Tag Archives: Lifelong Learning

What’s Your Dewey? 781 It’s All M.m.usic To My Ears…

Strictly speaking, 781 should get you books on the general principles of music and musical forms, but realistically, you will also find titles devoted to individual performers, bands and concerts. Being a bit of a purist, and genuinely interested on the assigned topic, I scanned the virtual shelves (the catalogue) to see what I could find.

The first title to attract my attention questioned my understanding of musical forms – I had always thought an audial relationship with music was intrinsic, and Air Guitar, A user’s guide by Bruno MacDonald did not strike me as a musical form. Perhaps it had something to say about the general principles of music?

Perhaps not. By way of introduction, the book states:  ‘Freddie Mercury did it. Hormone-addled adolescents do it. Grown men do it in the privacy of their own homes (and, sometimes, in dark public gatherings). There are even specialist computer games that encourage you to do it. It is air guitar.’ Clearly designed to attract attention,  what follows is more of a comic-style picture book than a serious attempt at discussing a musical form. The book is divided into three sections: Getting started, which includes basic accessories, (there are accessories?) and the Dos and Donts (…the general principles!);  Air Guitar Moves, which explains 12 moves including ‘The Hendrix’; and Going Pro, with ’50 fret fondling favourites’. The book is sparse on content, laid out like a storyboard complete with sketchy coloured line drawings…not exactly definitive but bound to attract the growing number of devotees.

Clearly, Air Guitar is part of the music scene. When looking at what else might be included as part of ‘the scene’, I came across a series of books aimed at teens and young adults called The Music Scene.








Matt Annis, author and journalist who has spent many years working within the music industry, has created this series of four titles that looks at the world of contemporary music. The Music Industry, The History of Modern Music, Music Fashion & Style and Performing Live, are easy to read and full of practical tips based on case studies featuring some of the world’s best known contemporary musical artists. Although slim, each title is packed with useful information. Published by Franklin Watts in 2012, the series is starting to date (as things quickly do in the pop industry) but many of the principles behind the how-to advice are relevant today.

Still on the hunt for titles on musical forms, Jazz : a beginner’s guide by Stuart Nicholson revived my hope that I am looking in the right place.

Like many, I have some preconceived (and potentially erroneous) ideas about what constitutes Jazz. A quick browse through this title, reassures me that Jazz is what I thought it to be, but also a lot more. Nicholson takes readers through Jazz early history in southern USA to modern jazz scenes around the world. He talks about the evolution of the word and concept that Jazz encompasses and the way that many listeners are predisposed to understanding it because of its close links to other mainstream forms such as blues, rock and roll and pop. The eleven chapters include The Blues, The American Popular Song, Rise of the Big Bands, Jazz Goes Modern  and Jazz in the Global Village. Each chapter is accompanied by a play list based on the form and style being discussed. You can take a peak inside here: Jazz-Beginners-Guide-Guides

Classical music is another form that has suffered from ‘bad press’ being labelled elitist and boring… but… What if it only took half a minute to better understand and appreciate what it is after all, the most freely available form of music: as background music, on the internet, in the media and used in some of our most famous jingles?

30-second classical music : the 50 most significant genres, composers and innovations, each explained in half a minute
edited by Joanne Cormac is one book that promises to deliver just that! In his forward, David Pickard says ‘The book proves that it is possible to be brief, succinct and insightful without being patronising or simplistic… every significant development [in the history of classical music] seems to be covered.’ In writing this book, Joanne Cormac’s aim is to dispel some of the myths surrounding classical music, to demystify some of the jargon and to open it up to a broader audience. The seven sections of the book take readers on a journey through the earliest instruments and monastic plainchant to the electronic music of modern composition. Each section has a glossary and the text is clearly laid out and nicely illustrated to encourage browsing and return visits. Not a book you have to consume in one sitting, but you could.
You can preview the book here: 30-Second-Classical-Music

There is always the danger when books try to simplify ideas and concepts that they will offend potential readers by ‘talking down’ to them. The  books ...for Dummies series makes no attempt to disguise the fact that they assume readers have little or no knowledge of the topic at hand. Music theory for dummies by Michael Pilhofer and Holly Day is no exception.

Like many titles in the series, the book takes readers back to the basics: Note values and counting, Treble and Bass clefs, Time signatures, Tempo and Tone, Key signatures, Scales and  chords are all included with Music theory’s history an added bonus that puts it all in perspective. The book is well structured and easy to follow. It provides examples of music to compliment the text, chord charts and audio examples on CD (piano and guitar). It also has a companion website that you can visit here: http://www.dummies.com/go/musictheory

Although not exactly a musical form, the music that consistently attracts audiences is music that includes a combination of voice and inspiring lyrics – collectively known as ‘songs’. 

First published in 2005, 1001 songs you must hear before you die edited by Robert Dimery has become one of the most popular musical go-to reference books, listing some of the world’s most famous popular songs beginning early 20th century. Each featured song title includes its unique backstory with illustrations, and is placed in context of time and musical influences (with similar genre-titles included). A range of music journalists have also contributed to the book. Although heavily biased toward music from the USA, the list includes titles in French, Spanish, Italian and German. An easy to browse book, that has been consistently updated with the latest release in 2016. You can also sample song titles based on the book online at: http://playlists.net/1001-songs-you-must-hear-before-you-die-4 

There is no doubt that music plays an important part in our lives. Neurologists, scientists, doctors and teachers agree that exposure to music at an early age has positive benefits for life: positive for early childhood development; for our schooling and education; for our health and well being and ultimately, for our longevity. Music therapy is increasingly being incorporated in medicine to assist with pain management, healing and recovery and mental and emotional resilience.

Music remembers me : connection and wellbeing in dementia
by Kirsty Beilharz  aims to address both the practitioner and those without experience or training, looking for ‘quick start’ guidelines. Beilharz makes strong links between the mind and music engagement for dementia sufferers, and provides practical advice on introducing music to their daily care. The book includes moving stories from Australian health and aged care providers HammondCare and is considered a ground-breaking book on the topic.
You can view the book-launch trailer here: Music Remembers Me

So, it seems that there is much to learn about musical principles and forms in the 781s (with a little Dewey perseverance and leeway given) and… the next time that song or piece of music gets stuck in my head and just won’t go away? I’ll just assume its all for the best!
Nola Cavallaro


Tech Savvy: A-Z Apps Series – Music

So we’ve obviously come a long way since playing records was the only way to put together a playlist of our favourite tunes. We can now have a personal rock concert, symphony orchestra, dance party or chill out session at our finger tips and playing just for us, owing to the many options for headphones available on the market.

Whether you’re at the gym, on your daily commute, studying or just generally trying to tune out the world, there are many options for you to listen to your favourites, something new or something to get you fired up for your PT session. What’s your go-to music app? Do you have any pros or cons that made the decision for you?

Many music streaming services have popped up and disappeared over the last 5 years. With such a new way of tuning into your music there have been many ideas explored to bring streaming services to the consumer. When using the streaming services on your mobile phone you will need to check whether your data allowance is adequate or if that service is included in your phone’s data plan, otherwise you’ll find you’re out of data before your month has barely begun. Many music artists have added their titles to some or all of these services. If your music collection is looking a little dated and you’re keen to try something new we’ve highlighted some of the more popular streaming services below.

Spotify:  https://www.spotify.com/au/ is a great way to get some music on the go without needing to organise it yourself. Download your app, sign up (free or premium accounts) and hit play. There are restrictions to the free account that might make you consider the paid version. If you don’t mind the ads and don’t usually skip your songs then you’ll find the free version is fine for you. Spotify gives you access to millions of songs to create your own playlists and as one of the most used music streaming services in the world, you may even find your bestie’s fave playlist or a playlist compiled by your favourite artist.

Apple Music
: https://www.apple.com/au/music/ The streaming music service created by Apple for their customers, synced across all their devices they have logged into with their Apple ID. Apple Music is a paid subscriptions only service to give users an extra 40 million songs to their own library, with different prices for students, individuals or families. Create your own playlist or get Apple Music to create something for you based on your music preferences. Connect your Apple devices to play your selections through your iPhone, Apple Watch or their upcoming Home pod. You can also move your playlists to your device to limit your data usage and listen offline.

iHeartRadio: https://www.iheart.com/ Launched in Australia during 2013 this recommender system radio station has multiple music stations and offers free, ‘Plus’ and ‘All Access’ subscription services. Available on many devices including home and automotive smart systems. Also, using the All Access Services means you will be able to save live broadcasts to your digital playlists to get more bang for your buck.

Shazam: https://www.shazam.com/ is an application used to recognise the music and TV that is playing near you. Starting out as a text messaging service, it has evolved into a way music artists can keep fans up to date with their latest music offerings and their music tastes. By holding your open app up to the music playing locally, it will ‘listen’ and check against the database of songs, artists and albums to return information to you about track details, artist information, lyrics, videos, concert tickets etc. So the next time you’re walking through somewhere wondering ‘that song is really good, I wonder what it is?’ …you can now answer that question and find your next favourite artist, song or album.

Google Play Music: https://play.google.com/store/music?hl=en Just like some of the previous options, you have a choice of paid or free subscriptions to access the music service. The paid subscription service will also give subscribers ad-free access to YouTube Red, the premium offering from YouTube. There is an Offline Mixtape functionality for you to listen offline to your playlists. And if you’re not sure what to listen to next, you can mix your own library with the radio stations and get an eclectic mix. Don’t like the current song? You can skip unlimited times with their paid ‘All Access’ pass. Would you like to know what that song is playing near you right now? Google Play Music has a Shazam style ‘identify what’s playing’ option which will connect you with the music, artist and anything available on YouTube for you to watch.

So it comes down to whether you want to keep your favourite tunes or just listen to what takes your fancy at the time. Do you want all the bells and whistles that come with the paid subscriptions or are you just happy to have any music to listen to? Do you mind ads appearing in between your songs, like a radio station, or are you looking to get away from the radio and just have music? All these are great questions for deciding on a music streaming service, and luckily, most services have a great intro price or free service model for you to test them. What is your go-to music service? Are you intrigued and want to give it a try? Let us know what you think!
Melinda Kennedy

What’s Your Dewey? 730 Sculpt-it, Weld-it, Throw-it!

Alice Through the Looking Glass

Recent reading trends indicate that non-fiction books are increasingly popular and in particular, craft and hobby titles are being sought. Anyone seeking these titles in the library will know that they are dispersed fairly evenly across the 700s of the library shelves. While textile and print arts and craft have maintained a consistent representation, the ‘harder’ (because of the nature of resources they use) and more manual crafts have often been poorly represented. There are usually ‘Coffee Table’ books, great to look at but not particularly practical if you want the ‘how to’ version.  The ‘doing’ is what people are looking for so I thought I’d see what was around to inspire confidence.

When you are a novice and want some easy projects to build your confidence, I find children’s books are good at providing simple, step-by-step instructions that result in successful creative outcomes.

Cover image for 123 I can sculpt! / Irene Luxbacher.

1 2 3 I can Sculpt  by Irene Luxbacher is part of the Starting Art series of books for children that encourage the use of materials at hand, focus on the process for developing skills and affirm that there are no ‘mistakes’ in the creative process, merely design alterations.  Each page provides illustrated, step-by-step instructions to help budding sculptors complete projects such as a toothy crocodile and a sunbathing sea lion, using a variety of simple techniques. The book includes a visual glossary of key art terms. View an example page here:  rainbowresource.com/

Still with books for children, Out of the box by  Jemma Westing provides step-by-step instructions for building items that can be worn, played with or sat on using recycled materials most commonly found at home (cardboard boxes and rolls). From masks to puppets to cars to castles, the projects can be do-it-alone or do-it-together. Instructions are clearly written and illustrated. The book begins with some basic skills for working with cardboard, the tools required and includes templates to get you started.
You can take a quick peak here:

With the advent of digital reading, there has been a sharp increase in the number of old and unwanted books – too good to bin but not good enough to keep in perpetuity. The notion of book craft or book art has morphed into the physical remaking of the book form into works of art. While not a new idea (pop-up books, known as mechanical or moveable books, have existed since the 13th century) the creative art form today can be spectacular.


Folded book art : 35 beautiful projects to transform your books – create cards, display scenes, decorations, gifts, and more by Clare Youngs presents readers with 35 book crafting projects with step-by-step illustrated and photographed instructions. The book is divided into chapters that looks at different techniques for transforming old books: Folding, Scene-making (cutting and gluing) and ‘Refashioned’ pages. Some easy and not so easy projects are included from a butterfly opening to a fairytale castle. Some inspiring ideas. You can view excerpts here:

Working with clay has maintained steady interest but many have been put off by the mess or the extent of equipment required. As a consequence, air-dry clay has become quite popular.

Make it with air-dry clay by Fay De Winter is a good start to using air-dry clay. The book includes 20 projects aimed at different skill levels. The first chapter includes information on materials, tools, equipment and techniques before going into the projects. Projects include planters, pots, bowls and jewelry and all projects come with photos and detailed, easy-to-follow instructions. Great reviews from those who have used the book and best of all – no kiln required!

 Of course some people prefer the more traditional approach to working with clay and the Beginner’s guide to sculpting characters in clay may be just the book to look at.

The book features detailed guides to tools and techniques with helpful hints from leading professional sculptors such as Glauco Longhi and Romain Van den Bogaert. Comprehensive tutorials follow the sculpting process from developing a character, creating armatures to finishing and setting the final sculpture. Suitable for novices and digital sculptors wanting to learn more about traditional techniques.

 If you like the idea of working with clay but prefer results to be metal based, then metal clay might prove to be your ideal medium. Since its creation in the 1990s by Japanese metallurgist Dr. A. Morikawa, metal clay has created a small revolution in the world of jewelry making and small-scale sculpting. Intrigued?  The art of metal clay: techniques for creating jewelry and decoriative objects by award-winning author, illustrator and product designer Sherri  Haab might be just the right title to get you started on this crafting design experience.

First published in 2004, The Art of Metal Clay explores the many artistic applications for this moldable, malleable clay that becomes pure metal after it’s fired. The current edition includes updated and user-friendly information, including instructions for successful firing; techniques for etching metal clay and adding color with pigments and enamels. The book also includes examples from well recognised metal clay artists. Inspiring illustrations compliment clear instruction, guides and resource lists. Take a quick look here:

Working with metals and repurposing metallic objects is now part of the up-cycling movement turning waste into garden and household furniture and art.

DIY rustic modern metal crafts : 35 creative upcycling ideas for galvanized metal by Laura Putnam provides step-by-step instructions on transforming scrap metal, sheet iron, buckets, bins and stove end-caps into home decor. Projects include items both practical and whimsical, and Putman also includes methods for ‘ageing’ new galv. metal if you can’t find ‘the right’ old material to repurpose.
Take a look here: www.amazon.com/DIY-Rustic-Modern-Metal-Crafts/

If you are undecided about the type of art that most appeals, a generic book might be more useful to you.

Nola Cavallaro

How Does That Work? Tech Savvy 1on1 Help Sessions

So this week, by popular demand, we’ve relaunched our Tech Savvy 1on1 Help Sessions.  That’s excellent you say! So what are they and how do they work?
Well, have you been wanting to understand your device better?  Maybe you’d like to check out some of the eBooks and eAudiobooks that the library has available, but are unsure of the process?  That’s where we come in.  Every fortnight for eight weeks from Wednesday the 27th September, we will have three sessions available for our customers to book in to at the Evanston Gardens Library.  You will need your device/s, your app store login details and your library membership details, then we’ve got forty minutes to go through your queries!
Previous attendees have said they love the atmosphere in the library, the staff are patient, friendly and explain things clearly when going through the different processes. One lady had the Facebook app downloaded onto her tablet, but did not know how to post to create the conversations she saw happening among her family and friends.  We went through the process and what each part meant, culminating in a library selfie and her first Facebook post! That illustrates the reason these sessions exist.  We have heard from many community members and library customers that they want to participate in the digital world around them but lack the confidence and knowledge to progress with their devices.  
We hope to assist our attendees with; basic tablet and smartphone skills; accessing the library’s eCollection; understanding the security measures of your device; learning the steps to update your device’s operating system and using the WiFi.  
If any of these topics sound like something you’d be interested in, please give our library staff a call and book into one of the available sessions.  We have 12 forty minute sessions available on Wednesdays (27 September, 11 & 25 October and 08 November) at the Evanston Gardens Branch Library at 9:15am, 10:00am and 10:45am.  We’re looking forward to helping you get more out of your devices and the digital world around us.


Tech Savvy: A-Z Apps Series – Lifestyle and Leisure

Au Coffee Summer Pleasure Holidays Leisure

So you’ve got yourself some free time, what are you going to do with it?  What’s your go-to activity when you have the time? Do you like to veg in front of the television and binge watch your favourite shows? Do you prefer to take the time to meditate, clear your head and breathe or do you like to get up and do something physical?  There are so many apps available to assist you with how to spend your free time, we’ve included a small list below of some of our favourites.  Have a look and let us know if there’s a great app you use to help you chill out, relax and have fun.

Geocaching – https://www.geocaching.com/play Available on the Apple iTunes App Store and Google Play as a FREE download, but with optional in-app purchases.  It’s treasure hunting for adults but can include the whole family! Like to get out in the great wide world but need the motivation to keep walking? If you’ve got a phone, you can locate these little hidden treasures all over the world.  Some are very difficult to find, others are much easier.  As you progress, you will get better and without trying, you will get a workout for your mind and your body, out and about in the fresh air.

Smiling Mind – https://smilingmind.com.au/  Available on the Apple iTunes App Store and Google Play as a FREE download. Developed by psychologists and educators by a not-for-profit organisation to increase mindfulness at home, at school, at the workplace, for sportspeople, everyone! It includes many features like different programs for different people and ages, tracking functionality to review progress, and varying durations so you can fit it in to your day regardless of how busy you are.

– An Apple Watch app (included with operating system) that monitors your breathing. A quick way to take a few moments from your busy day to focus on your breathing, relax, and increase your mindfulness.

TV when you want it,  is what’s happening more and more now, and there are so many different providers to choose from for your next great binge watch! Some of these are free, some require a subscription to access the services, all have hours of great content to watch!  Game of Thrones marathon anyone?…

Netflix (https://www.netflix.com/app)

STAN (https://www.stan.com.au/)

Fetch (https://www.iinet.net.au/tv/fetch/app/)

YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/)

iView (http://iview.abc.net.au/support/where-to-get-iview)

Foxtel Anywhere (https://www.foxtel.com.au/foxtel-app.html)

TenPlay (https://tenplay.com.au/apps)

PLUS7 (https://au.tv.yahoo.com/plus7/mobile/get-the-app/)

9NOW (https://www.9now.com.au/ways-to-watch)

SBS On Demand (https://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/faqs)

Since Colouring-in Books have become very popular recently, they have been made into multiple types of apps that you can download and use on the go without requiring pencils, textas or other colouring mediums.  You can find many from your app store by searching for colouring (or coloring) book for iTunes and click the link for a collection of apps available.  For Google Play we’ve included the following link for you to browse the available colouring-in apps (https://play.google.com/store/search?q=coloring%20book&c=apps&hl=en).

Podcast apps like Pocket Casts (https://play.pocketcasts.com/) and Podcasts (Apple iOS) (https://www.apple.com/au/itunes/podcasts/) have been very popular for catching up with any subject you’re interested in.  News, health, comedy, radio, interviews, crafting, ted talks, sports, true crime and entertainment are all catered for by thousands of hosts happy to discuss the world around them.  Listening to podcasts is a great idea for people when they are on the go, relaxing, at the gym, on your lunch break and more. Easy to download from your app store, then browse through the categories to find something that takes your fancy.  If you enjoy it, then subscribe to it and when there’s a new episode you’ll get a notification.

So a nice quick list and we’ll not take up anymore of your time.  Go, relax, enjoy your free time!  However you spend it.

Post Contributor: Melinda Kennedy