Q: I've been working for one and a half month with your Ear Training One Note Complete and Fanatic's Guide to Ear Training and Sight Singing. In my last message, I told you I couldn't help hearing the fundamental and applying an interval. As strange as it may seem, I've solved this problem by starting with the advanced CD. Then I've moved to intermediate and now I'm back to advanced. I also told you about my concern with solfeggio syllables and french note names; you were right about that, it's not so hard to deal with.
Today I feel confident about my progress : one note recognition is becoming more and more instinctive; as for singing, I don't know all the notes yet but it's only a matter of time.
I have two questions :
1. Do you have tricks to tell if a student is not using the right method? For example, I sometimes confuse F# and B, which might indicate that I rely on their strong tendency to resolve to the higher semi-tone (I hope to solve that when I cover those notes in my singing practice).
2. As beautiful as the I-V-IV cadence is, I'd like to start applying my new skills to real music :-) Sometimes I use a real CD (simple songs, no key changes) for my singing practice, although I find it much harder. I've also tried having my computer play random notes over a CD to work on ear training. Is this a good approach? I've noticed that pitch recognition is harder when the song is in a minor key, is it supposed to become easier over time?
PS : I've received my copy of Single String Studies for Guitar Volume One today. I'm really happy to note that my ear training tremendously helps me to play the exercises without looking at my fretboard.
A: Many students find if they start with the Ear Training One Note Intermediate CD that it helps them. It takes less key retention to do the intermediate CD than compared to the beginning. Most students when they start out are weak in their key retention and this is why I recommend using the Fanatic's Guide to Ear Training and Sight Singing to help build key retention and basic knowledge of the notes.
Glad to hear the solfeggio isn't causing you much trouble now.
There are many indications that I use when I teach to tell if a student isn't doing the ear training correct. Many of these can be found in the FAQs for the ear training books on the muse-eek.com website. Your example of mixing up F# and B is common. You could be using resolution tendencies. One way to counteract this is to guess the answer quickly which will stop your mind from thinking to much and it will just react based on memory.
I'd recommend working with some the Direct Application Courses to apply the ear training. Once you are getting around 50% correct with the Ear Training One Note Complete exercises I would recommend any of the following:
Direct Application Ear Training Volume One
Secondary Dominants Ear Training Study Complete Book
Direct Application CD Volume One Major
Direct Application CD Volume One Dorian
These products will really help you to apply the ear training to real musical situation and they are actually fun so that's great too!