How do you learn a new song?
Do you rely solely on your listening skills or do you turn to sheet music for some guidance?
Where do you buy your sheet music?
Some singers rely solely on their natural talent to hear and produce sounds without referencing music notation. They hear a song and are able to reproduce the smallest nuances in rhythm and melody.
On the other hand, some singers use sheet music to learn a new song.
They use their knowledge of music notation to determine how low or high the notes are, note duration, pauses, relationship to accompaniment etc.
Another reason for singers to use sheet music is that it is required at some auditions or singing competitions. Accompanists at festivals or recitals also require sheet music.
Singing with a group or in a choir also involves using sheet music.
I, personally, belong to the second group of singers.
When learning a new song, I first listen to it several times but then I look at sheet music to analyze the “challenging” parts of the song.
Therefore, I use websites with free or paid sheet music.
A while ago, I introduced you to one of my favourite website for free sheet music, Chromatik.
You can read about it in my previous blog post: Free Sheet Music: Chromatik. Although, I love Chromatik, the choice of songs and arrangements is limited because it is a free service.
Today, I would like to introduce you to a website with paid sheet music, called “Music Notes” at www.musicnotes.com.
Many of you may already be familiar with this website and their services but I want to tell you about all the perks that come with this service (you may not be aware of).
Sometimes, we recognize the obvious purpose of a website – getting sheet music but we don’t dig deep enough to appreciate all the tools offered.
I have done the digging for you in this blog post.
I have been using Music Notes sheet music and their tools for a long time.
When I started, they did not have all the tools they offer today.
I used only printable sheet music at that time.
Over time, they have developed some tools that I use almost daily and I have been very happy with their service.
What is Musicnotes.com?
Let’s start with the obvious facts:
Musicnotes.com is a website for downloading and printing sheet music and guitar tabs.
They have nearly 300,000 arrangements and over 4.5 million customers.
I am one of them.
Whenever I need original printable sheet music (for festivals, recitals), I use Musicnotes.com.
There are several reasons why I use this website.
The average price for a single printout with good quality arrangement is around $5 across all websites. Some musical scores are cheaper if the arrangement is simple.
But Musicnotes.com offers something extra.
First, they have an amazing selection of songs.
I always found what I was looking for with the exception of some “unconventional” music pieces and some very new songs. However, they make a great effort to publish new songs as soon as possible.
For example, they offered sheet music from the movie “Fifty Shades of Grey” even before the movie came out.
Music Notes also has a great choice of arrangements (for different levels and musical instruments).
Just look at this picture: the results for “Moondance” by Van Morrison are a page long!
Other websites cannot compare with Musicnotes.com.
Musicnotes.com allows users to preview the first page of the music.
Here is a sample preview with some great features.
I always check information about the voice range (it is great to know if the song is in my vocal range).
You can not only see the first page but listen to it too! The preview will play the first page so you can assess the arrangement or difficulty of a song.
The newest songs also have a little Youtube video to remind you of the original song (see picture below).
Another fantastic feature that I use very often is the ability to transpose a song to a more suitable key.
And you can preview and listen to the transposed piece before you purchase/print it!
This feature is useful for anyone who does not play an instrument and is unable to readily modify the song.
The magic happens after you purchase a song.
As expected, you can instantly download and printout digital sheet music and guitar tab titles (you can print it only once though).
The best feature of this service is the ability to play the whole song on your computer or mobile device, take it with you wherever you go and practice your singing far away from the piano, Youtube or Wifi.
It is like having your own accompanist with you all the time!
I play piano a little bit but cannot accompany myself when singing.
So this feature is invaluable for me.
The service comes with a free Musicnotes Viewer and Player.
This is a piece of software that you download to your computer for free.
There is also a free app for mobile devices that has the same function.
This software and app automatically import your purchased sheet music.
Once in your computer or device, you can display the notation on the screen, listen to the playback, adjust tempo to suit your level, change the key of the song (you can transpose the song after you have purchased it to any key), select instruments (you can turn the leading vocals on or off so you can practice with or without them or you can turn off the accompaniment and practice with just the leading vocals), select specific parts of the song to practice over and over again, click on one note to match the pitch and much more.
The notes and the lyrics that are currently being played turn red so you can easily orient yourself.
The pages turn automatically too, so there is no need to tap or swipe the screen.
This is like having a karaoke machine at home!
There is an additional feature on the Musicnotes Player for iPad and iPhone, which lets you use a built-in pen, highlight and type tools to mark up your sheet music.
Video: Your Sheet Music, Anywhere the Music Moves You
Digital Discount Club
I buy a significant amount of Musicnotes.com sheet music so I have signed up to be a member of the Digital Discount Club.
It costs $7.99 per year and I receive 10% off every purchase I make.
I have also signed up for the Rewards Program (it’s free, so why not?) that lets me collect points for my purchases and exchange them for perks.
I truly believe that musicnotes.com is a great websites offering an invaluable service to all singers.
So, the next time you need popular songs sheet music or sheet music for piano for your accompanist, or you need a “virtual accompanist” for your next song, remember this blog post and try the service yourself.
You can access it here: www.musicnotes.com
Note: Firefox is the preferred browser for viewing and printing music.
To read about free sheet music, click here: Free Sheet Music:Chromatik.