Making Music In Quarantine: The Best Online Tools To Learn & Develop Your Sonic Skills

Photo: Avi Naim/Unsplash


Making Music In Quarantine: The Best Online Tools To Learn & Develop Your Sonic Skills

From free Moog and Korg mobile synth apps to fun music education lesson plans from the GRAMMY Museum, this list has got you and your family covered!

GRAMMYs/Apr 9, 2020 - 01:03 am

With the ongoing quarantine causing everyone to spend a lot more time at home, there's no better time to learn a new instrument or dust off the one you haven't had enough time for. Below, we've rounded up a list of free and low-cost resources for learning music online.

Not long after the GRAMMY Museum in Downtown Los Angeles temporarily shut its doors, they expanded their digital presence by bringing some of their past star-studded programming online, adding new lesson plans for students and more. You can download lesson plans like the music of the Civil Rights movement, producing with MIDI and video production, to use in the at-home classroom with the kiddos—maybe you'll even want to learn along with them. Music fans of all ages will love the digital program series and exhibits. New offerings will be added daily—you can also watch newly online programs (intimate talks and performances held in the Clive Davis Theater) with GRAMMY winners Billie Eilish and FINNEAS, Kool & The Gang, Brandi Carlile, Los Tigres del Norte and more. Check out the full schedule here and visit for more.

If you have a Roland piano/keyboard at home or are thinking about ordering one online to make staying at home a little more fun, the instrument company is offering three free months of digital lessons. Roland's partnership with online piano and guitar learning platform Skoove will get you jamming out in tune in no time. The Berlin-based company offers an iOS app for iPad and iPhone, to make learning at the piano easier.

Fender Play, the guitar giant's online learning platform, launched in 2017, is also offering three months of free online lessons—for guitar, bass and ukulele. According to their website, the content is broken down into "bite-sized lessons" to make learning fun and approachable for all ages and skill levels, featuring songs you'll want to learn and musicians you'll want to learn from. With iOS and Android apps, you can access the courses from your tablet, phone or computer.

Jam Play also offers online guitar and bass lessons, with an extensive catalog of all-level on-demand instructional videos, as well as live courses and master classes from guitar heroes like Brent Mason and Steve Stevens. Their all-access membership costs $20/month or $169/year, with other premium as well as ala carte options available.

For all the drum protegees out there, Queen drummer Roger Taylor has been sharing tons of great tutorials on his Instagram, including fellow percussion heroes like Foo Fighters' Taylor Hawkins. In the IGTV video, shared above, Hawkins demonstrates how to hit a perfect 4/4 beat. Head to Taylor's Instagram for a bunch more drum lessons.

Women's Audio Mission, an Oakland-based music education organization focused on bringing more women into the studio, is continuing their important mission by offering free online classes for women and gender non-conforming individuals. Upcoming livestream classes include "Breaking into the Audio Industry" and "Intro to Synths." They are also offering free access to some other great online learning tools, like their "Sound Essentials" series, which breaks down microphone technique, recording and more.

For the dance music fans that want to master the digital synth, both Moog and Korg are offering limited-time free downloads of their Minimoog Model D and Kaossilator apps. Both offer iOS apps for both iPad and iPhone that are, at the time of this writing, free to download, while Korg also has an Android app that costs $20.

DJ Mag recently rounded up a great list of some their favorite free digital studio tools, including the aforementioned apps, as well as some great plugins for anyone wanting to make dope beats on their computer. For synths, they also recommend DEXED, a digital plugin version of the classic '80s Yamaha DX7 synth (as heard on Tina Turner's "What's Love Got To Do With It" and Whitney Houston's "Saving All My Love For You"). They also highlighted the power of Apple Garageband, which has been boosted in recent years with some of the functionality of the not-free Logic Pro and, if you have a Mac, is already on your computer. In addition to a couple of free multi-faceted plugins (loops, samples and more), they also recommend two powerful browser-based tools—Audiotool and BandLab.

For those who really just love learning, and want to learn music skills and beyond from some of the most beloved names of our time, Masterclass is a great resource. They are currently offering a two-for-one deal on their annual passes, meaning you and a friend or family member can both sign up for $180 total for unlimited access to courses. Masterclasses taught by musicians currently include Christina Aguilera teaching singing, Timbaland teaching producing and beatmaking, Carlos Santana slaying guitar, deadmau5 diving into electronic music production, Usher showcasing the art of performance, Herbie Hancock teaching jazz and more.

For the music student craving tailored lessons, Live Lesson Masters can connect you to musicians (stuck at home just like you!) who are ready to teach you one-on-one over video calls. They currently offer a ton of categories, like vocal coaching, piano lessons, production, guitars, drums, horns, DJing as well as cooking and yoga classes, with more to be added soon. The website explains lessons will be tailored to the student's level, with all ages welcome. Prices range depending on the "lesson master" a.k.a. teacher, but average about $100/hour. For those who can afford it, the money supports the currently-unable-to-tour-musicians, with a portion of proceeds also going to charities supporting touring artists and crew.

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Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors

Pearl Jam

Photo: Kevin Mazur/


Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors

Pearl Jam's Mike McCready says "if you love music," record stores are the place to find it

GRAMMYs/Feb 13, 2019 - 04:05 am

Record Store Day 2019 will arrive on April 13 and this year's RSD Ambassadors are Pearl Jam. Past ambassadors include Dave Grohl, Metallica, Run The Jewels (Killer Mike and El-P), and 61st GRAMMY Awards winner for Best Rock Song St. Vincent.

McCready was also the 2018 recipient of MusiCares' Stevie Ray Vaughan Award

The band was formed in 1990 by McCready, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, and Eddie Vedder, and they have played with drummer Matt Cameron since 2002. They have had five albums reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and four albums reach No. 2.

"Pearl Jam is honored to be Record Store Day's Ambassador for 2019. Independent record stores are hugely important to me," Pearl Jam's Mike McCready said in a statement publicizing the peak-vinyl event. "Support every independent record store that you can. They're really a good part of society. Know if you love music, this is the place to find it."

With a dozen GRAMMY nominations to date, Pearl Jam's sole win so far was at the 38th GRAMMY Awards for "Spin The Black Circle" for Best Hard Rock Performance.

Pearl Jam will be performing on March 3 in Tempe, Ariz. at the Innings festival, on June 15 in Florence, Italy at the Firenze Rocks Festival and at another festival in Barolo, Italy on June 17. On July 6 Pearl Jam will headline London's Wembley Stadium.

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Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show

Glenn Danzig

Photo: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images


Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show

Dark punk legends to play first show with Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only since last year's Riot Fest reunion

GRAMMYs/Aug 22, 2017 - 05:28 am

There's big news today for punk-rock fans aware that the Misfits made much more than just T-shirts.

The massively influential punk band announced a special show touted as the "only 2017 performance in this world… or any world" and billed as "The Original Misfits" in Los Angeles at the Forum on Dec. 30.

This will be the first Misfits show featuring original singer Glenn Danzig and original bassist Jerry Only with long-time guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein since the band reunited for a pair of Riot Fest appearances in Chicago and Denver in 2016. Last year's Riot Fest gigs, which featured drummer Dave Lombardo, marked the first time in 33 years the original Misfits members played together.

"OK Los Angeles, you've waited almost 35 years for this, here's your chance to see the "Original Misfits" in this Exclusive L.A. only performance." said Glenn Danzig. "No Tour, No BS, just one night of dark metal-punk hardcore brutality that will go down in the history books. See you there."

Tickets for this "one night only" show go on sale Friday, August 25.

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Lady Gaga Steps In To Support Youth Impacted By Hurricanes

Lady Gaga

Photo: Anthony Harvey/Getty Images


Lady Gaga Steps In To Support Youth Impacted By Hurricanes

GRAMMY winner pledges support for those impacted by hurricanes this year through Save the Children’s Journey of Hope program

GRAMMYs/Oct 12, 2017 - 11:03 pm

On Oct. 10 Lady Gaga announced she is devoting her $1 million donation in support of those impacted by the recent hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico and the earthquakes in Mexico, to a specific cause — the mental and emotional well being of children and youth.

Gaga announced on her Born This Way Foundation website she will support Save the Children’s Journey of Hope program, which uses a variety of tools to help young people deal with trauma in the wake of natural disasters.

"Through a curriculum that includes cooperative play, discussion, art, meditation, and mindfulness practices, young people learn to recognize and understand their emotions and develop healthy coping skills," Gaga wrote. "Tens of thousands of youth have benefited from the program since it’s development in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and Save the Children is working to bring it to hundreds of thousands more in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico."

The announcement came on World Mental Health Day, and the Fame Monster has invited all of us to step up and consider making a contribution to the Journey of Hope program to support to mental and emotional needs of children.

"Mental health is just as vital to our wellbeing as physical health. That’s true for each of us, everyday, but it’s especially important for those coping with disaster and recovering from trauma," wrote Lady Gaga. "We must do everything within our power to support the full, vibrant recovery of these communities, from meeting their immediate needs to helping them to rebuild sustainably."

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Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards


Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards

Dreamville, Meek Mill, 21 Savage, Tyler, The Creator, and YBN Cordae all earn nominations in the category

GRAMMYs/Nov 20, 2019 - 06:28 pm

The 2020 GRAMMYs are just around the corner, and now the nominations are in for the coveted honor of Best Rap Album. While we'll have to wait until the 62nd GRAMMY Awards air on CBS on Jan. 26 to find out who will win, let's take a look at which albums have been nominated for Best Rap Album.

Revenge of the Dreamers III – Dreamville                                                                        

This star-studded compilation album from 11-time GRAMMY nominee J. Cole and his Dreamville Records imprint features appearances from some of the leading and fastest-rising artists in hip-hop today, including label artists EARTHGANG, J.I.D, and Ari Lennox, plus rappers T.I, DaBaby, and Young Nudy, among many others. Recorded in Atlanta across a 10-day recording session, Revenge of the Dreamers III is an ambitious project that saw more than 300 artists and producers contribute to the album, resulting in 142 recorded tracks. Of those recordings, 18 songs made the final album, which ultimately featured contributions from 34 artists and 27 producers.

Dreamers III, the third installment in the label’s Revenge of the Dreamers compilation series, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and achieved gold status this past July. In addition to a Best Rap Album nod, Dreamers III is also nominated for Best Rap Performance next year for album track “Down Bad,” featuring J.I.D, Bas, J. Cole, EARTHGANG, and Young Nudy.

Championships – Meek Mill

In many ways, Championships represents a literal and metaphorical homecoming for Meek Mill. Released in November 2018, Championships is the Philadelphia rapper’s first artist album following a two-year prison sentence he served after violating his parole in 2017. Championships, naturally, sees Meek tackling social justice issues stemming from his prison experience, including criminal justice reform. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, his second chart-topper following 2015’s Dreams Worth More Than Money, and reached platinum status in June 2019. Meek Mill's 2020 Best Rap Album nod marks his first-ever GRAMMY nomination.

i am > i was – 21 Savage

Breakout rapper and four-time GRAMMY nominee 21 Savage dropped i am > i was, his second solo artist album, at the end of 2018. The guest-heavy album, which features contributions from Post Malone, Childish Gambino, J. Cole, and many others, has since charted around the world, topped the Billboard 200 – a first for the artist – in the beginning of 2019, and achieved gold status in the U.S. As well, nine songs out of the album’s 15 original tracks landed on the Hot 100 chart, including multi-platinum lead single “A Lot,” which is also nominated for Best Rap Song next year. 21 Savage’s 2020 Best Rap Album nomination, which follows Record of the Year and Best Rap/Sung Performance nods for his 2017 Post Malone collaboration, "Rockstar,” marks his first solo recognition in the top rap category.

IGOR – Tyler, The Creator

The eccentric Tyler, The Creator kicked off a massive 2019 with his mid-year album, IGOR. Released this past May, IGOR, Tyler’s fifth solo artist album, is his most commercially successful project to date. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, marking his first time topping the coveted chart, while its lead single, "Earfquake,” peaked at No. 13, his highest entry on the Hot 100. Produced in full by Tyler and featuring guest spots from fellow rap and R&B stars Kanye West, Lil Uzi Vert, Solange, and Playboi Carti, among many others, IGOR follows the rapper’s 2017 album, Flower Boy, which received the Best Rap Album nod that same year.

The Lost Boy – YBN Cordae

Emerging rapper YBN Cordae, a member of the breakout YBN rap collective, released his debut album, The Lost Boy, to widespread critical acclaim this past July. The 15-track release is stacked with major collaborations with hip-hop heavyweights, including Anderson .Paak, Pusha T, Meek Mill, and others, plus production work from J. Cole and vocals from Quincy Jones. After peaking at No. 13 on the Billboard 200, The Lost Boy now notches two 2020 GRAMMY nominations: Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song for album track “Bad Idea,” featuring Chance the Rapper.