Sites for the serious musician.

Being a musician on this part of the planet isn't all the fun it's cut out to be on a holiday.

Your ambiguous occupational placement amidst your relatives makes for uninteresting tea-time conversation, and you simultaneously battle your own demons as you rediscover the lost art of air guitar. Despite your hard-earned mediocrity, you can never really keep your head above water in the ever-changing world of musicianship. Life tends to stagnate and before you know it, your technique begins to resemble the soundtrack of an old John Woo film (Dad, are you listening?)

However, before you break your amplifier in a fit of helplessness, there is a solution. The Web is an oasis of information for both the budding musician and the seasoned veteran, but could be a one-way ticket to nowhere if you don't know what you need.

Some sites really lay out the works, with their interactive sections and live updates. Others may be punctuated with more worthless information than you could ever care to count.

A musician needs more than just his/her share of tabulations and tips, and that's exactly what many sites offer. We've reviewed a few sites that are sure to keep you occupied until you reach your optimum potential as a musician (or until your neighbour lodges some form of formal complaint), and we're sure that they'll be just what the doctor ordered.

http://www.fender.com

Kicking off the list is the commercial web site for Fender musical instruments and merchandise. The site is dotted with a variety of promotions and advertisements for all their expensive prototype instruments that have little or no consequence to our financially backward lives.

However, the site is a valuable resource of information regarding retail pricing and availability of guitar and amplifier models on the open market. It also has sections that explain the details of various Fender guitars and amplifiers with subsections on six-strings, bass guitars, amplifiers and effect processors.

http://www.guitarsite.com

Sharp, concise and extremely informative, this site is the place to go when you need a summarized view of the whole. The section on tutions and tabulators is especially useful if you intend to improve your technique and control over the six-stringed demons.

Intelligently executed, this web site is a must for the amateur guitarist who craves spatial orientation on the fret-board with quick and visible results.

http://www.korg.com

Every musician realizes the need to innovate and expand his gear. Korg is one of the most trusted names amongst effects processors and keyboard systems. The company offers online instruction manuals to help you out with any product that you may own and keeps you up to date with the latest MIDI systems.

You also have the option of keeping abreast with the latest news and artists in the world of MIDI music and audio engineering. Most of the Korg systems have practical applications in your kind of music and online manuals help you figure out what "your Korg" can do for you.

http://www.drums.org

In case you've overlooked this one, we're diligently bringing your attention back to it. What drums.org lacks in aesthetic sense, it makes up for by delivering superlative information for all percussionists and drummers.

There are summarized sections on the various percussion instruments commonly used, and a profile for the former helps the amateur musician understand where the instrument may fit in the larger scheme of things. Besides being a portal to other friendly percussion sites, the site offers online tutorials and downloadable MP3s to help drummers perfect their technique.

http://www.violink.com

Most violinists rely on a classic sense of discipline and dedication to achieve perfection. Here at violink.com, you'll be taught everything you ever need to know about the violin…and a few ways to cheat the system while becoming a better player. Ironically the site is still a bastion of Western classical music; however its contemporary viewpoint is the friendliest feature of its menu.

Despite the mediocre sections on the biography and history, the site still displays well thought-out content and structure.

http://www.teoria.com/

These guys make it all seem so easy! The site is a monthly guide to the best tutorials and theory on the planet. Pianists and guitarists are taught chord theory, while drummers and classical musicians are given the opportunity to flip through informative articles on a variety of subjects and even enter a discussion forum online.

Teoria.com is the representation of a popular drive on the Internet to promote and propagate instructional sites for amateur musicians. If you have a problem understanding theory and technique, then this site can, and will, lead you to the light!

http://www.trenton.edu/~rao/tabla.html

A famous classical musician once remarked that the tabla was one of the most finely tuned percussion instruments in the world. Over three billion ardent fans of Indian classical music worldwide, and the scores of musicians who had dedicated their entire lives to the tabla's elusive contours, share his sentiment.

Paying tribute to the masses, the site encompasses a great deal of information and instruction on the tabla. However, there is no direct instruction on tabla theory beyond the basic patterns and methods of the musician.

http://www.darshanam.com/

Dr.Chandrakant Sardeshmukh is one of the finest sitar players in the world, and has held several audiences both abroad and within the boundaries of the Indian sub-continent. A former student of Pandit Ravi Shankar, Dr Sardeshmukh's site is a celebration of Indian classical music and Western fusion techniques. The site offers you the opportunity to join an international mailing list for information on Indian classical music and concert highlights around the world.

Besides its commercialism, it also acts as a convenient portal to various sites associated with the sitar as an instrument.

And that's about it. See you soon!

This article was first published on 12 Mar 2001.