If you have not already, first and foremost I want you to head over here to the MXP4 website and experiment with the “stripped” Michael Jackson mixes that are provided. I have been having the best time just listening to the different elements of the mix by themselves and then, how they fit into the grand scheme of the production.

A few words about MXP4 which is being heralded as a great alternative to the almost passe mp3. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it over here at GFM but I’m not a big fan of mp3. Do I use them on a daily basis? Certainly, because they are convenient to move around blah, blah blah. Do they sound good? No. But then again we have yet to approach anything that sounds as good as the analog tape vinyl combination, but that’s my opinion. Does it even matter? It sort of reminds me of my hate-hate relationship with Wal-Mart. Is there anything of value there? No, but it’s (allegedly) cheaper and convenient(but at what price)?

But I digress…

MXP4 has a lot of potential as a player in the format wars. Now it has really found a stronghold in the remix world. MXP4 offers the opportunity to have a lot more associated content than mp3. So instead of just audio and text you have the opportunity to house under one roof: photos, news, the ability to remix using different elements of the song and more.

Now for me the most exciting aspect of this format is not the ability to “remix”. No, I am very excited about the ability to listen to the different elements of a “classic” track played by master musicians as a teaching tool. You wanna “Save the Music”? Incorporate this tool with some dedicated teachers who can put the music and the technology into its proper context. You want an example? The possibilities are endless.

Using the Jackson 5 examples that have been provided you could assign the entire rhythm section: bass, guitar, piano and drums their individual elements for homework. “Here’s the sheet music now take your individual part home and play the recording, read the music and play your instrument.” Then not only do that but read the biographies of the “Funk Brothers” who played on these recordings. This is one of the best ways to learn, by combining all of these elements.

Technology should never make a musician put an instrument down, it should encourage them to pick one up and what better way to learn than to be able to play along with the great masters(pun intended).

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.