All about musical instruments - menu page
So you want to learn a musical instrument? We advise you what instrument to play, where to buy one, how to get lessons, what it will cost - everything you need to know about instrumental tuition

About Pay the Piper
Why play an instrument?
What instrument
to play

How to buy an instrument
Other costs
Where to get lessons
How much progress
will I make?

Doing your practice
Music exams
Upgrading your instrument
Finding opportunities
to play

Switching instruments
What's copyright?
Links to other sites
Your questions answered







































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Copyright © David Bramhall 2005
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Pay the Piper


Links to other interesting places


Looking for a teacher?
Austin Mortimer specialises in workshop tutorials (groups of four to eight) for acoustic and electric guitar, Latin American percussion and Salsa/Merengue dancing. Based in Lancashire.
Area Music Centres provides links to many local music schools and centres in the UK - a useful site., a site where you can search for UK teachers of most instruments.
Music Lessons Online claims to be the largest UK database where you can search for an instrumental teacher in your area.
• If you live in or near Harrogate in Yorkshire, you'd like to know about Harrogate Music School which offers tuition and useful musical experiences for local children.


Looking for an instrument?
• If you play the cello you really need a hard case to protect your rather fragile investment. offers good quality cases for many other instruments as well.
Reeds Direct offers not instruments, but woodwind reeds of all kinds which can be purchased cheaply over the net.
Venus Harps, an American manufacturer of concert harps.
Thomann, a German musical instrument supplier who offers some pretty low prices, particularly for double basses. Well worth a look: click on your national flag, then type the kind of instrument you are looking for in the search box and hit "go".
George Gladstone is based in Darlington and offers a comprehensive and expert repair service for all woodwind. He also sells both new and second-hand instruments.
Helen Kavanagh Music, based in Stratford-on-Avon, offer second-hand wind and brass instruments, repairs, accessories and tuition.
Musinex, the Musical Instrument Exchange site where people advertise their second-hand instruments for sale or exchange - definitely worth a look.
John Myatt Woodwind & Brass - packed with information for woodwind and brass players. A useful section on caring for your instrument.
Dawkes Music, dealers in woodwind and brass instruments. Some of the cheapest prices around, and an excellent rental scheme.
Balaam's Music, an splendid local music shop that deals by post all over the country. Helpful advice from the enthusiastic and knowledgeable owner, John Balaam, himself a musician of note. Rental scheme for woodwind and brass instruments.
Paul Gerrish, luthier. Based near Woodbridge, Suffolk, this is the place to go for really high quality string instruments, repairs, valuations and advice.
Dean Pelling, expert repairer and supplier of woodwind and brass instruments, based in East Sussex.
Bristol Violin Shop. A good string dealer with a short-term rental scheme. Do have a look at the Newsletter on this site - it's beautifully written and more informative than anything we have seen - quite brilliant.
John Bilham. This Norwich-based retailer's excellent website gives details of his woodwind and brass instrument rental scheme. Good secondhand instruments, too.

Looking for more advice?
Know Your Instrument is a useful and well-organised site with many articles of interest to guitarists, mainly. We particularly like the page "Are all musicians insane?" The answer, of course, is yes!
1st Clarinet Music has a great deal of interesting advice on all aspects of clarinet playing, and lots of sheet music you can download - no need to go to the music shop!
BeginBand is designed to assist beginning band or orchestra students in choosing an instrument and getting started in the wonderful world of instrumental music.
Amadeus Piano Co., Inc. offer a complete line of piano services for the greater New York, New Jersey, & Connecticut Tri-State Areas including: tuning, repair, rebuilding, refinishing, buying, selling, renting, & moving all types of acoustic pianos. Their Links section is enormous - hours of interesting browsing there - and the section on tuning is particularly informative.
• Learn to play the Guitar on the PC - Gitarrero-Beginner. Software guitar school for beginners with videos, midis, audios, songs, rhythms, accompaniments. For download of a free demo go to (it's pretty cheap, too!)
Making Music Now - music that teaches you to play the piano by following Jan Durrant's simple system.
• • FLUTES.TK is an excellent "portal" for those who play the flute or are interested in learning. It lists a multitude of websites about the flute, divided sensibly into categories like Discussion Groups, Books, Sheet Music, Education & Training, Shops, History and so on. Very useful indeed.
Guitarnoise is an absolute must for everyone who plays the guitar or wants to. It carries a host of articles on every aspect of the instrument, including online lessons for beginners, advice on buying a guitar, chords, tablature, musical theory, different styles of guitar music - the lot! Excellent!
• The International Clarinet Association offers this excellent site with many useful links for clarinettists or would-be clarinettists.....
• .... and the rather similar is good too.
• A few musicians manage to get by without the need to read printed music, but for most of us it's essential. The Rough Guide to Reading Music might help.
TAXI: the leading independent A&R company helping unsigned bands, artists and songwriters get record deals, publishing deals and placement in films and TV shows. Have a look at the "education" page of their links section - we think it's an interesting resource.
Marycliff Productions offer a piano and keyboard tuition course for adult beginners on DVD or video with music book and a free helpline. Clifford Evans comes from the same part of the world as Pay the Piper, and we know him to be vastly experienced with a considerable reputation.
The Woodwind Fingering Guide is a beautifully-designed site that provides fingering charts for all woodwind instruments - even the rare ones.
The UK Piano Site, a comprehensive links site for all things piano.
The Virtual Piano Shop, a really excellent website; how to buy a piano, advertisements for second-hand instruments, addresses of piano shops, specialist piano movers, piano teachers, piano tuners, information about different makes of piano - everything you could possibly want to know. We love this site and cannot recommend it highly enough.
Mr.Moors' clarinet site has lots of interesting clarinet-type links, and it plays some pretty cool clarinet music at you too! is a wonderful site for those who play the French Horn or are interested in doing so. Advertisements for secondhand horns, a database of horn teachers, an interesting links page and loads of other good things.
The Horn Player's FAQ is a large and authoritative collection of advice, information and useful links, especially for more advanced horn-players.
Learn to Play Guitar. A free eBook about learning the guitar is on offer from this site.
The Trombone Shrine is for all those who "worship" the trombone - or would like to. Some useful links.
The Harp Haven. A good way in to all sorts of useful stuff about this rare and fascinating instrument.
Hot Frets offers you FREE guitar lessons online!
Mark Shepard's Flute Page has lots of links to places which will interest flautists, especially those who are teaching themselves to play.

Links sites and directories is a new lifestyle directory in New Zealand, and includes a useful page about learning music.
Amadeus Piano Co., Inc. offer a complete line of piano services for the greater New York, New Jersey, & Connecticut Tri-State Areas including: tuning, repair, rebuilding, refinishing, buying, selling, renting, & moving all types of acoustic pianos. We have included them here because their Links section is enormous and very useful to anyone interested in pianos and the art of piano-playing. - Music Directory is a good-looking, big directory site (and growing bigger, we should think) with loads of interesting stuff. Have a look at the link to "anti-music"!
Cadenza - a major resource for all classical and contemporary musicians., the world's favourite online classical music subscription offering listening, custom CDs, downloads, and a huge resource of entertaining information to expand your classical music knowledge.
KinderStart, a large American links site. Click on "Arts and Entertainment" to find many things of musical interest., a way in to a ring of American sites about music for young people.

Sites that help you with your homework
Music Theory Net explains the theory of music clearly and in simple stages. Beware some American terminology - "quarter-note" for "crotchet", for instance.
MusicAtSchool is as much for teachers as pupils - it offers 170 free worksheets, for instance - but it's a well-organised and useful site.
Classical Composers has stuff about every classical composer you can think of, and heaps of good classical music sites on its links page, too.

Other interesting places
Schubertline is the internet's largest transposable library of opera arias, German lieder, French mélodies, English songs, duets etc. by a host of great composers.
Sir Robert Hitcham's Primary School in Suffolk is here just because it has one of the best school websites we've ever seen - interesting, well-designed, full of examples of the children's work, and fun! Some of the links in the music section will interest you. is a likeable and effective site aimed at those who like to listen to, and collect recordings of, mainly classical music. Listening suggestions, musical excerpts in Shockwave format, quizzes and a discussion forum. Very nice.
• Are you a teacher? You really should take a look at Music for Teachers, Keith Havercroft's excellent and very professional site offering curricular and other advice to practising classroom teachers. Highly recommended.
• Also mainly (though not entirely) for teachers,Unknown Composers. Bored with Bach and Beethoven? (Who could blame you?) Here are lots of perfectly good composers you've probably never heard of before!
British Reserve Insurance - the insurance company most musicians use. Part of the Cornhill group.
"Viola Jokes" Nuff said!
The Ravenscroft Consort, a group of musicians who play music written four or five hundred years ago or even more - "Early Music". As a beginner you are not likely to be involved with this type of music. It's popular, though, and uses some interesting and unusual instruments. Open this link and then click on "The Instruments" to learn more about them.
Voce is a new young mixed-voice choir based in the Midlands. We haven't heard them yet ourselves, but they must be very good - they've got a smashing website!
Earmaster is a programme for Windows that lets you practise your aural skills.