Q: I have been working with your Ear Training One Note Beginning for about two months now and I believe it's working well. However, I would like to describe to you my practice regimen and see if you think its okay or if I should alter it in any way. Here it is: I have made a subset cd consisting of every C, E, and G in every octave. I try to listen to this two or three times a day for ten minutes at a time, but usually I only do it once. I also try to listen to the main cd with every note once a day for ten minutes, although often I don't get around to it. Then I also do the Fanatics Guide to Ear Training and Sight Singing CD for about twelve minutes a day (this I do every day). I'm being honest about the actual work that I've been doing because maybe it'll help you advise me. Hopefully I will be able to increase to what I know I should be doing soon. With the Fanatic's CD on track one I'll sing an E for about a minute and then go to track two where I'll either switch to G or sing another E just like I did on track one. In this way I'll alternate between E, and G for the whole cd which lasts about twelve minutes because I'm doing one minute on each track. In the beginning I was singing only C, but after I got that perfect I moved onto E, and then G and once I got each of those perfect I combined them. So that is where I am now. With both the Fanatics Guide CD and the One note subset CD that I made of just C, E, ang G I am now getting close to 100%. However when I listen to the full CD with all 12 notes I can only get C and thats only if its in the middle octaves.
My plan is to now make a subset that now includes D, in addition to C, E, and G and work on getting those all correct and then move onto include F and so on in the order that you recommend working through in the Fanatics Guide book. In terms of the Sight Singing work that I'm doing I plan on now trying to sing D.
So, a few questions:
1) Do you think this is a good practice plan? Should I be focusing this much on the subset CD that I made or should I be spending more time listening just to the main CD with all 12 notes?
2) How do you recommend I practice my Sight Singing? The thing that troubles me is that as I move onto singing a new note I feel I neglect the ones I already have practiced and learned and that I forget them. This is why I am now alternating between E, and G within the same practice time. But once I move onto more notes, I won't have time to be focusing on all of them. Should I just periodically review the previous notes?
3) Is it okay to be doing only one session of Sight Singing per day with three or four sessions of One Note listening or should I be doing an equal amount of each?
A: Thanks for your detailed explanation of your practice regimen. My main question is about your work with the Fanatic's Guide to Ear Training and Sight Singing CD. Just checking but you do realize that if you sing E with the first track you are listening for how a 3rd sounds against the key of C and when you switch to the second track which is in the key of F and you continue to sing an E you are now singing the 7th of the key and that is how you are hearing the E in the key of F. If this is not what you are doing then this is VERY wrong. Remember you are trying to hear what each note sounds like against a key center and when the key center changes each of the 12 notes will sound differently.
It is OK to make CD with fewer notes BUT make sure to always listen to the CD with all the notes each day. In some cases using a smaller group of notes can help people remember the sound of each note but in other cases people just get a false sense that they are memorizing sound. Remember it's sometimes hard for your brain to memorize something when it doesn't have the complete picture of all the components involved. This is why listening to all the notes is an important step each day.
Overall it sounds like your on the right track as far a your practice habits go. It is very important with this ear training that you do it every day and never miss a day.
I would get your response up to around 90% for each note before moving on to the next with the Fanatic's Guide. I usually have students work through the notes in the following sequence C,E,G,B,D,F,A,C#,Eb,G#,Bb,F#. The more practicing you can do out of both the One Note and Fanatic's Guide the better. You should at least spend 1/2 hour on both books each day. Of course you want to break this up in the short sessions. Remember you are dealing with your memory with these books so you need to reinforce the information often.