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  • Writer's pictureMichael Ireland

Self-Taught: Are You Ready to Rock?

Updated: Nov 26, 2020

various instruments on a wall

As Idaho begins the long process of reopening and many of us return to work, I have been reflecting on how I’ve used my extra time at home. Yes, I worked most of the shutdown, but I still found myself with an abundance of free time. How did I fill that space in my day? Aside from the usual distractions like reading, and those centered in front of a screen such as video games, movies, and binge-watching TV series, I was thankful for the opportunity to work on my music. Without the creative outlet of my guitar and my band, I may very well have succumbed to absolute, bone-crushing boredom.

Which got me thinking, what can libraries offer to aspiring musicians? With many people still trying to maintain social distancing and a lack of community and social events, this is still a great time to conquer a new skill or explore a new hobby. Adversity becomes opportunity. What better way to defeat boredom than to pursue an interest you may have in music? Whether you are picking up an instrument for the first time, trying to rekindle a love of music, or honing your skills, your local library has resources for any skill level or ambition. After all, your Caldwell Public Library card is a passport to lifelong learning.

What sort of materials do we offer? Let’s begin with the obvious answer, books! If you’re just starting to play, we offer instructional books on a wide variety of instruments and styles. Learning classical piano? We’ve got that. Want to shred like your favorite ax-wielding rock star? We’ve got that too. But perhaps you’re needing a bit of inspiration. How about one of our many books on famous musicians, their careers, their gear, or the story of their lives? Personally, I’m eager to read up on some of the classic amplifies in rock history to help me perfect my tone. Caldwell Public Library and other Lynx consortium members carry a fantastic selection for our patrons, giving you a plethora of choices as you identify your interests.

sheet music

Our selection of books isn’t limited to how to play manuals and artist biographies. If you’re already an experienced player, you might be looking for new pieces to perform. We also offer a great selection of sheet music and guitar tablature in many different genres. Alternatively, if your goal is to introduce young ones to the joy of music with some hands-on projects, why not take a look at “Making Musical Instruments with Kids” for some easy DIY fun? No matter your age or skill level, we have something to fit your needs.

Our materials for the ambitious up and coming pop star aren’t limited to the pages of our print selection. From CDs to musicals on DVD, to instructional DVDs, to online sources for streaming music, the library offers a wide array of methods for teaching, inspiring, and enjoying music. My playlists in our music app Freegal, are growing exponentially! There always seems to be something new to listen to. A simple search of our catalog will place these items at your fingertips and our website provides access to all of our digital collections and apps.

As we move beyond quarantine and back into the motions of everyday life, reflect on the things that motivate and excite you. Take time to invest in yourself and your hobbies. And remember, your local library is here to help you in this endeavor. Don’t let downtime get you down. Our curbside service continues for patrons to receive holds and we’ll see you June 1st for holds pickup, and computer usage by appointment. Just think, a trip to the library could be the first step on your path to the Grammys.

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