It happens all too often… you are trying to make a handout, Web site, or presentation more interesting by finding graphics to include in your project and you are not able to find them. Worse yet…you steal “any old” graphic right off the web…, but you don’t have to because there are many Web sites that offer music related graphics, icons, and pictures to you for free (public domain) or their authors/creators will allow you to use them based on their license agreement.
This post contains a great starter list that I’ve compiled to help you find the music related graphics, photos, images, and clip art that you’ve been looking for:
Bb Musician @ http://www.bflat.musician.org.uk/ has a great collection of music clip art and animated clip art as well as an interesting collection of instrument related jokes.
Creative Commons Search @ http://search.creativecommons.org/ is the “big dog” on the street when it comes to finding images that are available under the creative commons (CC) license program. It takes a little bit of time to get used to the interface but it allows you to search Google, Yahoo, Flicker (see below), and others.
Every Stock Photo @ http://everystockphoto.com is an excellent site that has millions of “free to use” photos indexed and lists them by license. This is the closest site I’ve found to providing the ease of use of the now defunct photo search site YotoPhoto.com –which was amazing and I would love it come back!
Flickr CC Search @ http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons boasts millions of free photos to use about any topic imaginable. Use the creative commons search to find photos that you can use for almost any application -provided you give proper credit as per the CC agreement.
FreeFoto @ http://freefoto.com offers a great selection of photos that may be used for free online or in school projects. The site has some very nice images but there is also a lot of advertisements to deal with as well. Nonetheless, it has a good, usable, and free collection of music related photography.
Music Graphics Galore @ http://www.musicgraphicsgalore.net/ offers a great variety of music clip art, backgrounds, and icons. This site has graphics very appropriate for use on handouts, student Web pages, etc.
PD Clip Art @ http://pdclipart.org boasts over 25,000 public domain pictures, including a number of music related images.
Wikimedia Commons @ http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page offers a HUGE selection of free media related files, over 3,000,000 of them! It includes some very nice gallery pictures of instruments and graphics of music related interest. In my opinion, this is one of the best places to find specific music images. For instance, try typing in “trumpet valve” and then view the cool diagrams that appear in the search results. Make sure that you check the license for each graphic you are viewing to ensure that you use it as per the authors wishes; each graphic will have different agreements.
If you know of any more places to find free music related graphics, clip art, etc. please let me know in the comment sections below.
Note: I’ve written about the Creative Commons Licence quite a bit in this article to find more information about them, go to this link: http://creativecommons.org/
Joseph M. Pisano, Ph.D., is an industry innovator, educator, clinician and lecturer, trumpeter and conductor, and the creator of many music and education websites. He is currently the Vice President of Innovation and Engagement at Keystone Ridge Designs, Inc. After twenty-three years as a professor and administrator in higher education, he made the move into industry in 2018.
As one of the youngest full professors in Grove City’s history, he served in many capacities during his tenure including Professor of music, Director of Music and Fine Arts Technology, Technical Director of the Pew Fine Arts Center, Associate/Assistant Chair of Music and Fine Arts, Director of Jazz Studies.
He finished his tenure at the college as the Director of Bands, where he directed the college’s Symphonic Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Marching Band, Pep Band, and various smaller ensembles. He continues to guest direct bands, consult with music programs, and adjudicate ensembles and programs today.
He has been named a TI:ME Teacher of the Year, received the JEN Jazz Educator Award, the PA Citation of Excellence, and named a “member for life” of the PA Intercollegiate Bandmasters Association. He is a past Vice President of the Technology Institute for Music Educators, an associate member of the American Bandmasters Association, a past President of the PA Intercollegiate Bandmasters Association, and a member of various education and music honoraries.
He has written for numerous publications including DCI Magazine, Teaching Music Magazine, SBO, and was the Educational Editor for In-Tune Monthly Magazine for eight years; he has contributed hundreds of articles to various publications.
He is an active conductor, trumpeter, clinician, and educator. Find out more at his website: jpisano.com.