Q: I'm 42 and just picked up playing guitar again after a break of more than 25 years. I never had any ear training and don't have a natural sense of pitch - I even find tuning the instrument correctly to be a challenge - so I bought the Ear Training One Note Complete book to get started. I believe that getting a better 'ear' is critical for what I want to achieve musically. How do you suggest that I approach the training? As a working professional with kids, my time is somewhat limited and I can't do 5 brief sessions a day as it is suggested in the book. Any suggestions highly appreciated.
A: Thanks for contacting me. To learn ear training effectively you need to apply yourself to the task. Really, ear training is just memory training and in order to effectively memorize anything you need to reinforce the information as often as possible. Most people find that they can do a 5 minute session in the morning, at lunch time, when they get home and before they go to bed. I would recommend you start with this. If you find that the Beginning CD of the Ear Training One Note method is too hard try using the intermediate. Even though this CD is faster, some students find it easier because there is less of a silent space between the chord progression and the note you are guessing. I realize that you have very little time but I should also point out that working with Fanatic's Guide to Ear Training and Sight Singing or in your case the Contextual Ear Training might be a better choice because you can do it anywhere will greatly increase you success with this method. Don't know your situation with the kids but I've had reports from parents that their kids love doing the ear training so you might try playing the audio tracks for them and making a game out of it. I've seen children as young as 7 years old really get interested in this type of ear training. But don't be surprised if after a short time they are doing better than you. Children don't have all the preconceived ideas about what they should "do" with the ear training they just listen with a "Zen" mind so they improve quickly