Today music is everywhere — cars, elevators, shopping malls and more. With streaming media resources, the library can offer you a personal playlist that may be very different than what you would typically encounter. For example, search the Naxos Music Library‘s comprehensive collection of classical music before an exam to test the hypothesis that listening to Mozart can make you smarter. Or if you’re looking for some local flair, this database includes Marin Alsop, Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, so you have access to such gems as the live recording of the Bernstein Mass.

Perhaps you are in the mood to sample music from America’s past. Music Online: American Song includes songs by and about American Indians, miners, immigrants, slaves, children, pioneers, and cowboys. Included are the songs of Civil Rights, Prohibition, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, anti-war protests, and more. The variety is endless. For an afternoon pick-me-up, try the Cajun piece The Midnight Special. Or, if you want to hear George Gershwin play his own compositions, try Rhapsody in Blue.

The Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries is an encyclopedia of the world’s musical and aural traditions. It includes the published recordings owned by the non-profit Smithsonian Folkways Recordings label and the archival audio collections of the legendary Folkways Records.

The Classical Music Library is another multi-label database that contains classical music dating from Gregorian Chants to contemporary composers. For example, there are thirteen compositions of John Adams including a chamber piece titled Gnarly Buttons for Clarinet and Ensemble. So much to explore!

And last but not least is Opera in Video, which contains hundreds of hours of opera performances. You can search by opera, opera singer, and more — then sit back and enjoy a performance with or without subtitles. Watch and/or listen on your computer or stream to your iPhone or Android. Give it a try and why not begin with The Magic Flute by Mozart?

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