Audio Tracks FAQ
1. What's the difference between recordings and play-along tracks?
Recordings are just straight-up recordings of the solos from a method book or supplemental collection. These are great to have on hand as reference tracks, but they're not meant to be used to play along with.
Play-along tracks (or backing tracks, I use both terms) are orchestrated backgrounds that basically provide a "back-up band" for your student. They can be used during a lesson or at home by the student themselves while practicing. They're fun, inspiring, and a great way to help students internalize the beat and get used to playing in an ensemble situation.
2. Play-Along Tracks: What's the difference between the MIDI and Mp3s?
MIDI tracks are designed to be used with a Yamaha Clavinova or a higher-end Roland digital piano. The advantage of using the MIDI tracks is that you can change the tempos of the tracks easily. However if you don't have a Clavinova you should buy the Mp3 version of the play-along tracks. The Mp3 versions of the play-along tracks are exactly the same, and can also be loaded into a digital piano, but you will be unable to change the tempo of the track. I set the tempos of the tracks conservatively.
3. Help, what do I do with this .zip file?
The digital audio products from Piano Pronto consist of large zipped files. This is the most streamlined way to have you download a lot of individual audio files all at once. If you are an iPad user, I strongly recommend that you extract your files on a desktop computer unless you have an "un-zipping" type app and are proficient with file management on your iPad. Once purchased here's what you do:
1. Locate the .zip file, right-click, and select "extract all" (your system may ask you to choose a location to put your files).
2. Install the folder with the extracted files into any media player (most likely iTunes: File>Add Folder or on MAC: File>Add to Library)
2b. Alternatively, for Android users you can now move the folder over to your phone/tablet and use your media player of choice.
3. To access these files across all your Apple devices use the "Home Sharing" option in iTunes.
4. How should I amplify the sound in a lesson or recital?
1. If you have a digital piano with USB port: move the digital audio files you purchased onto a USB thumb drive and load the Mp3s or MIDI files right into the instrument and use the instrument as your set of "speakers."
2. Using the tracks with an acoustic piano? Bluetooth speakers are awesome, very inexpensive these days, and a great way to amplify the sound of the play-along tracks during lessons/recitals.
3. Any small external speaker can be connected to your laptop/ipad/mobile phone via a simple line-in audio cable in order to amplify the sound.
5. Can I share these files with students?
Play-along tracks and recordings, unless otherwise stated, are a single-user product. If students want to use the backing tracks at home they need to purchase their own set. You can send parents this instruction sheet to help them with the installation and usage of these products.
6. Do you have a video to help me?
Check out the Audio Tracks Tutorial video.