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Beginner Backing Tracks?

Jeanette

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It's no secret I am still very much a beginner with sax and with reading/playing music. It is also no secret that I'm pretty lousy with timing. However I have had a bit of a revelation tonight :)

Since buying the alto it has been a bit like starting again but not quite as hard as first time round. I wasn't sure where to start and dug out a beginners book for alto, a new tune a day for alto, which I got with my second sop (not sure why they had a book for alto but hey ho) It does however have a cd with it unlike the sop book I learnt from. They are short easy tunes which has meant I have been able to concentrate on the counting and listening to the backing track.

What I have found is that unlike when I play without a backing track or even along to my tutor's recordings I am starting to feel the beat a bit more and can certainly hear the changes in the backing track..

So I am interested in knowing do those of you who teach regularly use backing tracks with your students?

Those of you still early on in your learning have you played much with backing tracks and has it helped?

Just interested :)

Jx
 

Jay

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As long as they're not Aebersold backing tracks...:eek:

Seriously, I like playing to backing tracks because it's fun and it does give you a good sense of the beat and of timing - no slowing down for the hard bits ;)

On the other hand, when I'm playing to backing tracks I don't listen to my tone and nor do I stop and practice the bits over and over that I need to, I just fluff through and continue.

So I find a mixture of mostly without, and a bit of with, is good. Except learning to improvise, when it's the other way round.
 

jbtsax

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Jeanette, good question. I taught beginning band students for 27 years. When the "Standard of Excellence" band method came out that had CD accompaniments, I gave it a try. It was amazing, especially with the first year beginners. Each exercise or song in the method book had an interesting and musical accompaniment on the CD. The first time through included the melody, and the second time was just the accompaniment.

The best part was that the students loved to play along with the CD because it made them sound pretty good right away. What they didn't know is that they were practicing playing in tune with fixed pitch instruments like keyboard and bass where they could hear the chords and a bass line. Another bonus was that they were practicing with a metronome by playing along with the drum set on the recording.

Like I have written before on this forum, using the 1st and 2nd year beginning band method books of a good series is an excellent way to learn to play an instrument. An adult beginner could easily master each page in one or two days and move quickly though the material while mastering the fundamentals of playing the saxophone and reading music.
 

Jeanette

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The best part was that the students loved to play along with the CD because it made them sound pretty good right away. What they didn't know is that they were practicing playing in tune with fixed pitch instruments like keyboard and bass where they could hear the chords and a bass line. Another bonus was that they were practicing with a metronome by playing along with the drum set on the recording.

I think you are spot on there, I wish I'd done the same when I first started, still I can continue doing it now. The book I have has two recordings for some tunes like yours one with the melody and one without.

Like I have written before on this forum, using the 1st and 2nd year beginning band method books of a good series is an excellent way to learn to play an instrument. An adult beginner could easily master each page in one or two days and move quickly though the material while mastering the fundamentals of playing the saxophone and reading music.

Agree completely

Jx
 

Colin the Bear

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Playing a rhythm instrument and singing along helps. Or maybe just clapping and singing. Isn't that what they do with little kids at school?

I feel it's more about phrasing than counting. An old song that you can listen to various masters playing, in various styles is easy but I struggle with new original pieces.

Can you hear the backing track when you're playing without one?
 

getjamming

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There are so many useful aspects of playing along with recordings (as mentioned above).
My students get a buzz out of being recorded with the backing tracks. At the end of the year I present them with a CD of their own recordings - cover art and all!
Other than being a reward/novelty, the greatest plus is that during the lesson we listen to the recording and evaluate where attention is needed (eg. intonation, timing, phrasing, dynamics etc.)
 

garyoke157

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My daughter is currently learning to play cornet as well as guitar and keyboards, oh and dance, musical theatre, tap, ballet......it's a never ending list! but back to the point.

I find that transposing for alto sax and playing along with her, sometimes both playing melody or one of us harmonising helps both of us. I haven't played with a band for years and it will be a while yet before I'm back to the standard I once was so I'm now introducing backing tracks for both of us.

I like them because they keep me on my toes and my daughter likes them because she's playing the kind of music she wants to and I've noticed a vast improvement in her timing and ability to play in tune since using them.
 

Jeanette

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My daughter is currently learning to play cornet as well as guitar and keyboards, oh and dance, musical theatre, tap, ballet......it's a never ending list! but back to the point.

I find that transposing for alto sax and playing along with her, sometimes both playing melody or one of us harmonising helps both of us. I haven't played with a band for years and it will be a while yet before I'm back to the standard I once was so I'm now introducing backing tracks for both of us.

I like them because they keep me on my toes and my daughter likes them because she's playing the kind of music she wants to and I've noticed a vast improvement in her timing and ability to play in tune since using them.


It is so much more fun playing with others. :)

Thanks for that

Jx
 

scalez

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As long as they're not Aebersold backing tracks...:eek:

Seriously, I like playing to backing tracks because it's fun and it does give you a good sense of the beat and of timing - no slowing down for the hard bits ;)

On the other hand, when I'm playing to backing tracks I don't listen to my tone and nor do I stop and practice the bits over and over that I need to, I just fluff through and continue.

So I find a mixture of mostly without, and a bit of with, is good. Except learning to improvise, when it's the other way round.

Hi

What's wrong with Aebersold please? Or were you just joking becuase they're the most "popular?"
 

Nick Wyver

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What's wrong with Aebersold please?
Nothing, but they don't have a track with someone playing the tune so you actually have to read the music. Some find this difficult (I'm not saying Jay does of course).
 

Jay

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Hi

What's wrong with Aebersold please? Or were you just joking becuase they're the most "popular?"
I find them really unpleasant to play along with. Actually, I found them unpleasant. I have since found that if I mute the piano almost entirely, and turn up the bass and drums, then they're OK (ADHD sensory overload when I'm trying to think about what I'm playing - my brain is easily fried!)
 

Nick Wyver

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I agree with Jay. I just can't make out the changes in an Aebersold backing track.
Presumably not all of them. They differ quite considerably. Are there any in particular you find difficult?
 

Dave Mac

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Presumably not all of them. They differ quite considerably. Are there any in particular you find difficult?

All of the ones I've tried from "Maiden Voyage". I recall several other posts saying the same about Aebersold backing tracks ..... probably from other people with similar limited ""ear". I think the Aebersold books assume a bit more experience from their readers than they advertise.

Have I gone off-topic?
 

Nick Wyver

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I think the Aebersold books assume a bit more experience from their readers than they advertise.
Quite probably. Have you tried the Hal Leonard ones? The "Jazz Classics with easy changes" includes "Well You Needn't" so either they're just having a laugh or there's a definition of "easy" that I've missed somewhere.
Have I gone off-topic?
I shouldn't imagine so.
 

Veggie Dave

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I've just started using backing tracks to jam to and I'm finding it really enjoyable. Not quite as much fun as playing with a real band but as close as I'm going to get in the near future. ;)

I'm finding it's helping with relaxing and just playing, allowing me explore melodies and different timings. Definitely recommended. :)
 
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