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Backing Tracks: Where to Find Them and How to Use Them While Practicing

Practicing an instrument takes a lot of time and dedication.

To get the most out of your practice routine, it is important that you do different exercises that challenge your musical intuition.

One extremely useful tool that you may not have thought of is using a backing track to practice on.

In this article, I'll explain why backing tracks are useful and how you can use them to become a better musician.

I also provide a couple of free backing tracks for you to practice with.

What is a backing track?

A backing track is a piece of music that is made for musicians to practice with it. Even a simple drum loop counts as a backing track, but it can also be a complete arrangement with chord progressions and rhythm sections.

Musicians use backing tracks for a variety of reasons.

Whether you're just starting out or you're already a seasoned musician, here are a few ways you can incorporate backing tracks into your routine.

1. A metronome that is fun

A click track is helpful, no question about it.

But if you practice for a few hours, the constant clicking of the metronome can tire your hearing quite a bit and dampen your creativity.

Why not replace the metronome with a looped drum beat?

The purpose of the metronome is to learn to play along with the rhythm of a drummer, so it can't hurt to play along with a real drum track!

2. Learn to recognize different rhythms and genres

Another benefit of the backing track is that you not only learn how to play along with the rhythm, but that you develop a better understanding of the mood and rhythm of different genres.

Believe me, playing along to a funky breakbeat drum loop feels completely different than playing along to an anthemic rock drum pattern.

By playing along to backing tracks with different rhythms and genres, you develop your musical intuition, which will make you a better musician to play in any band.

Become a better musician who can play in any band.

3. Learn different time signatures

As with the problem with the metronome, learning odd time signatures with a click track isn't ideal either - you miss the nuances of the subdivisions of odd time signatures.

Using a backing track with an odd time signature or even a triple meter can teach you how to navigate the difference between a waltz and a shuffle or a psychedelic 7/4 riff.

4. Learn different chord progressions

Learning how to play along with different rhythms and time signatures is super important.

But to take your artistic palette to the next level, you should definitely play along to backing tracks with chord progressions.

This is the best way to connect your rhythmic sensations with chord theory and to expand your playing skills.

Browse backing tracks and keep an eye out for genres you like - there are tons of backing tracks out there that focus on chord progressions for jazz, funk, soul, R&B, rock, and more.

Check out some great backing tracks further down in the article!

5. Learn how to play a solo along with a chord progression

Once you've mastered your rhythm and chord changes, you're ready for the holy grail of backing track practice: the solo played along with a chord progression.

The holy grail of backing track practice is a solo played along with a chord progression.

You can do this exercise for hours and have a lot of fun every time.

Sure, it takes time to get there, but you'll be grateful the next time you jam with other people and can quickly select a chord progression and play a solo with her.

This type of inspiring practice is standard even for the best professional jazz musicians, so there is no reason not to include it in your routine!

Get Free Backing Tracks!

Are you convinced Backing tracks are great!

But where can you find backing tracks to practice with?

There are a few points of contact that are worth taking a closer look at.

Jamey Aebersold is known among jazz students for his jazz standard backing tracks, which include complete jazz rhythm sections - drums, bass and piano / piano.

His backing tracks are great if you want to learn how to improvise to jazzy chord changes. Like the F-Blues in the following track:

But I'll tell you a secret: There's a really cool way to make your own custom backing tracks, and it's free!

Get customized backing tracks with Creator

If you haven't tried Creator au LANDR Samples, you should definitely do so!

If you haven't tried Creator on LANDR Samples, you should definitely do so!

Creator is a simple beatmaking tool with a couple of extremely useful features in case you just want to create a looped backing track in the style of your choice.

The reason I find Creator so useful as a backing track tool is that it can easily transpose all samples into all keys and BPMs.

That means you can practice in any key and any tempo, no matter which samples you use.

You can find out how it works in the following video.

Below, I'm linking to a couple of extremely simple creator loops that you can experiment with.

Don't forget: Creator has up to eight tracks in which you can insert samples.

I deliberately left a few spaces free in the Creator Loops so that you can add your own samples and experiment!

1. Country backing track
2. Soul backing track
3. Rock backing track
4. Indie backing track
5. Pop anthem backing track

The coolest thing about Creator is that you can personalize your backing tracks and transpose them into any key.

It's a cool tool to practice with - not to mention it's a great way to show off your sampling ideas to beatmakers and producers.

Be ready for your next jam

As soon as you have what it takes to play along with backing tracks, you can also play along with other people.

As soon as you have what it takes to play along with backing tracks, you can also play along with other people.

Jam is about experimenting and having fun.

It's not about beating your head over music theory - in fact, if you think too much about music theory while playing, you are sabotaging yourself.

Practicing to a backing track is fun and a risk-free way to become a better musician and sharpen your musical instincts.

Annika loves strange stories and dazzling characters. She writes about music and everything else she can get her hands on.