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

Connecting Ear Training with Your Instrument Using MetroDrone® Practice Tool

Connecting Ear Training with Your Instrument Using a MetroDrone® Practice Tool

Ultimately what a student is trying to accomplish with ear training is to connecting ear training with your instrument but the final goals can of course be mostly up to the student. Many students have goals like:

  • Being able to hear what others are playing on the band stand
  • The ability to transcribe off CDs
  • Know what the sounds are that they hear in their head
  • Be able to hear chord progressions

But let’s talk about some simple goals that a beginning musician might want to set, to get going with the application of ear training to the everyday exercises that a student might be trying to master. With all of these exercises you want to use a MetroDrone® Practice Tool so that you have a key center (via the drone) playing in the background. Initially you don’t have to play in time with the MetroDrone® Practice Tool but as things improve, that would be the next goal. But remember the overall goal here is to prove that you are hearing what you are playing by being able to sing it as fast as you can say the solfeggio syllables. That will take a good amount of time but you will see that each goal will strengthen your ability to take on harder and harder and faster and faster goals. Just be patient; it is going to take many months to master each step.

Goal One with Connecting Ear Training with Your Instrument:

Learning scales can be a challenge especially if you want to prove that you hear the scale by singing it. Connecting Ear Training with Your Instrument has some definite steps to take to achieve this goal. First put on a C MetroDrone® between 50 and 60 BPM. For any instrumentalist or singer besides a guitarist or bassist, you want to start by playing a C scale starting on “C” and go up and down your instrument two octaves if you have those notes available. For guitarists or bassists you want to start on your lowest fretted note and play three notes on every string, always playing each string starting with your index finger and the 3rd note on the string with your little finger. Play ascending and descending. Speak either the note names or the degrees and alternate that every day. i.e. note names: F, G, A, B, C etc. Degrees: 4, 5, 6, 7, 1 etc… If you are a guitarist or even a bassist, watching the videos in the Guitar Technique and Physiology Course will go a long way toward playing the scale physically correctly, and there is further information on using the MetroDrone® Practice Tool as you practice. For other instrumentalists and singers you want to keep all parts of your body relaxed as you play. If you use your fingers to push on a key or valve do so with the least amount of pressure and when releasing keep your fingers as close to the valve or key so that you have good ergonomic movement. And of course, singers, NEVER force your voice.

So now that you have physically played the scale and the MetroDrone® Practice Tool is sounding so you are actually hearing the notes correctly within a key center whether you realize it or not, you need to start singing the scale too. At the beginning, most students cannot sing the scale as fast as they can play it, which tells you right away that there is a disconnect between your ear and the notes of the scale. If you play a wind instrument, obviously you can’t sing the scale as you play it but you should try to sing the scale without your instrument with the MetroDrone® Practice Tool playing the key center. As mentioned you won’t be able to sing the scale as fast as you can play it, but you should be able to sing it about as fast as you can say the notes —but this will take practice. I recommend you use solfeggio as you sing the scale mostly because solfeggio is just one syllable for each note which helps as you speed up with the scale.


  • 1 = Do
  • 2 = Re (pronounced like Ray)
  • 3 = Me
  • 4 = Fa
  • 5 = So
  • 6 = La
  • 7 = Ti (pronounce like Tea)

Singing the Scale with the MetroDrone® Practice Tool to

With the MetroDrone® Practice Tool on 50 BPM try to sing one note for every two pulses of the MetroDrone® Practice Tool. For all students I would first start to sing the scale from the root. For guitarists or bassists, play the scale from the root too, and then over time start singing the scale from various notes of the scale as you play in different positions, 3 notes per string. If you need to check notes, play them on your instrument but always try to first sing the note, then check. Over time you will need to check less as you master the exercise. This is a great exercise to start the day with because it tunes up your ear by making you sing each note over the MetroDrone® Practice Tool and then check its accuracy on your instrument.

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 Music Theory Guided Tour, Connecting Ear Training with Your Instrument MetroDrone™ Practice Tool

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About Muse Eek

Muse-Eek Publishing Company is a publishing house with a broad focus on music education. Muse-Eek also publishes fine art and poetry books, and has its own record label, Muse-Eek Records. Our online presence, Muse-Eek.com specializes in the publication of music workbooks, video courses and sound and video recordings that teach the foundation of good musicianship through groundbreaking and innovative methods along with traditional methods that have been taught for centuries. These historic methods date back through centuries of great musicians and educators. To see these interesting relationship please see Bruce Arnold's Music Education Genealogy Chart which tells you a lot about the where many of his educational ideas took root and some of the educational pillars that are evident throughout the books you find on this website. The Muse-Eek Records catalogue contains a diverse selection of music much of it by Bruce Arnold in collaboration with some of today's best players in classical, jazz, rock and avant-garde music. These are available in CD, DVD and mp3 formats. We believe in a working relationship with our music education customers; they are free to interact with the author after purchasing a book to help them through any material they don’t understand or which they need further clarification. We also have a member's area which contains a wealth of free information to help a student understand music at a deeper level and access additional files for our books. Many of our books offer cutting edge ideas regarding ear training, guitar technique, rhythm and time. These methods have a proven track record. Our main author Bruce Arnold has taught at some of the most prestigious music schools in the world, including Princeton, Dartmouth, Berklee College of Music, New England Conservatory, The New School and NYU. Along with Mr. Arnold's publications on the Muse-eek.com website he has also written books and appeared in educational DVDs for MelBay and Truefire. Over the years Mr Arnold has used his experiences with his students to develop a program that can elevate a musician's ability to world class caliber. If you have questions about any of our books or recordings please send us an email. Along with general questions about either our record label or our publishing company we also welcome questions to help a student choose the proper materials to reach their goals. We have over 300 products to help you learn any style of music and to develop your musicianship to its peak. We also make recommendations for practice schedules for students who use our methods to get the most out of their study time. This, along with personal interaction with Bruce through email, nurtures the student's ability through a closely monitored situation, ensuring there is no wasted time or misunderstanding.

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