Guide to Research for the Wind Conducting Studio

Getting started

Welcome to a guide to research customized for the University of Minnesota Wind Conducting Studio! This guide includes suggestions of strategies and resources to help you get started with research on analysis, for writing program notes, for exploring reception history, and more. 

This guide is broken up by the types of research tasks that you might be interested in (e.g., finding streaming recordings, locating 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.

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 (

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!

Where should you look for sources?

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.

Many Libraries resources like the catalog and databases (and even Google and Google Scholar) have built-in tools to help you narrow your search results down to what you're really looking for. The videos and slides below provide examples of how to use things like Boolean operators (AND, OR, and NOT), quotation marks, wildcards, and more to zero in on the resources that will be most helpful for your research.

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

What is a library database and why should I use one tutorial video. 3 minutes.
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

Tutorial: Creating an effective search strategy

Creating an effective search strategy tutorial video. 3 minutes 24 seconds.
After completing this tutorial, you will be able to:
  • Use meaningful keywords to find the best sources
  • Apply search strategies like AND and OR to connect keywords

Tutorial: Database search tips

Database search tips tutorial. Self-paced.

Improve your searches! This guide will help you:

  • Apply search modifiers AND, OR, and NOT to your database searches
  • Recognize phrase searching and other advanced search techniques
Last Updated: Feb 8, 2024 4:16 PM