Q: I'm trying to improve at jazz/blues piano and I'm currently using your One Note Complete Method. Even though I'm improving at the tests on the CD it still hasn't gotten any easier for me to recognize chords and modulations (which is what I really need). I need to develop my relative pitch skills more than my single tone recognition. Can I jump to your relative pitch book or is completing the one note method still an absolute pre-requisite?
Also, I'm finding it difficult to de-couple tones. The resolution tendencies are so stuck in my head that when I try to answer very quickly I can still feel my head working out the note (some notes more than others) via its resolution tendency. Is there any particular exercise or drill that I can use to train myself not to do this?
A: Thanks for contacting me. To answer your question about jumping ahead in the ear training program you need to realize that if you can't hear one note against a key center how are you going to hear multiple notes? I know it is frustrating, but it takes time and concentration on your part to improve at your premium rate. One thing that you can do is also work out of the Fanatic's Guide to Sight Singing and Ear Training. This book will seriously improve your rate of progress when used in combination with the Ear Training One Note Complete Method.
In regards to the resolution tendency habit, you need to break it. Some things I recommend are guessing the note very quickly or doing singing exercises from the Fanatic's Guide to Ear Training and Sight Singing, but all of this is in vain if you don't try as hard as you can to control your mind's impulse from using a method that will only cause you heartache later. Remember that doing ear training is like spending 10 years in psychotherapy. You need to learn how to control wrong impulses and amplify the right impulses within your brain. This will come with practice, patience and personal self-control. Think about how long it took you to develop this habit of note tendency. It probably will take you just as long to break this habit. I have found with students and with myself that if you have done other Interval and resolution based ear training prior to using this method it will take much longer to progress. This is because you have to unlearn all of your bad habits and then relearn the right ones.