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

Ear Training Fundamentals plus common mistakes

Ear Training Fundamentals

Muse-eek.com is known as a destination for many students seeking better ear training skills. Usually students have done some other kind of previous ear training which ultimately proves unsatisfactory, so they need further help; they find it at our site. Most students contact me to ask about my ear training method, to explain their past work, and where they feel they need the most work. These students tend to excel at the ear training method because I personally select a series of courses for them to work on, and give them targeted exercises within these methods to go right to their weaknesses. On the other hand, we also get customers that have assumptions on where they are with their ear training skills and try to jump into the method mid-stream.

Here Are Some Common Mistakes Students Make With Ear Training Fundamentals

  • They purchase the wrong books and waste money
  • Students don’t start at the beginning of the method, so they don’t completely understand how the system works.
  • They purchase some of our ear training products that don’t come with directions because there are some publishers who carry our books, but not the exercises. So they might just purchase the exercises, and not the book and as a result, they don’t understand exactly how to practice.
  • Students purchase courses way above their level and proceed to do the exercises incorrectly; this is tragic waste of their time.
  • They get completely confused about which books to buy because there are so many. They give up and don’t work on any of our books.
  • Students make the mistake of thinking they can figure out ear training on their own, which is highly unlikely.

Proper Way to Teach Ear Training Fundamentals

I once asked one my teachers (Charlie Banacos) who did physical lessons and correspondence lessons why he never taught Ear Training Fundamentals via correspondence lessons. He said “each student is different and they need personal attention beyond what I can offer through exchanges of cassette tapes. Nowadays with the internet, Skype lessons and email, a student CAN be taught ear training but it always surprises me how reticent students are to interact! I give free email support for the books purchased on muse-eek.com. I give free advice before purchasing the books. Yet many students don’t take advantage of this. They buy courses not targeted to their needs, work on things the wrong way, waste an incredible amount of time, and get frustrated.  And it doesn’t have to be like that.

Why So Many Courses?

Muse Eek Publishing has made a concerted effort to cover every ear training issue a student might run into.  This is because each student is unique, and because of the internet they are coming from different backgrounds and cultures. Not to mention different musicianship levels, different goals and vastly differing amount of time that they want to dedicate to learning music. With such diversity it takes many courses to adequately educate students in Ear Training fundamentals, much less more complicated levels of aural perception. It also takes a wide range of books so that you can specifically target the myriad problems that students encounter doing this type of ear training.

Seeing the Overall Goals While Working on the Ear Training Fundamentals

One of the most common problems I encounter is when students do not understand  the overall goal of ear training. They don’t think about hearing real music in time, and why it is crucial. Most students and most ear training methods miss the mark because they don’t integrate exercises with real life applications. You have to have the ear training exercise to learn a technique, but real life application of these exercises is what really instills the knowledge as an almost autonomic response, and that is really what any performing musician must have. The student always needs to keep in the back of their mind “I need to apply this new skill to real music.”

“Context” is the Key to Great Ear Training Skills

I often mention “context” when talking about ear training.  Most ear training courses give you one or two exercises.  Most students need many more exercises so that they experience ear training in different contexts.  This is a key component that Muse Eek Publishing has really taken to heart: the creation of multiple courses which approach each level of ear training slightly differently so that the student is ready for any context that will demand a high degree of ear training.  Remember the ultimate goal “ear training must work in real time with real music.

Common mistakes Students Make When Working on Ear Training Fundamentals

There are many mistakes that I’ve seen far too often. Some of the typical mistakes students make when working on Ear Training Fundamentals are:

  • Student ponders the answer too long. They think it’s more important to get the right answer, than to develop a habit of making a quick decision. Speed is key to using ear training in real time.
  • They beat themselves up and get into a negative frame of mind when doing ear training, which almost guarantees that they won’t do well. Ear training is all about memory, and your memory works best when you engage with it in a positive way.
  • Students are inconsistent with their practice. Ear Training is about remembering sound. If you are not consistent with your practice you make it very difficult for the memory process to kick in, to help you improve.
  • They misunderstand some of the basic tenets of the ear training method.  This is usually caused by not reading the directions. And that’s like not reading the manual for a complicated piece of equipment. Sometimes it is the case that students buy a version of an ear training book that only includes the exercises, but not the explanation of how to approach the exercise.  This is a VERY BAD idea.  You can waste years of your life practicing the wrong way, and then you will not only have achieved nothing you need, you will have to start over again..

What’s the Best Way to Proceed with Ear Training Fundamentals

Send me an email and give me lots of background info. Tell me how much time you have to practice and where you want to get to with your musicianship. If you are on a tight budget let me know so that I can tailor your course of study to an affordable yet working combination of courses.

Final Note

Be honest with yourself and realize that anything of value takes time and commitment. Yes, ear training can be hard but it doesn’t have to be painful. It’s all about the state of mind that you decide to take with learning something. Be patient, be steady with your practice. Don’t assume you know the answer, ask for my help. If you follow all of these suggestions you can achieve unbelievable pitch comprehension. It just takes the right exercises and the right state of mind

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-Guitar-Flutterby-5-Pitch Class Set Jazz Standards Blog by Bruce Arnold for Muse Eek Publishing Inc. Ear Training Fundamentals plus common mistakes

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