Today I wanted to sit down and talk to you guys about Scribd, my new favorite app/website. I not only use the Scribd app to read books, but also to find sheet music to play.
In today’s video I’ll show you guys how Scribd works, why I love it so much, and why I think you’ll find it useful for your piano playing.
Here’s a link so you can click to give Scribd a free 30-day trial. It is an affiliate link, so I’ll receive a small commission if you decide to give it a try. I’ve been using Scribd for several months and plan on continuing to use it indefinitely, so I wouldn’t be recommending it if I didn’t use and love it myself!
What is Scribd?
Scribd is a reading subscription service, known as the “Netflix of Books”, that gives users unlimited access to the best audiobooks, ebooks, magazines and sheet music.
Another subscription service I’ve used for a while, Audible, is great for audiobooks – but one credit means only one book per month. The thing I love about Scribd is you can read as many books, listen to as many books, and play as much sheet music as you want with no limits.
Not only are you able to search for books to read, but as Scribd gets to know your preferences it’ll also give you book recommendations. A few books on my list (which you’ll see shortly) were found via recommendations.
How much does the Scribd app cost?
The monthly cost of Scribd is $8.99 USD per month. That gives you access to everything without ads – magazines, audiobooks, ebooks, and – of course – sheet music.
An interesting bundle is the Scribd + NYT bundle, which gives you Scribd and a subscription to the New York Times for $12.99. I’ve been considering upgrading my account to include this – it’s a great deal.
Who can use Scribd app?
Anyone can use the Scribd app or website – it’s available worldwide. You can even use it without a WiFi connection by downloading content onto your device.
This is awesome for me since I’m away from home a fair bit. My family lives in a small town, and I come into the city to visit friends, family and do some work fairly often. My parent’s farm has spotty WiFi connection, and I can’t always rely on coffeeshops.
What books can I read on Scribd?
Just like Netflix doesn’t have every TV show and movie ever made, the Scribd app doesn’t give you access to every single book in the world.
But my giant to-read list contains quite a few books to be found on Scribd, including some obscure ones. I’ll show you some of the books I’ve read in the last few months using Scribd:
- Your Best Year Ever by Michael Hyatt
- Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie
- The Plant-Based Solution by Joel Kahn
- The Montessori Method by Maria Montessori
- Understanding Waldorf Education by Jack Petrash
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
- There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather by Linda Akeson McGurk
- The Lifegiving Home and the Lifegiving Table by Sally Clarkson
- The Bhagavad Gita by Jack Hawley
- The Little Prince by Antoine de Exupery
- The Dry by Jane Harper
As you can see by this eclectic mix of books, I’ve been reading a mix of fiction (new and old), spiritual books, and parenting/childhood education books. I haven’t even come close to conquering my 300+ to-read list!
For books that I can’t find on Scribd, I do a search for my library’s e-books and audiobooks. If they don’t have it, then I sometimes get the book on Kindle. Between my library’s free app, Scribd’s subscription and the affordable prices of Kindle books, I’m pretty much in reading heaven.
What about sheet music on the Scribd app?
That covers the literature I read using my Scribd app – but what about sheet music?
Scribd has a treasure trove of sheet music. Some of you may know that one of my projects this year is to learn 100 pop songs (and then teach a course about it). The nice thing is, using Scribd, I don’t have to buy a whole bunch of sheet music.
In addition to having official sheet music for popular music titles by well-known publishers (like Hal Leonard and Alfred), they also have some user-submitted sheets. This is cool because it gives me the option to find and learn, say, a guitar solo from Aerosmith’s Dream On.
Most popular arrangements are for P/V/C (piano, vocal, chords), but sometimes you’ll find some piano-only arrangements. The levels range – you’ll find easy books and advanced arrangements. It just depends on the song.
Here are some songs that I’ve found from Scribd that I’ve been learning lately:
- Firework by Katy Perry
- Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd
- Piano Man by Billy Joel
- Best Pop/Rock Songs Ever (Hal Leonard)
- Pop Hits – Creative Piano Solo (Hal Leonard)
- Bon Jovi – Anthology
- Jimi Hendrix – Experience Hendrix
- Queen – Deluxe Anthology
- Queen for Classical Piano: The Phillip Keverin Series
- John Lennon – Imagine
There’s a huge amount of popular music to be found on Scribd – I suspect that I’ll find sheets for the vast majority of the 100 pop songs I’m learning.
What about Classical music?
Just as huge of a selection. A precursory search of “Chopin” finds me many Schirmer collections of preludes, nocturnes and waltzes. For Bach we’ve got his most beautiful melodies, 19 little preludes, first lessons in Bach, All Jazzed Up Bach, and more.
How do I use Scribd?
First of all you’ll want to click this link and get set up with a free 30-day trial.
Most devices are compatible with Scribd. You can download the app on iPads, iPhones, Android devices, and Kindle Fire.
I do most of my reading on my phone or Kindle, and I use Michael’s iPad for playing sheet music. You can even use your laptop if you so choose.
If you have a really ancient iPhone or Android you might not be able to use it. But most people should be good to go.
You can organize your books into categories
Once you have the app installed and you’ve started your 30-day trial, all you have to do is find great books to read and great songs to play!
Scribd gives you the ability to “save” books that you’ve been reading so that you don’t have to search for them every time. You can also add bookmarks, something I put to great use when I’m working in a large music songbook or cooking several recipes from a cookbook.
Not only can you save books you’re reading, you can also create categories/folders for your books. I’ve started doing this recently – categories I’ve made include:
- 100 pop songs
This is a really useful function once you start consuming more content – especially with sheet music, things can get unruly really fast.
Give Scribd a try for free!
If all of this sounds good to you, I encourage you to try out Scribd’s free 30-day trial. This will let you explore the app and see if it’s right for you. I’m sure you’ll love it!
I’d love to hear from you – do any of you guys use Scribd? Are there other music-related apps that you love? Oftentimes I’m inspired to check these kinds of things out because a lot of you recommend them. If I love something enough, I’ll make a video about it and share with everyone.
Let me know what you think, and I’ll catch you in the next video!