Q: My son just started college this year and is taking music theory. This is the first interest in music he has expressed, besides having a car stereo that is rated on the Richter Scale rather than in decibels. Music isn't his major but he sounds like he wants it for a hobby. I'm overwhelmed because I see it as a blessing in that we can rebuild our broken relationship. We haven't talked so much in years. The real question is how can I direct him when it comes to ear training. I know that they will use interval training in the class. I have loaned him my Ear Training One Note Complete and told him that if he followed the method he would be able to hear much better than the interval method. I know that this will cause him confusion because when they test him on intervals he needs to be able to pass their test. But I believe in your method. What do you think? I loaned him a guitar and ordered him your First Steps for a Beginning Guitarist Book.
A: Well I think you did the right thing to give him the Ear Training One Note Complete Book. At least now he knows there is an alternative. It really shows you care about him and he will realize that, maybe not now, but certainly later if he continues with music and sees that the interval thing just isn't cutting it. First Steps for a Beginning Guitarist is a good choice because if he starts learning the guitar and follows even half of the information on proper technique he will improve quickly. Of course he could use Music Theory Workbook for Guitar Volume One but you might want to wait until you are sure he is serious because that is a hard book and takes a lot of will power and determination. It's a great way for a guitarist to learn music theory. Applying music theory to your own instrument is the best way to make sense of your instrument and also a great way to help you remember all of the theory relationships because you see them on your instrument. Depending on the type of music he likes you might also consider some of the other ear training books like: Heavy Metal Ear Training or Singing the Blues or Blues Guitar Ear Training. Or you might consider the Ear Training Direct Application CDs. That way he is just hearing a groove and a note every once in a while and he can then guess and see if he is right. I usually recommend the Direct Application books after students are getting around 50% correct answers with the Ear Training One Note Complete but hey if it gets him interested in ear training then it's a good thing. Sometimes just changing the sound or the way the exercises is presented can make all the difference to keep a young person interested.
Wishing you the best of luck with your son he's lucky to have a father who cares. If you need further advice let me know.