Recommended Websites

Here are some of my highlights of useful links around the internet. The list got so long that it made sense to create subcategories, so click on the links below to jump to the relevant category:

Exam Boards

Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music – I prepare students for singing and theory exams as offered by ABRSM. Their website lists all the syllabi for these grades and offers a wide range of other information.

London College of Music – This exam board offers a contrast with ABRSM, and I enjoy submitting students for the Music Theatre Performance exams. The Leisure Play and video-based exams also offer flexibility if ABRSM doesn’t suit the needs of a student. LCM is also the only board to offer composition exams.

Trinity College London – I have become completely converted to the Trinity theory exam syllabus, which offers a much better progression than the ABRSM programme. Trinity also offer an ‘initial’ grade for singers, which provides a good alternative to, or follow on from, the ABRSM Prep test (which is ungraded).

Sheet Music Shops and Downloads

Musicroom – The best UK site to buy sheet music books from. Helpfully, this site is also linked with a large number of music shops in UK towns and cities, which means you can ‘click and collect’ on popular titles, saving delivery charges. They also have a loyalty points scheme and offer educator discounts. What more could you want?

Music Notes – The biggest music download site. Based in the USA, but offers reasonable prices, and a wide range of arrangements of many songs. Often the place to go for the ‘latest’ in music theatre sheet music releases.

Boosey & Hawkes – This link takes you to the page from this shop which sorts their stock by exam board and grade. Very useful if you’re trying to track down an unusual book.

Schubertline – Covers most music that’s out of copyright. Music can be bought and downloaded on an individual basis, or you can buy a subscription which allows unlimited downloads for a given period.

Lin Marsh Store – One of the frequently listed names on the lower grade lists, Lin Marsh produces lovely songs for young voices and beginners. You can now purchase her songs as individual downloads on her website.

ISMLP / Pettruci Music Library – Online repository for out of print music. You have to be careful about how old it is, as copyright laws vary internationally and what’s out of copyright in Canada might not be here. Exceedingly useful for checking ranges, and seeing the context of songs in operas etc. Also has some very unusual or out of print scores. Singers can download Vaccai and Marchesi studies for free.

Hanon Online [For Pianists] – Online site with all the Hanon exercises in all the keys, available as pdf downloads, and with a recording of each exercise. Great technical exercises for free.

Bel Canto Forum Library [For Singers] – An online repository of all the great singing technique texts.

Backing Tracks

Piano Tracks for Musicals – Recordings of a huge range of songs from musicals, and the list is growing all the time. Prices are very reasonable, and tracks not listed can be made available on request at a greater cost. A *NEW* section for ABRSM exam backing tracks has been added, with some of the more difficult to obtain backings such as the Disney and folk songs – click here to go there directly.

MP3 Accompanist – Sister site to Piano Tracks for Musicals providing classical backing tracks for opera and art songs etc.

Your Accompanist – Online, downloadable piano recordings largely of classical music. Offers tracked versions as well as original accompaniments.

Opera Karaoke – A more recent find, but similar to the others in style. Has a different range of songs again.

Practice Resources inc. Music Software

Metronome Online – A free online metronome to help with getting the timing right

Virtual Piano – An online piano to help you pitch a starting note, or work through the pitch of a difficult passage if you don’t have a piano at home.

Speedshifter – Software provided by ABRSM which will change the speed of an mp3 track without changing the pitch. Free to download for all platforms

Audacity – Market-leading audio recording and editing software that’ll not cost you a penny. Audacity is open-source, free and available for all platforms.

Musescore – Free music notation software that functions in a similar way to Sibelius. Available for all platforms.

Noteflight – Online music notation programme that’s free for a basic account, and then charges to have more instruments and scores saved.

Music Theory (Stuff that’s useful for exams)

Grade 6 Music Resources – My list of the best books around to help students pass their ABRSM Grade 6 music theory examinations.

Quizlet (Music) – Flashcard website. This link takes you to a search for “music” and there are hundreds of different sets you can use, or you can make your own.

My Music Theory – Great website which goes through the exam syllabus grade-by-grade in great detail. One of the only online resources to offer up to Grade 6. Access lessons online, or download pdf copies for a small fee.

JSB Chorales – For advanced students taking AB grades 6-8, or Trinity AMusTCL. This website has pdf copies of all the Bach Chorales along with mp3s to help with listening and analysing the key features of the harmonic style.

Tom Pankhurst’s Chorale Guide – Also for advanced students, this website has worksheets on how to write an effective chorale harmonisation, whether at A-Level, first year undergraduate, or advanced theory grades.

More About Music (Stuff that’s useful but not for exams)

Classics for Kids – Weekly featured composers with a five-minute audio podcast feed and loads of information.

Radio 3 Composer of the Week – Each week BBC Radio 3 features a particular composer with features on them each day. At the end of the week a one hour edited programme is released as a podcast and these remain available on the feed. UK access only, though.

Classic FM Discover – This UK radio station plays classical music all day, every day and is usually considered more accessible than BBC Radio 3 in style. Their website has some great resources on the history of classical music, and suggestions of music for various themes and events like weddings or studying. There’s also a section on film scores, since this makes up a large proportion of the more modern music they play.

Best Music Blogs

Pianimation – a great site for teacher resources and ideas, with lovely colourful worksheets and games

Color in My Piano – another lovely resources site

Bulletproof Musician – this blogger focuses on tips to overcome stage fright and perform with confidence. Very useful for the budding singer!

Tone Deaf Comics – follow the antics of the leaders of a high school band, along with the occasional one-off. This site also has a fantastic range of posters for sale (although the shipping from the USA is not cheap!)

Don’t Shoot the Pianist – comics mainly about piano playing, so I don’t always get them, but sometimes utterly hilarious.

ComposeCreate – Wendy has a great site with some lovely resources and an inspirational blog which will get you wanting to compose and create music.

Beth’s Music Notes – Beth regularly posts a huge range of international folk songs complete with neatly typed up music and primary school lesson plans. A fabulous source for working with young children, or for singers looking for inspiration for their unaccompanied traditional song.

UK-Wide Music Organisations

The British Kodaly Academy – This is the UK organisation for promoting Kodaly’s musicianship methods, and they produce and publish a great range of resources for teaching singing. They also run a range of courses throughout the year from one day tasters, to year-long accredited schemes.

Royal School of Church Music – Once an Anglican organisation, the RSCM now aims to promote teaching and training for church musicians across denominations. They publish a wonderful scheme called Voice for Life aimed at young church choirs. The scheme has three optional externally examined awards. The RSCM also runs a course for church music leaders called “Church Music Skills” which has four streams for organists, cantors, choir directors and music group leaders.

Scottish Music Organisations

National Youth Choir of Scotland (NYCoS) – Working across Scotland, NYCoS are the leading provider of Kodaly training in Scotland. They produced the wonderful Go for Bronze, Silver and Gold schemes I use in my teaching. Their Go for Gold scheme is now recognised by the ABRSM as a Grade 5 theory substitute for the choir members.

The Edinburgh (Classical) Music Scene

Usher Hall – Edinburgh’s main concert venue, housing the RSNO, SCO, and a range of other artists and events.
[Click for my reviews from this venue]

Edinburgh Playhouse – Home for most musical tours in Edinburgh, the playhouse is the largest theatre in the UK.
[Click for my reviews from this venue]

Royal Lyceum Theatre – The main repertory theatre, commissioning their own productions of classics and premieres of new works.
[Click for my reviews from this venue]