Music education does not end when you leave your lesson at Center Stage Music Center or when you conclude your daily practice session at home. Instead, music education is wide and impossible to contain, infused in our daily lives every time we talk about, think about and listen to music. For students of music, listening and exploring music from various genres, various countries, and various time periods is especially important, as this is how you further learn about the music that you want to create. This week, Center Stage wishes to introduce to you some tools to do just that.
- A personal favorite, RADIOOOOO, is an app perfect for the musical explorer. Organizing its collection of songs geographically and historically, RADIOOOOO allows its users to explore five continents (hence the five Os), housing a plethora of countries’ music from every decade in the twentieth century. Allowing users to toggle between “slow,” “fast,” and “weird” songs, in addition to thematic “islands”, the app crowdsources hundreds of song submissions from almost thirty thousand contributors (a 2016 figure). Submissions are then carefully selected by curators, who check for audio file quality and the submission’s fit to curatorial taste. For the young ones, there is also a “Kids Playground” “island” for exploration!
2. NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts began in 2008 after All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen and NPR Music Editor Stephen Thompson left South by Southwest, complaining that they could not hear the music over the crowd noise. Despite Thompson only joking that folk singer Laura Gibson should instead play at Boilen’s desk, Boilen later recorded Gibson doing just that and posted it online. The subsequent video series of live concerts in intimate settings, hosted by NPR Music, have since gained wide popularity – especially, during and after the COVID-19 pandemic with their “Artists At Home” series. Currently, they are running a “Hip-Hop 50: Rap At The Tiny Desk” series in commemoration of the genre’s 50th anniversary this year.
Check out one of the latest installments of this series with the iconic Nile Rodgers & CHIC here:
Here is also a Tiny Desk (Home) Concert with the punk teen band, The Linda Lindas:
3. NTS Radio, an online radio station based out of Hackney, London, features live radio channels, curated playlists from guest and residential DJs, and themed mixtapes. The app’s allure for music-lovers? About half of the music used cannot be found on Spotify. Take the opportunity to explore some new genres with the help of their genre tagging system as well; their Safe For Work section is a great start for those who rather not tap into the weird side of things just yet: Safe For Work | Listen on NTS. There’s also something for those interested in classical music – Sheet Music - Infinite Mixtapes | Listen on NTS – and for the young ones – NTS Is For The Children | Listen on NTS.
5. Can’t remember the name of a song that’s stuck in your head? Shazam is the app to solve all of your problems.
(SPECIAL TIP FOR MUSIC EXPLORATION: For those who have identified a sound that they’re interested in, I would also recommend digging into the song credits and exploring the discography of the song’s producers to break down the key elements that you enjoy!)
So now you’ve explored some more music. But how can you use apps to aid you in your daily practice? Well there are several technical apps that you might have heard the teachers here at Center Stage recommend before.
7. For the young ones, Center Stage’s Director, Veronica recommended Endless Learning Academy. While the app covers a range of topics from Handwriting to Counting, there is a Music section that is beneficial for our younger students to reinforce and build upon their private lessons.
8. Our drum teacher, Chris recommended Pro Metronome, for those looking for an at-home metronome to help you sync to the beat.
9. If you’re a guitar or bass student at Center Stage, you’ve probably been recommended to download Guitartuna before. As the most downloaded tuning app in the world, Guitartuna has over 100 tunings for 15 instruments, making it a fan-favorite.
10. For the young beginner music learners, check out this super fun note reading app Note Rush, that makes learning into a game.
As musicians and music lovers it is true that we eat, sleep and breathe music! We encourage you to take a look at these apps to keep your musical exploration and learning going outside of the CS classroom. If you have a favorite music app, we want to hear about it so drop us a comment below!