What is Audio?

Audio files are exactly what you think they might be:  a collection of sounds.  For example, if you purchase a CD at a local retail store and put that CD in your computer or car stereo, the CD player you are using will produce sound.  The files on that CD are audio files.

Audio and mp3
Uncompressed audio files are stored on CDs using a file format called “.wav” or “dot wave” and they are literally changing the musical landscape today.  Roland Digital Pianos can read these files, giving students a chance to play along with a full band accompaniment.  Not only is this much more fun than practicing alone, it also enhances listening skills, promotes even and regular tempo, and dramatically reduces the time it takes for you to learn a song.  Playing along with audio files can be a great reward piece for teachers.  “Practice hard and, when this song is ready, we’ll play it with a full band…”  (Roland Digital Pianos can also speed up, slow down or change the pitch of audio files – in case you’re playing with someone or you’re not ready to play it at full speed.)

Mp3 files, however, are compressed versions of audio files.  Most commonly associated with mp3 players (like the iPod), these files contain sound, but take up much less space than their “.wav” brothers.  Some models of Roland Digital Pianos also work with these files via a special “iPod” or “mp3” port.  Hook your iPod up and play with a full band.  You can still change both tempo and pitch with these files on your Roland.  The only thing you can’t do is save these files to a CD and play them in your car (unless your car stereo reads mp3s – and some do.)

Whichever file format you choose, make sure you find some fun play-a-long music to play.  All of the major lessons series (Alfred, Faber, Hal-Leonard, Bastien,  etc.) have companion audio files that you can purchase to play along with.  Why not give it a try?  Your playing skills will benefit tremendously from it… and you’ll probably have a ton of fun.

Ask Heather for advice on the best audio files for you.

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About James Harding

From the farmlands of Iowa, James joined the Gist staff in May of 2009. James began studying classical, jazz and piano improv from 4yrs old until he graduated from Le’Ecole De La Musica at age 18. In college, he majored in voice and music ministry. Then, in 2001, James took a job managing Simon’s Music. When West Music purchased Simon’s in 2004, James became their Certified Steinway Piano Specialist. Today, in addition to his leadership responsibilities at Gist Piano Center, James travels across the United States giving seminars on music education and piano technology and he writes the monthly "Tech Beat" column for Music Inc. Magazine.

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