinists and other string players alike; while the posts are often focused on technical issues specific to the violin, there are also a lot of topics covered, such as musical entrepreneurship, that are relevant to all musicians.

The Bulletproof Musician: A fascinating personal blog that explores the psychological aspects of performing and practicing, maintained by Noa Kogeyama. Noa’s multifaceted background has given him an invaluable perspective on these matters; he holds a doctorate in psychology as well as multiple degrees in Violin Performance  All of his posts are great, but I would particularly recommend checking out his advice pieces on overcoming performance anxiety–they have definitely helped me in performances! Another instrument-exclusive site, this time for cellists. Founded by former Cleveland Quartet cellist and NEC prof Paul Katz, the site contains video lessons, blogs from prominent cellists, a job section – and much more. As a cellist myself, I’ve greatly benefited from this site. – If you’re considering colleges, this site’s for you! It features a plethora of resources geared towards the prospective music major including blogs, rankings, commentary and more. – And if you’re OUT of college and gainfully unemployed, here’s a good site to help you get started; most orchestra openings are posted here. – An excellent blog maintained by music critic and arts commentator Greg Sandow, often focusing on issues such as audience engagement and musical entrepreneurship.

Song of the Lark – A personal blog by violinist Emily Hogstad that rose to prominence during the Minnesota Orchestra lockout. Emily has a great way of thoroughly investigating the issues at hand in volatile orchestral negotiations, and is pretty much spot on in her analyses. If you want to understand the truth of the orchestra scene – and how it can be changed – this is your site. – At the risk of being accused of shameless self-promotion, I am including my own blog in this compilation. I am not listing it just to garner some extra views, though – I believe passionately in what my co-founder and I are doing with this site, which we launched back in June. Essentially, our goal is to feature positive and innovative trends in both the classical music world and the broader music industry, and we do so through a variety of videos and blog posts. Pretty much every week, we feature a new organization or individual that is involved in a project or initiative dedicated to promoting positive change through music, and we’ve been quite humbled by the enthusiastic response we’ve received thus far–our contributors have ranged from conservatory presidents to published novelists to freelancers. So, if you’re feeling fed up with the negative news we tend to hear about the music world, head on over to Musicovation for an encouraging dose of positivity!

Of course, these sites are just the tip of the iceberg – they are many more blogs and news sites out there, and most of them are fairly reliable. But, this should be enough to get you started. So don’t wait! You are lucky to come of age at a time where all of this information is so readily available – take advantage of it!

—Zachary Preucil

Comment below with any other websites you find helpful!

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