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The purpose of this interlude (please read!)

This is an important Interlude. It is designed to show you how to download Aebersold playalong tracks from iTunes, play them and record with them using Audacity, and share the results using SoundCloud.

This acivity is described as a “small” Interlude but, in fact, the 5 videos last a total of half an hour. But understanding what to do is central to the way the course works since it relies on you being able to play with playalong tracks. It will probably require some effort to get everything working fully, but I am confident that you will find it really beneficial in the long run and so I strongly urge you to put in the effort required.

Why is it so important?

I think there are 5 reasons:

  1. You can vary the speed of the playalong tracks so you can slow things down, if necessary, to start off with and then speed them up as you gain confidence
  2. It helps you to play in time, which is essential
  3. The quality of the Aebersold tracks is generally high and so it can help you to produce an overall “good” sound
  4. It is fun and one can even come close to “swinging” on occasion (a group is said to “swing” when they all lock into the same time concept and thereby reach a greater height of creativity)
  5. You can record your efforts and share them with others

What technology should you use?

There is the question of paying for Aebersold tracks versus using other facilities such as iReal Book, for example. Music is available for Aebersold tracks but only chord changes for iReal Book. However, I provide all the music (charts) for this program in downloadable form.

To help you decide, here are approximately the Number of tunes covered/Number of Aebersold playalong tracks for each part of the program:

Parts Of The Course Tunes covered/Aebersold playalong tracks
I. Starting Mainly With The Blues 4/5
II. Improvising On Tunes 7/8
III. Solo Piano & Advanced Topics 15/9
IV. Final Topics & Two Concerts 45/32

Knowing precisely what to put in this Interlude is difficult, because people’s backgrounds and facilities are very varied, but I hope there is enough to get you started. Some people are computer literate and find it easy to download software and use it. Others have greater difficulty. If you have difficulty, then in the final analysis you can always “consult the manual”. Another thing worth trying is simply to ask a question on Google. It is surprising how much helpful information is out there.

In addition, people have different computing facilities such as computer/laptop/tablet/smart phone and different playing facilities such as a piano or keyboard. When it comes to playback and recording, this can also vary markedly involving such things as internal/external microphones, internal/external speakers and the use of cans (headphones). Since this is so central to the experience, I suggest you experiment to find out what works best for you.

Offering feedback

Finally, if you listen to other peoples’ efforts and are prepared to offer feedback, then please do so, but do it sensitively. You do not know the background of the person involved or the facilities at their disposal. Praise may be always welcome, but criticism generally isn’t, unless it is constructive criticism designed to encourage people on their learning path.

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This article is from the free online course:

Learn Jazz Piano: I. Begin with the Blues

Goldsmiths, University of London

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