Ear Training Blog by Bruce Arnold for Muse Eek Publishing Inc. Key Retention

Applying Ear Training

Applying Ear Training

There are a couple of things I’d like to tell you about why I created the recent Jam Tracks and Ear Training related books.

Being In A Musical Situation

I was lucky when I was learning to play and hear music that I was at Berklee College of Music. At that time there was a really vibrant musical nightlife scene in Boston, and there were tons of places to play. As result there were countless bands of all styles forming all the time, from jazz to rock to funk fusion, and I got to play in a LOT of them. I had grown up in South Dakota, where I played Country and Blues music, and this Boston scene gave my ear a real boost because I was playing so many styles of music every week.

But again, I was lucky. These days most students do not have that kind of access, and even at Berklee College of Music the scene has almost completely dried up.

The Many Gifts of Music

This is why I’m creating so many different kinds of jam tracks and direct application ear training courses. I want to expose you to these styles because they will influence your future musical output and creativity in untold ways. The courses and tracks have different types of chord progressions which will create different types of key centers and different ways of creating key centers based on the idiomatic harmonies and rhythms used in each style. Instead of listening to a piece of music you like, and wondering why it sounds so cool, you will know exactly how it is structured and how to integrate it into your own musical palette. It will be inside you already. Talk about broadening your scope!


But students sometimes look at these various ear training courses with only one kind of music in mind. They might think “I don’t need the Locrian Jam Tracks and Ear Training because I don’t ever play in that mode.” This may be true but the strength you get and the additional boost to your ear training abilities will be felt way beyond the Locrian mode. You know, styles of music are always evolving. Look at the amazing strides Heavy Metal and Rock have attained, with much greater sophistication and structure than ten or twenty years ago. And tastes change too— you may find that you want to expand what you play or compose further down the road. These courses are there to give you the tools you need to grow and express yourself musically and to point the way to endless possibilities. All by playing along with some cool tracks!

Examples of Apply Ear Training

So now, about working with these tracks. Initially many of you may find that certain notes sound uncharacteristically odd. A typical example would be the sound of a Major 3rd or a Major 6th within a minor key center— they may sound really dissonant, and that can throw you off. But over time you will realize that these notes do indeed sound the same in a major key as they do in a minor key. Remember that this situation where pitches that you might otherwise know, sound odd and/or don’t sound like what you are used to, is actually very common as you work with different key centers that are formed in different ways. For instance, if we take the Locrian key center in the recently released “Pure Country Ear Training” most students would find that playing the natural 5 i.e. a G Natural in the key of C Locrian will initially not sound like the 5th and it will take time and hours of work to get to the point that you hear the 5th-ness in that pitch. When you do, it does two things. First, it not only helps you hear that note in whatever mode you are working in, but it also strengthens your ability to hear the 5th in many other settings. For instance if you are playing the Dorian b5 scale (2nd mode of Harmonic Major) you will hear the 5th better and more easily.

I hope you can see from all this why I think it is so crucial for you to work with the various Applying Ear Training courses that I’ve released lately. Try to see the bigger picture of how these courses fit into a larger scheme of things, especially as it relates to ear training and the future musician within you.

Applying Ear Training Advantages

Just to recap on the how apply ear training will improve your musicianship

Here Are Some Common Mistakes Students Make With Ear Training Fundamentals

  • Help a student experience applying music and ear training to different styles of music.
  • Helps a student hear and experience different musical situations.
  • Improves ear training skills by hearing all 12 notes in different musical contexts.
  • Apply Ear Training helps a student learn the many aspects of each note that makes it unique.
  • Expands a student’s ability to play in multiple styles of music.
  • Helps a student understand how to apply various scales and modes to real musical situations

Recommended Books for Applying Ear Training

The Historic Precedents Of This Kind Of Music Education

You might enjoy checking out the “Music Education Genealogy Chart” located on my artist’s site. You will clearly see the historic progression of pedagogy that is the basis for Muse Eek Publishing Products. Great musicians throughout history have been studying the ideas presented by Muse-eek.com which derives its content from a a lineage that stretches back to Scarlatti!

Bruce Arnold playing a harmonic on a guitar for Bruce Arnold Blog entry on Muse Eek Publishing Website Applying Ear Training

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