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Claraoke: Books with Play-Along Recordings

To my thinking, the explosion in songbooks with play-along recordings is fantastic. They are a major step forward in learning music naturally, and are a tremendous asset to the teacher when used properly.


Play-Along Books for Beginners

Standard of Excellence: Taking America by Storm! (method book)

Standard of Excellence is a band method which features the option of play-along recordings, and includes a workbook for music theory & history. If your child is using this in band, I recommend getting the play-along recording. These accompaniments can really crack the whip on students, while providing important problem-solving tools.

The Theory/History book is good for classroom use, but students studying privately should look to something more powerful, like the Master Theory Workbook (Kjos Publishing).

Play-Along Books for Intermediate Students (2-3 years)

Why I love Band Jam:

Other great Hal Leonard playalongs include Rock Jam, Jazz & Blues, Hymns to the Master, Dixieland Jam, Christmas Classics and Favorite Movie Themes. Search for them by title on Hal Leonard Online under the category of "Percussion & Solo Instrumental."

But the best feature of this series by far is the fact that the same book is published for flute, clarinet, alto saxophone, trumpet and trombone. All of the same songs are in the same concert keys, and the different parts can interface with each other. Great for musical families.

Material in this book leans towards old standards and light classics, but it's a great forum for a younger player to get started on his/her own.

Play-Along Books for Advanced Students

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