family playing digital grand piano

Audio files are exactly what you think they might be: a collection of sounds. For example, if you purchase a song from iTunes and play it on your phone, your phone will produce sound. Songs from iTunes, Pandora, Spotify and similar services are stored as audio files.


Audio and mp3

Uncompressed audio files are typically stored using a file format called “.wav” or “dot wave” (these were commonly found on CDs) and they are literally changing the today’s musical landscape. Modern 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 students 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…” (certain Bluetooth apps can also speed up, slow down or change the pitch of audio files – in case you’re not ready to play a song at full speed.)

Yamaha Clavinova CSP digital piano

The CSP-Series Yamaha Clavinova digital pianos can “listen” to your iTunes songs and generate play along notation so you can play with your favorite bands even without printed music!

Mp3 files, however, are compressed versions of audio files. Most commonly associated with programs like iTunes, these files contain sound, but take up much less space than their “.wav” brothers. Many of the music books printed today come with companion audio files (often in mp3 format) that can be quickly downloaded to a mobile device and played wirelessly through a Bluetooth-capable digital piano. With the right Bluetooth app, you can still change both tempo and pitch – making these files great for learners or piano hobbyists who love playing along with their favorite bands. Some Yamaha Clavinova digital pianos even record in mp3 format so players can easily share their original music.  Other models can “listen” to mp3 files and produce a play along score – making it possible to play with your favorite bands even if you don’t have printed music!  This feature is called “Audio to Score” and it is available on select Yamaha Clavinova digital pianos.

Whether you’re looking for an authentic “live band” experience (with play-along apps like Sheet Music Direct Play Along) or you just want to control your party playlist from your smart phone, make sure your digital piano is Bluetooth compatible – regardless of our musical skill.  All of the major lessons series (Alfred, Faber, Hal-Leonard, Bastien, etc.) have companion audio files that can help you learn to play better and faster than ever before and you won’t believe the fun you’ll have!  Why not give them a try? You might just be one click away from your next musical obsession!