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The 300

Wade Cornell

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
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2,083
Locality
New Zealand and Australia
Today marks the posting of the 300th wikiloops track. Time for a rest as this is reasonably sized resource allowing members to find tracks that will give them a challenge.

The project was started with several goals in mind. There are obviously other sources of tracks to play along with. Many offer sheet music and chord notation to assist with your playing. The majority of these tracks are either known tunes or "standards" with the expressed goal of allowing the sax player to be the soloist. It's a good exercise, but limited, and not very representative of today's music. A player today is more likely to play with a DJ, in a band that's starting out with new material, backing rap, Latin, Reggae, or many other genera of contemporary music. Few of these situations require a "Jazz Vocabulary", "Classical Chops" or the knowledge of standards, but many do require an ability to improvise. Many/most of these situations won't provide written music. The player is expected to contribute by adding relevant backing, leads, harmonies, etc. in the appropriate style/genera.

The wikiloops tracks provide opportunities for serious players to experience these contemporary styles and at the same time add to them by improvising by ear. Many of these tracks are very easy, but nevertheless require being able to hear what you wish to play and achieve that without written notation. I can think of no better exercise as this forces the player to make a strong connection from their creative hearing to their hands without "translating" through one's eyes reading notes or chord notation.

These exercises are not meant to take the place of learning to read music, understand music theory, or developing a mental library of many types of music. It can however help an aspiring player tap into their creativity and help make a player achieve that all important connection that every great player has: make your instrument your voice. Traditional teaching has unfortunately left this out of most systems with the hope that eventually one will (somehow, sometime) make that all important connection. Hopefully exercises like playing these novel tracks will assist in making that connection. Another exercise is to put on the radio to stations and styles you wouldn't normally listen to and see if you can play along. Both wikiloops and the radio exercise require intense listening, understanding and anticipating where the music is gong, and then being able to play along in real time. One must be able to play what they are wanting to hear (have already heard in their heads) to do this well. This can be a key that unlocks real improvisation where you compose in real time.

It should be recognized that "ability/talent" will make this easier for some than for others. The academic route remains available to become good players as "readers" or play from a chart in a cut and paste manor. In all situations it's hoped that everyone can enjoy their playing and the journey.

For players who have professional ambitions, it's recommended that along with your dexterity/articulation exercises you practice playing by ear (in all keys) to make your instrument your voice. It's also obvious that playing contemporary music in the appropriate style will give you the best shot at success. The wikiloops tracks provide that exercise.

There are lots more tracks and these can be made available on request. Members can also go to wikiloops and find an enormous number of tracks there. Some will have chord charts, but not many.

An enormous thank you to Pete, Janette and the crew for hosting these tracks and seeing the potential of this project.

Here's wishing all of you a wonderful musical journey full of creativity and joy.
 
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Clivey

Senior Member
Messages
990
Locality
Edinburgh/Hot Rock off African Coast
Well done and big thanks Wade .Despite all the negativety you have encountered with some of the " musician" types here and particularly on the "other place" over the last 18 years. Which were frankly bullying and led to you disappearing for ages along with the Parrot / pith hat .avatar. lol.
You remain a true champion of original and indie thought.
I remember your tussles with Mike Millallo " also a great loss" musically and intellectually speaking" , well and learned much.
Re Wiki loops. I just wish they would try and work new interface/ front-page. I just can't get it , particularly when I spend so much online time on phones. "Tiny Text" sucks for most things.
Perhaps I will look again when my present patch runs dry.
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Supporter
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13,855
Locality
McLean, Virginia
Huge thanks for the Wikiloops, plus all your insightful and open minded contributions, as you know I especially agree with the positive and healthy questioning of orthodox teaching methods and repertoire.
 
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