While garage bands may have been the traditional way that teenagers got together, computers and the internet are allowing people to produce their own music and promote it online.
With such a range of options, where should you start? What areas of the internet are useful for musicians and in what way? Here are some suggestions and tips for budding musicians working and learning from home.
Why are online resources important?
Breaking into the music industry in any form is difficult. In 2019 over 1,500 independent musicians were working in the United States and this figure should worry anyone with dreams of making it big.
When Covid hit, live venues became very limited for musicians all over the world as if making a living from music wasn’t hard enough already. Even if you are only looking at music as a hobby, any help that you can get should be taken.
The internet offers valuable paid-for and very often, free, tools and advice that you can use to improve your mixing, recording, lyric writing, and instrument playing.
Below you will see various applications and websites that can be used for different musical purposes.
Possibly the biggest library for musicians is YouTube. Of course, it is full of music by famous artists and bands, plus amateurs playing their latest creations, but it is also full of advice and tips.
Not everyone can afford to take lessons for playing musical instruments so YouTube comes in very handy then. Many musicians and tutors have put up videos of themselves giving simple lessons for playing the guitar or the piano. If you are struggling with your guitar then search for F chord guitar for instance on YouTube and you will be presented with some video options.
YouTube is also a great place to showcase your music once you feel confident in your compositions. You can create your own channel and develop a following and you may even be discovered.
GarageBand and other DAWs
Digital Audio Workstations or DAWs allow the individual to record, mix, compose, produce, and edit music files. They range in cost from absolutely free to thousands of dollars, and they are invaluable to any musician wanting to create music at home.
GarageBand from Apple is one such digital audio workstation and it has been free to download for some years now. The popularity of GarageBand can be explained by the fact that it is easy to use by beginners and complex enough that professionals would be interested in it. Indeed, Radiohead and Gorillaz have both recorded music using GarageBand.
For those that are relying on mobile devices, you will be pleased to know that GarageBand is available on iPhone and iPad too so it can be used on the go too.
How to learn chords and new songs
If you are planning to buy your first guitar then you will be looking for some tips, and once you have your instrument you will want to know how to play it.
Learning the guitar can seem a little daunting but there is plenty of help out there. Using a guitar teacher is a great way to get ahead but if that isn’t available to you then the internet is.
When you start learning the guitar you must practice. That doesn’t mean burn yourself out with long sessions but practicing regularly will help you to improve and learn chords.
Getting all those chords can be tricky and when you are feeling confident it can be hard to know what songs to learn next. Fortunately, there are resources online to help learn chords for different songs and they work for piano and ukulele too.
Some music education websites will take the chords from a song so that a musician can learn them easily. In the past, you would have had to go and buy printed sheet music, if they even had the song you wanted, but now it is done online. Visit a website such as Chordify and upload the song you want to learn. The software will then display the guitar chords you are looking for from that song.
Writing lyrics and songs
The Google Play Store has over 2.5 million apps available for download and fortunately for musicians, many of them are for music. Out of these apps, a number are designed to help individuals write music and lyrics.
Here are a few of those apps:
- Rhymer’s Block
- Songwriter Lite
- Lyric Notepad
- Word Palette
All of these apps can help songwriters in different ways. Rhymer’s Block does exactly what it sounds like. Anyone struggling with making their lyrics rhyme can use this app to find slant rhymes or near rhymes. The app will highlight rhymes as you go and you can share your work with other musicians on The Block and give and receive feedback.
Another app that is big on sharing creations is SongSpace. This app lets you share your lyrics and songs with other people, such as a writing partner. They can then read and edit the songs so you can collaborate even when you are miles apart.
Gaining feedback, meeting musicians, and promoting work
An important part of making music and learning is to receive feedback. You may also want to meet other musicians and find a writing partner or try to start a band. There are lots of resources available to help musicians in these ways.
Vampr is the top app for musicians who want to meet up or communicate about ideas for music. Vampr has been described as Tinder for musicians and actually has a similar interface as you have to swipe left or right. However, instead of looking for a date, you will be searching for future bandmates, music professionals, or other useful contacts. Vampr also lets musicians monetize their music and integrates with both YouTube and SoundCloud.
You already know that YouTube can be useful for presenting your music and gaining exposure and feedback, but there is another handy platform. SoundCloud allows you to upload, share, and promote your own music and is billed as the world’s biggest community of musicians.
Whether you are learning as a child or looking for tips for learning music as an adult, online resources can be invaluable. There are tools available for lyric writing, recording, mixing, and platforms for promoting your music too.
Many music production tools and platforms are completely free. You can pick up music lessons on YouTube, or at least learn some basics and a few tips. When it is time to learn new songs, pick the one you want and upload it to receive the guitar chords.
Once you’re producing music you are happy with, you might even be able to sell it online too and become one of the lucky musicians who make cash from their beloved hobby.