Get started on your musical dreams at the library

  • Posted: Sunday, December 29, 2013 12:01 a.m.

The American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, “Music is the universal language of mankind.” Some of us speak that language quite beautifully while others are not fluent at all. Rowan Public Library hosts many programs during the year that celebrate music and has many resources to assist in learning about music.

Music by definition is the art or science of vocal or instrumental sounds having rhythm, melody and harmony. If you don’t know much about music and want to learn the basics, a good place to start is with a book or two. “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Music Theory” and “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Music Composition” are two popular books at the library. The book on theory explains the language of music (keys and scales) while the composition book explains chords, melodies and structure. Michael Miller, the author of both books, writes in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step manner. Learning simple techniques explained in the books will help you understand music and perhaps get you started writing some of your own.

If you happen to write music and want to know how you can get published, check out the 2013 “Songwriter’s Market.” Inside it you will find songwriting tips and inspirational stories as well as information about royalties and copyrights. Contact information for important players in the music industry is also included.

If you’ve ever promised yourself you’d learn how to play an instrument (or play it better), the library’s shelves are full of helpful items. For instance, if you want to learn how to play the guitar, several books can get you started. “Total Guitar,” by Terry Burrows, and “The Complete Guitar Course,” by Tom Fleming, are both good choices. You can learn everything from how a guitar is made to strumming your first chords. If you’re more of an audio-visual learner, be sure to check out an instructional DVD such as “The Hal Leonard Guitar Method.” If your instrument of choice happens to be piano or the drums, you’ll find several resources at the library about those, as well.

If music history interests you, you’ll want to thumb through “The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll.” While a little dated, it has a lot of good information about legends of rock from Elvis Presley to Bruce Springsteen. A newer rock encyclopedia is “Rock Chronicles,” which profiles 250 of the most popular rock bands in history.

Don’t forget that the library will continue to host the Cheerwine Music Hour Concert Series this winter. The concerts are free and open to the public. On Tuesday, Jan. 14, Richard Smith, fingerstyle guitar virtuoso, is the performer. On Thursday, Feb. 13, Mipso, a young musical trio from Chapel Hill who blend Appalachian music with folk, rock and roll, and bluegrass, will be featured. Both concerts begin at 7 p.m. in the Stanback Auditorium at RPL Headquarters in Salisbury.

If you want to learn more about music, or if you’ve made a resolution to finally play a certain instrument, the library can help. If you want to let some music warm your heart this winter, make plans to attend the library’s concert series.

JR’s Adventure Club: Jan. 4, 11 a.m., headquarters. Build an Arctic village for this month’s adventure program. Open to children of all ages. Call 704-216-8234 to learn more.

Holiday library hours — Monday, close at 7 p.m.; Tuesday, close at 5 p.m.; Wednesday, closed for New Year’s Day.

Displays for December: headquarters, Waterworks; South, watercolors by Caroline Marshall; East, holiday by Mary Earnhardt.

Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.

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