Musical Mondays

Welcome to Musical Mondays, a weekly blog where we share musical resources you can access from home.

All of these ideas are curated and brought to you by Lily Goldstein!

Musical Mondays, January 25, 2021

One silver lining to this incredibly difficult year is that - after spending more time at home in an effort to stop the spread - many of us have learned how to have quality time with ourselves. Jacob Collier seems to have taken that to a literal place - spending quality time making music with three other versions of himself! Please check out his energizing performance on NPR’s Tiny Desk (Home) Concert. Stick around for his endearing and relatable banter (with himself) between songs. 

Musical Mondays, December 28, 2020

While it may be the Monday after Christmas, I’m finding myself hanging on to as much holiday season cheer as possible. I recommend you head over to the following link to listen to Boston celebrities perform “A Visit From Saint Nicholas” (better known as “Twas the Night Before Christmas”) with The Boston Pops. Mayor Marty Walsh, Gov. Charlie Baker, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, and Patriots coach Bill Belichick are among the performers. It’s quite a treat!


Musical Mondays, December 21, 2020

To celebrate our first big snow of the year, I recommend making a big mug of hot chocolate and playing this version of  “Sleigh Ride” by Leroy Anderson! Click below to watch a beautifully produced virtual performance featuring students from the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras’ Repertory Orchestra.

Musical Mondays, December 7, 2020

Happy Musical Monday! Today, please check out “Good Kisser” by the Boston based band, Lake Street Dive. Turn it up and enjoy!

Musical Mondays, November 30, 2020

Here’s a reason to feel optimistic about the future of music. The young drummer, Nandi Bushell, has a Youtube channel filled with jaw-dropping performances of songs ranging from Nirvana’s In Bloom (below) to Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg’s The Next Episode. She even grabbed the attention of the one and only Dave Grohl, who joined her to face off in an epic drum battle! Click below for instant inspiration and contagious joy!

Musical Mondays, November 17, 2020

The Boston Lyric Opera has begun putting on free, outdoor, live performances through a series called Street Stage. In fact, if you’re free this Thursday, I invite you to see for yourself! Street Stage comes to the MFA this Thursday, November 19 for two outdoor sessions (at 1:30 and 3:00). You can register in advance through BLO’s Eventbrite page.

And because I couldn’t possibly mention the Museum of Fine Arts without plugging the Ames Free Library’s Museum Pass Program…

If you’re feeling inspired to make a day out of it and would like to visit the Museum of Fine Arts as well, keep the AFL in mind! Through our Museum Pass Program, you can reserve a discount pass to the MFA which grants admission for two people at $10 each!

Photo by Jesse Costa via WBUR

Musical Mondays, November 9, 2020

After months of tuning in for Musical Mondays filled with performances & music-related readings, perhaps you’re thinking it’s time you took a more active role! Head the WERS website to learn How to Teach Yourself to Play Guitar once and for all!


Musical Mondays, November 2, 2020

In anticipation of her forthcoming memoir, Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics, I’d like to showcase some of the work Dolly Parton does to expand children’s literacy and encourage the development of a love of reading.

In 1995, she founded Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, a program that mails high quality, age-appropriate books to children at no cost to the child’s family. Since its founding, the Imagination Library has sent more than 147 million books to children around the globe!

Click below to watch Dolly read The Little Engine That Could as a part of her “Goodnight with Dolly” series.


Musical Mondays, October 26, 2020

In response to a year like no other, composer Ellen Reid has designed an app to accompany New Yorkers as they wander through Central Park. The GPS-enabled app, called Soundwalk, features original musical “cells” which play based on where you are in the park -- like a musical choose your own adventure! 

While speaking with Jeff Lunden for NPR’s Morning Edition, Reid said she wanted to create  "a place to find joy and a way to connect with our phones, actually in a way that connects us to something larger than ourselves."

Listen to NPR’s story about this project by clicking here!

Musical Mondays, October 19, 2020

Photo by Dayzie Smith via Vice

With traditional concert venues closed due to the pandemic, some bands are coming up with creative ways to bring their live music to fans. This year, we've seen online live-streams, drive-in concerts, and even "space bubbles!" 

This summer, the members of the Flaming Lips and their concert attendees stepped into inflatable plastic bubbles for a performance they won't soon forget. Check out this article from Vice entitled “We Talked to a Fan Who Saw a Flaming Lips Show From Inside a Bubble” to learn more, and to see a video for yourself. Please be aware that the article does include some profanity.

Let us know what you think! Is this the future of rock and roll?

Musical Mondays, September 28, 2020

This week’s Musical Monday is Boston Public Library’s recording of the last of the Concert in the Courtyard Summer Series.

“Kevin Field (saxophone) and Blake Newman (bass) [...] perform works from the repertoires of the Ken Field Nonstandards and the Revolutionary Snake Ensemble, including Field’s original compositions and unique arrangements of traditional material, as well as improvisations utilizing looping electronics.” --Boston Public Library


Musical Mondays, September 21, 2020

Come follow me down a “rabbit hole” back in time for today’s Musical Monday… 

The year is 1967 and Jefferson Airplane has just released “White Rabbit,” a single from their album, Surrealistic Pillow. This psychedelic classic is full of imagery from Lewis Carroll’s famous works written a hundred years prior. “Cosmic!” you exclaim, as you page through your local library’s copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass with the earworm playing in the background. 

P.S. Have you heard of the bestselling young adult book called Go Ask Alice? It’s a first-person account of a teenage girl’s struggle to escape the pull of the drug world. The book’s name comes from the song “White Rabbit” and can be borrowed from the Ames Free Library by following this link!

Far out!

Musical Mondays, September 14, 2020

Did you know Steve Martin plays the banjo?(!?) He’s pretty good, so what are you waiting for? Go click below to listen! While we’re at it, consider this your excuse to borrow and read his fabulous biography, and/or binge-watch all of the Steve Martin movies you can get your hands on.

Musical Mondays, August 31, 2020

Phillip Sutton of the New York Public Library has put together the ultimate playlist on our behalf. Head over to his blog post entitled Ten Songs about Libraries and Librarians for this week’s Musical Monday!

Find more from the musical groups mentioned in our catalogue by following the links below:

Pains of Being Pure at Heart

Green Day

Camera Obscura

The Magnetic Fields

Frank Zappa

Musical Mondays, August 24, 2020

Take a moment to listen to this fabulous cover of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” recorded by musicians from all over the globe as a part of the Playing for Change project.

You can also borrow Marvin Gaye’s full album, What’s Going On, from the Ames Free Library, or electronically through hoopla!

Musical Mondays, August 17, 2020

Today’s Musical Monday is dedicated to those who are longing for when you could spend hours on end in the library. While not strictly musical, this resource is chock full of auditory ambiance; it brings the most peaceful sounds of a library straight to you. So, go ahead! Take a moment to hit play, open up a book, and get lost in another (perhaps more peaceful) world.

Musical Mondays, August 10, 2020

Have you ever wondered how to properly tune a Timpani? Would you like to learn more about conducting an orchestra? Perhaps you -- like me-- are curious about how to play a double bass with a chopstick! If so, you’re in luck. The Boston Symphony Orchestra has put out a series entitled BSO Homeschool, in which orchestra members tape themselves giving lessons on all of the above -- and more! Below is one episode of many for you to peruse.



Musical Mondays, August 3, 2020

Watch The Cochran Wrenn Duo perform for Boston Public Library’s Concerts in the Courtyard Series! For information on upcoming concerts (which you can watch live), head over to the BPL’s website.

Musical Mondays, July 27, 2020

For today’s Musical Monday, check out Sylvan Esso’s Tiny Desk Concert.

Musical Mondays, July 20, 2020

This song, Black Catbird by The Garifuna Collective, samples the sounds of an endangered bird species. In fact, it’s one of many off of the album, A Guide to the Birdsong of Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, whose proceeds go towards efforts to save endangered birds. 

While we’re on the topic of birds, don’t forget to check out Ames Free Library’s third episode of “Stepping Out,” in which Lorraine guides us through the ins and outs of nesting birds in our neck of the woods! 

Musical Mondays, July 13, 2020

See how many literary references you can spot in Bob Dylan’s single, “I Contain Multitudes,” which appears on Dylan’s newly released album, Rough and Rowdy Ways. If you’re feeling inspired to read some Walt Whitman or Edgar Allan Poe after listening to this song, head over to our catalog to place a hold for curbside pickup!

Musical Mondays, July 6, 2020

“There Will Be Time” by Baaba Maal and Mumford & Sons is the perfect soundtrack to a Monday morning after a long weekend. Click below to play this energizing song on YouTube!

Musical Mondays, June 29, 2020

Did you know that you can borrow music to your computer and mobile devices using Hoopla? Head over to Hoopla to browse and borrow up to 3 digital albums per month (for free!). If you’re looking for recommendations, check out the AFL: Dance Party collection specially curated for you by our staff. For more information on downloading and using hoopla, head over to our downloads page.


Musical Mondays, June 22, 2020

Hey, Red Sox fans! While many of us are missing going to baseball games, we can at least bring a part of the tradition into our homes. Head over to the 7th-Inning Stretch Facebook Page to watch Red Sox Organist Josh Kantor perform live from his home. Live shows start each day at 3:00pm EDT.

Musical Mondays, June 15, 2020

This week, please check out Chastity Brown’s 2018 performance at WERS in Boston. Brown is a Minneapolis-based singer-songwriter whose style can be described as soulful and folk-oriented. 

Best of all, midway through this performance, she lists authors James Baldwin and Octavia Butler as some of her biggest influences. If you’re feeling inspired, keep in mind that the AFL owns e-books, audiobooks, and physical copies of books by both authors. Check our catalog, or contact us for help finding your next big read!

Musical Mondays, June 8, 2020

Start your week off right with Moses Sumney’s smooth and expressive performance of his song, “Cut Me.”


Musical Mondays, June 1, 2020

For this week, please check out Lianne La Havas’s powerful and intimate performance for NPR Music’s Tiny Desk (home) concert series.

Musical Mondays, May 18, 2020

This week’s Musical Monday continues last week’s theme of live music inspired by fine art. Head over to the MFA’s website to watch Boston based violinist, Lilit Hartunian, perform three pieces written by composers who were active during Claude Monet’s lifetime. Hartunian expertly pairs each piece with one of her favorite paintings from MFA’s “Monet and Boston: A Lasting Impression.” The performances and commentary are not to be missed. Be sure to stick around for Hartunion’s moving interpretation of “La Fille aux cheveux de lin” by Claude Debussy.

Musical Mondays, May 11, 2020

Head over (virtually) to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum to watch their Choreographers-in-Residence perform an original dance set to dramatic flamenco music. This dance is inspired by John Singer Sargent’s painting, “El Jaleo,” and the music incorporates records from Isabella’s original collection. I recommend dancing along to it in your living room. The Ames Free Library offers passes to the Gardner Museum, so keep this in mind once the museum and library reopen to the public!

John Singer Sargent (American, 1856-1925), El Jaleo, 1882

Image retrieved from:


Musical Mondays, May 4, 2020

Today’s Musical Monday is a bit on the silly side. This week I witnessed a surprise performance by a local musician. He was playing Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da while marching down my street. His instrument? A beautiful - and unconventional - sousaphone with pointy scales running down its spine. Please take a look at this article from WBUR to see part of his performance and to learn about Nessie, “the world’s only Loch Ness Monster Sousaphone.”

Image credit: Robin Lubbock/WBUR

Musical Mondays, April 27, 2020

Check out The Silkroad Home Sessions: a set of live performances brought to you by Yo-Yo Ma’s Silkroad collective.  Balla Kouyaté will perform West African Mande Djeli Music today at 12:00pm EDT live on Facebook. Watch past recordings on this YouTube playlist. Have fun discovering new and different music!

Musical Mondays, April 20, 2020

Mariachi Nuevo Santander, a high school band from Roma, Texas, has posted multiple virtual performances, including this video of Cerca Del Mar. These videos are a fantastic reminder to continue to seek out joy through (virtual) connection.

Musical Mondays, April 13, 2020

Breathe in some island air while you listen to Taimane's live-set -- inspired by her Hawaiian homeland & Cuban musical traditions.

Click here to visit Taimane’s Tiny Desk Concert on NPR.


Musical Mondays, April 6, 2020

Wondering how to support your favorite local musicians during the outbreak?

Here is an article from NPR that offers multiple ideas. You can also donate to or apply for grants from The Boston Center for the Arts, Boston Music Maker Relief Fund.

If you’re a musician looking for financial assistance due to canceled gigs, this article from SheShreds links to multiple National and State resources.

Musical Mondays, March 30, 2020

With so many concerts and tours canceled, musicians are hosting virtual concerts on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and more. This article from NPR compiles a list of live performances and where to find them. It’s updated daily, so feel free to check back in as needed!

Also, check out “Stay at Home Fest,” an arts and music festival all from home. Our Library Technician, Lily, will be attending the “Pocket Vinyl” performance at 8:00pm. Pocket Vinyl is a duo who plays music and paints in each of their live performances. She’s never heard their music, but knows them for their cartoon Instagram account, @thetouringtest, and will gladly take this opportunity to learn more about them!

Musical Mondays, March 23, 2020

If you’re cooped up at home and seeking out free access to arts and culture, we have some good news!

You can now stream a different opera every night through the Metropolitan Opera’s website and apps. Tune in every night at 7:30pm EDT to stream encore recordings. The public has free access to these recordings until 3:30pm the next day.

You can find these recordings on the Metropolitan’s website, or through the Met Opera on Demand apps for Apple, Amazon, Roku, and Samsung Smart TV. 

To view the upcoming schedule, click here

Tune in next Musical Monday for more musical resources and recommendations!

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Daily Distractions
Daily Distractions
Musical Mondays