After producing and delivering learning tracks online for around fifteen (15) years, we have some ideas to share with you regarding the use of our site and tracks. We also have to help singers come to the unfortunate understanding at times that they have invested $30-$60 in learning tracks that are not a match with their needs.
We hope this "process" will help you continue to select music optimally, help you purchase learning tracks you can use, and continue to enjoy singing!
1) Use the SongFInder Search, Categories, or Arranger listing to find songs.
SongFinder lets you search for songs in our library by entering words or complete titles. By clicking on the song title, you will see the details about that particular song, including the sample track and the arranger's name, which is also a link to contact information for that arranger.
A list of song categories is found on our home page. These are handy of you have an idea for a song, but don't have specific song titles in mind, or if you are trying to use a specific theme. There are also categories for contest-worthy songs, according to their arrangers.
Finally, if you have found an arranger whose songs you adore, you can use our arrangers list to view all songs by that particular arranger within our library.
If you LOG IN before performing your search, you can add songs to a wishlist of songs you like that can later be converted to your cart for purchase.
2) Listen to samples of songs you like.
Each full set of tracks has a 30-second sample, most of which start at the intro (beginning) of the song. The sample can give enough to know if you want to pursue a song you don't know OR confirm that the sample portion is a match if you already have your arrangement.
3) Purchase the single tracks of the songs you like and believe will be a good fit for your group.
This is a very important step if you already have an arrangement (chart) in hand, and are looking for matching tracks!
Single tracks are an MP3 that includes all parts singing the entire song. Each song title has a module to the right (or just below, if on mobile) that allows you to purchase a single track.
Single tracks let you hear the entire song, gives you an idea of the vocal ranges necessary to sing it, the length of the song...all of the goodies!
If you have several songs you are considering, we recommend using single tracks in a playlist for you and others who are in on the selection process that you can listen to for a week or so. At the end of that week, you will generally have a clear "winner" in mind. Or, you might want to make sure you've taken care of the next step before considering it a real contender.
4) Contact the arrangers for preview copies of their arrangements and make sure you have a match (current arrangement = learning tracks).
This is a big one. Nothing will break your heart more than LOVING a song and not being able to secure the arrangement for it...except to also have spent $60.00 on non-refundable learning tracks, too.
The detail screen for each title in our library contains a link to arranger contact information. If you cannot reach a particular arranger, you might try Googling them or searching for them in Facebook.
Please keep in mind that many of these arrangements are now being sold directly by Sweet Adelines International (SAI membership is not required to purchase), which offers an online preview of most songs.
This review needs to be very thorough, making sure that the tracks are an exact match to the arrangement. We recommend letting a section leader, if a chorus, or each part within a quartet review the arrangement while listening to the single track with a focus on their own part.
5) Learning tracks not a match for the arrangement? Contact us!
If your learning tracks are not a match because the arrangement has been updated, or group who commissioned the learning tracks had specific modifications for their interp, contact us to see if changes are minimal enough for free replacement, or the cost to replace, if major.
There are many reasons a learning track may not match a current arrangement. Check out this FAQ for more info on this topic.
6) For your "final decision" songs, now process full purchase and per copy fee with arranger.
Now that you have verified you have learning tracks that match your arrangement, and have decided upon your song(s) of choice, make sure you legally obtain the arrangement, paying arrangement and per copy fees.
7) Purchase and download full set of learning tracks.
Hooray...you're ready to get ready to learn a new song. With matching arrangement in hand, now you can purchase the full learning tracks for your song. Here's what you can expect in that learning track download.
8) Load learning tracks to central location that acts as a backup.
We are contacted by folks every month who have experienced a catastrophic failure on their laptop or PC, and all of their precious learning tracks are gone. Piling on top of that a reminder that songs are only available for download for 15 days after purchase is one of our least favorite circumstances!
Loading your new learning tracks to a cloud location (Google Drive, DropBox, iCloud, etc.) not only helps you share these large files with your fellow singers, it also provides a storage container for learning tracks that is not endangered when your cat knocks your coffee cup over and fries your laptop. Most cloud storage products have direct connection capabiility to your desktop or mobile device, so their location does not mean they are more difficult to play than local copies.
Other storage options are:
- Burn storage CDs
- Save files to a thumb drive
- Save files to an external hard drive
We hope these steps help you maximize your experience with our learning tracks and provides yet another way for you to enjoy singing!