Protesting expensive textbooks

January 8, 2009

This quarter, I am able to provide all the “required books” from online sources. The students don’t have to pay a cent. (Actually, with the California state budget crisis, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were not an internet access fee, or some such fee, assessed.)

The prices publishers are charging for slim music theory text books is beyond rationalization. I am thrilled to see more and more public domain scans of traditional music, and professorial blogs and websites and webpages available on the internet that explain the issues perfectly well, and are free, or sometimes for a reasonable subscription fee.

Many of our students are “digital natives” and would really prefer their music library to be available on their laptops as PDFs. Many of the resources have music available as not only PDFs, but mp3s of General MIDI playback; mp3s of historic performances; and files that can be imported into Finale or Sibelius that can be printed as a score, or reorchestrated, or played back as MIDI files.

I still encourage students who are serious about building a (paper) music library, to not settle for these ancient editions, but to buy newer, better edited versions for their own libraries.

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