Q: I have purchased the Ear Training One Note Complete Book. After a very short period of time (a few hours spread out over a day or two) I found I could get over 90% correct at the advanced level. However, I'm not sure I'm really "getting it" and I am wondering what you would suggest.
You see when I hear the note, somewhere in my brain I recognise it instantly. However that recognition is not communicated to me as a label but as what I'd call a "note signature." I think in a FAQ you referred to this as the way a note resolves to another note. But in my case upon hearing a note I immediately get a signature tune.
G#: G#-G-B-C, etc.
It's very quick - quick enough that I can figure out which note it is before hearing the answer... but I am just "figuring it out" and not really "knowing" the note like I do when I hear C (which is clear as a bell which I assume is what we're aiming for with the other notes).
The signatures of some notes are similar which is why I occasionally get the answer wrong. In fact the notes with the weakest signatures (G & E which I guess don't tend to resolve to anything but C) are the ones I get wrong the most. From reading your FAQ these seem to be the ones others get right first.
I suppose if I just keep listening to the CD the note signatures will eventually get dropped for real recognition.
My question is this: should I go back to the beginning CD at this stage or will sticking to the advanced be equally effective? I'm finding it quite hard to not hear the signature tunes and to simply take in the feel of the note... even at high speed. It seems I need to turn my brain off and don't know how! I'm at a loss so hopefully you've come across this problem before. If you can suggest any other exercises I'd appreciate it.
A: The problem with hearing a note signature is notes don't always resolve the way that you are resolving them in your head so when a note sequence comes along that doesn't conform to your usual resolution you make a mistake.
You problem is common and usually what I have students. I would try is to just concentrate on guessing the note fast before your mind has a chance to do it's "note signature" thing. Sounds like yours happens pretty quickly but learning ear training is in many ways about mind control but controlling it in the right way. The bottom line is you don't have time to think when you are actually playing music so you need to get the ear training so you just "know" the correct answer. That's why I recommend guessing the note very quickly to stop people from developing bad habits.