Getting started

Welcome to a guide to research customized for MUS 8640: Rhythm Changes: Improvising Jazz Traditions. This guide includes suggested resources that may be helpful with your research for this course. 

This guide is broken up by the types of research tasks that you might be interested in (e.g., finding streaming recordings, locating primary sources, accessing journal articles, etc.). Use the tabs - located on the left side of the screen in a desktop browser, or at the very top or bottom of the page on a mobile device - to explore these different research tasks.


New for Fall 2020: For general information about University Libraries services and resources like hours, information on returning books and scores, and more, please visit our Using the Libraries during COVID-19 page.

Questions? Need help? 

This guide is made up of lists of suggestions and general resources. Need help finding something more specific? Contact Music Librarian Jessica Abbazio ( or the Music Library staff (

First thing's first: Why are library research skills important?

Because finding relevant and trustworthy sources will help you to understand your topic – and it will make it easier to talk/write about it.

Finding relevant and trustworthy sources on whatever you're researching – as opposed to Wikipedia or the first few results for a Google search – will make it easier to get started with exploring and writing about your topic. Wikipedia is an easy place to start, but it may not give you all the information you need. Diving into scholarly and peer-reviewed sources like the ones you’ll find through the Libraries is a great way to locate detailed information you can trust.

Gathering sources that are on-target for your topic will help you gain a thorough understanding of what you’d like to write about. This will make it easier to get started!

Starting your search for sources: The Libraries catalog and databases

The Libraries catalog and databases are the best place to get started to find books, scholarly journal articles, scores, recordings with metadata (like who's performing and when the performance took place) and liner notes you can trust, and more! These materials are all free to you as a University of Minnesota student and by using them, you'll find more relevant and trustworthy content than you'd find by using google.

Tutorial: What is a library database and why should I use one?

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to:
  • Identify what a library database is
  • Recognize the two main types of library databases
  • Know why you should use them
  • Understand why searching a library database is different than searching the general internet

Some music-specific examples to help you find what you really want: Tricks for searching in the Libraries catalog and databases

Last Updated: May 11, 2021 12:51 PM