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  1. #1

    Default Practicing with Band in a Box

    I've been practicing along with BIAB for a few months now - I've not used any of the many playalong music books since I started using BIAB. Here are some of the useful things you can do with BIAB:

    You can find any songs in MIDI format and convert it to BIAB format for playalong (even though some are poorly sequenced, but generally you should be able to find a good one).

    The melody of the song can be "ripped" so that you can get a notation and print it out if you like. You can also get BIAB to transpose the notation to Eb or Bb instrument while playing the accompaniment in concert.

    Most jazz standards in MIDI format would also contain a good solo section which again can be ripped for practice.

    BIAB allows you to loop scan a section of the music with the notes so that you can practice until perfect any section. You can also slow the tempo while practicing.

    With a good sound card or software synth, you can get some awesome and realistic backup accompaniment eventhough MIDI format. I use the VSC software synth ($20). I think it is free if you buy one of the BIAB package deal.

    The "Soloist" program in BIAB allows you to generate an improvised solo basing on a selected "Style" to your liking. For example, you can put in a few bars of chords with a selected style (Charlie Parker 16th Swing, for example) and instruct BIAB to create a solo basing on the chords.

    You can also purchase the 101 Jazz riffs that is offered by BIAB practice some nice riffs.

    The list goes on.....

    Sounds like I work for BIAB , I don't but just thought I share this very useful pracitice tool with others. I have not fully explored all BIAB features yet but will be glad to help anybody who has questions. I currently have tons of practice materials that will last me a few years just by working with BIAB. I wish I have discovered this program sooner, I would have saved alot of money from not buying the saxophone music books.

  2. #2

    Default

    Have used BIAB for a few years and agree it's great. If you do a search for "Jazz standards Band-in-a-Box" you will also find a site with about 1000 jazz standards already in BIAB format (Jazz Standards 1, 2,3,4 and 5), easy and quick to download. It also has a Latin, Christmas and Misc section.

    Most popular standards are there and it's easier, IMHO, than importing Midis.

  3. #3
    Distinguished SOTW Member
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    Dave Wright's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    I personally couldnt listen to midi sounds for more than ....the count in, i assume you have tried Aebersold?
    There is a lot to be said for practicing with a metronome alone, still working through the chords etc,Count the click as the 2 and 4 and off you go..create your own harmony/rhythms while staying within the structure.
    Rollins played a lot with just bass and drums- makes you think a lot more about the harmony and not hide behind the comper...good luck

  4. #4
    Distinguished SOTW Member alsdiego's Avatar
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    Default

    Despite the hokey MIDI sound, BIAB can be a very useful practice tool. For one thing, you can take any tune and play it at a comfortable tempo while practicing improvisation. If I take a tune too fast, I tend to just use "muscle memory" and play licks. Taking it slowly makes it easier to "pre-hear" what you're going to play.

    BIAB's usefulness is only limited by your imagination. Right now, I using a book called "How to Improvise" by Hal Crook (excellent book, BTW). His practice exercises use various chord progressions. I enter the chords into BIAB, and practice away, using the book as a lesson plan. I've found my practicing is much more focused this way, and therefore way more productive.

    Al

  5. #5

    Default

    I have a keyboard I use to record my favourite standards.
    I usually restrict the voices to piano, rhythm guitar, bass and drums.
    I leave a couple of choruses and block the chords for my sax and then do an "ensemble" for a "big" finish.
    With modern keyboards you can play a tune in the key you prefer and then before playing it back, change this to one you want to use on the sax, and you can reduce the tempo and gradually work up to one you're happy with. All it costs is the price of a floppy disc.
    Tenor, YTS 62 I, Lebayle Jazz #8, with "ring" ligature (awesome!) / Link Super Tonemaster N/Y 7* Rovnor lll,

  6. #6

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    In addition the the Package what should I buy? I need to practice basic things like scales.

    What addons?
    And what about The Jazz Saxophonist?

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by StrtdTooLate
    In addition the the Package what should I buy? I need to practice basic things like scales.

    What addons?
    And what about The Jazz Saxophonist?
    If I am not mistaken, The Jazz Saxophonist is a standalone package.

    If you get the BIAB Megapack, it comes with all the addons. However, it does not have addons to practice scales. One of the addons, 101 Jazz Riffs provides the riffs in all 12 keys.

    I guess you can create your own scales for practice with BIAB by writing the scale in one key and progressively transposing it to all keys in the same song just like what they have done with the riffs in all 12 keys. Should not be difficult to do. For the matter, you can also write the arppegio in one key and transposing to all 12 keys. Just need to adjust the scales so that it will not fall out of the range of your horn.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by davesaxa1
    I personally couldnt listen to midi sounds for more than ....the count in, i assume you have tried Aebersold?
    Davesaxa1,

    You are right, midi sounds generated directly from the generic soundcard of a computer can be pretty bad. However, if you upgrade to a software synth, a good midi soundmodule or get a decent soundcard that supports soundfont technology, you can create some very realistic instrument sounds when you hook your computer up to a sound system.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by s4x4tt4ck
    If I am not mistaken, The Jazz Saxophonist is a standalone package.

    If you get the BIAB Megapack, it comes with all the addons. However, it does not have addons to practice scales. One of the addons, 101 Jazz Riffs provides the riffs in all 12 keys.

    I guess you can create your own scales for practice with BIAB by writing the scale in one key and progressively transposing it to all keys in the same song just like what they have done with the riffs in all 12 keys. Should not be difficult to do. For the matter, you can also write the arppegio in one key and transposing to all 12 keys. Just need to adjust the scales so that it will not fall out of the range of your horn.
    Couldnt fine 101 Jazz Riffs exactly like that. Was it actually called something else? Like 101 Essetnial Phrases for Jazz piano?

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by StrtdTooLate
    Couldnt fine 101 Jazz Riffs exactly like that. Was it actually called something else? Like 101 Essetnial Phrases for Jazz piano?
    You are right. It is called "101 Essential Jazz Phrases for All Instruments" at the PG site.

  11. #11
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    hgiles's Avatar
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