When I was a kid and I was excited about learning to sing or play a new song, my mom would take me on a music book hunt. We’d visit all the local music stores (who usually had a fairly limited selection), hoping to eventually get our hands on what I was looking for. Invariably, my mom would have to blow a bunch of money on an entire songbook to access the one song I wanted to sing, so of course, when I wanted to sing “Lost in the Wilderness,” we had to buy the Children of Eden songbook. Sheet music on demand was not invented yet.
To make matters more difficult, “Lost in the Wilderness” is written in a male key, and to be able to sing it, I needed to transpose the entire song. I still have my childhood sheet music with messy transposed chords written on top of the original ones so that I’d have a shot at singing that song at my voice lessons.
None of these problems are relatable to music students today. When my students request a song, I just send them a link to musicnotes.com and ask them to download and purchase a song for a few dollars. If I wanted to sing “Lost in the Wilderness,” I’d just go to this link and buy and print it, or more likely, download it onto the musicnotes app on my iPad. Instead of transposing it myself, I’d go to the side panel with the transpose option and pick the perfect key for no extra charge.
If you miss being able to look through large books of music, you can still browse selections of piano music, guitar tabs, and a wide variety of other instrumental or vocal music for new ideas. There’s always new music coming out, and most likely, if the music is in print and being sold anywhere, you can find it at this site.
There’s an astounding number of benefits of playing music, from increasing the volume of grey matter in our brains, to developing social bonds, to keeping us sharper in old age. Take a look at this excellent infographic for even more reasons to make music. These wonderful resources like musicnotes.com make learning to sing and play the music that brings us the most joy more accessible than ever. I would have loved to have that kind of access to sheet music when I was a child, but I’m glad that I have it as an adult and particularly glad that my students get to sing and play whatever inspires them most.