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Connect Ear Training to Real Music Goal Three

Connect Ear Training to Real Music

Connect Ear Training to Real Music

Goal Three:

Of course you don’t just want to practice scales and arpeggios it's also important to connect Ear training to real music. Let’s start with a chord progression and melody that everyone would know. That would be a Blues progression. You can pick whatever melody you want for the “head,” but choose something easy like “Sonny Moon for Two” by Sonny Rollins. First you need to commit the chord progression to memory.

| C7 / / / | F7 / / / | C7 / / / | C7 / / / | F7 / / / | F7 / / / | C7 / / / | C7 / / / | G7 / / / | F7 / / / | C7 / / / | G7 / / / |

To connect ear training to real music tart by putting on a C MetroDrone™ on 50 BPM and play the note of each arpeggio:

  • C7 = C, E, G, Bb
  • F7 = F, A, C, Eb
  • C7 = C, E, G, Bb
  • C7 = C, E, G, Bb
  • F7 = F, A, C, Eb
  • F7 = F, A, C, Eb
  • G7 = G, B, D, F
  • F7 = F, A, C, Eb
  • C7 = C, E, G, Bb
  • G7 = G, B, D, F

You may have to do this out of time to start, but as you improve try to play the arpeggios in time. That should take a few weeks to master at a slow tempo.

Next step to connect ear training to real music is to start singing the roots of the chord progression. Again, put on a C MetroDrone™ at 50 BPM minute and first sing out of time.

  • C = Do
  • F = Fa
  • C = Do
  • C = Do
  • F = Fa
  • F = Fa
  • C = Do
  • C = Do
  • G = So
  • F = Fa
  • C = Do
  • G = So

Eventually you want to be able to sing this in time with the MetroDrone™ in C. This is an important last step in connect ear training to real music and that should take a couple of more weeks. Once you have completed this I would get the Fanatic’s Guide to Ear Training and Sight Singing because there is a complete method that you would follow to make this exercise more challenging.

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, Connect Ear Training to Real Music

Connecting Ear Training to Arpeggios Goal Two

Connecting Ear Training to Arpeggios

Connecting Ear Training to Arpeggios

Goal Two:

Connecting Ear Training to Arpeggios is the next goal with practicing ear training as you practice on your instrument. The first step is to apply singing to some common exercises. A typical exercise students do is to play arpeggios, so let’s look at getting some ear training going with arpeggios. Two initial exercises are a good place to start. Again, use a C MetroDrone™ set at 50 BPM and play two notes of each arpeggio for each beat of the MetroDrone™. Again watch your technique so that you have ergonomic movement. Now try to sing the arpeggio. If it was a C Major 7 arpeggio you would sing Do, Me, So and Ti. Initially you want to learn 9 arpeggios all in C:

  • C Major 7 = 1, 3, 5, 7
  • C Minor 7 = 1, b3, 5, 7
  • C Dominant = 1, 3, 5, b7
  • C7sus4 = 1, 4, 5, b7
  • C-7b5 = 1, b3, b5, b7
  • C Dim7 = 1,b3, b5, bb7
  • C-Major 7 = 1, b3, 5 7
  • C Major 7#5 = 1, 3, #5, 7
  • C7#5 = 1, 3, #5, b7

I would tackle one new arpeggio each week in the key of C. The ultimate goal is to play all of these arpeggios in all twelve keys. I would move cycle 5 i.e. C, F, Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, B, E, A, D to learn them in all keys. This will really help with connecting ear training to arpeggios

Another exercise you can do as you are adding arpeggios in C each week, is playing and singing roots of a chord progression. Let’s take a classic progression in C. I, vi, ii, V I . In C that would be C, A-, D-, G7, C. We are only going to play and then sing the roots of every chord. First find C, A, D, G and C roots on your instrument. Put on a C MetroDrone™ at 50 BPM so that you hear all of these notes in the key of C. Play one note for every sound of the MetroDrone. Once you have completed that, it’s time to sing these notes. Again, try out of time first, then with the C MetroDrone™ sounding try to first sing the note “C” call it “Do” and then check if you are right on your instrument. Then move to “A” or “La, then “D” or “Re” and finally “G” or “So.” Continue doing this every day until you build up the ability to start singing the notes in time with the MetroDrone™.

The next step in connecting ear training to arpeggios is to sing the root and 5th of each chord of the C. I, vi, ii, V I progression. So for C, the notes would be “C” or “Do” and “G” or “So.” Next, the A minor chord will be “A” or “La” and “E” or “Me.” Then the D minor chord which will be “D” or “Re” and “A” or “La” and finally G7 will be “G” or “So” and “D” or “Re.” That will take time to master and sing and play in time but you have 9 arpeggios to learn in the meantime so by the time you are done with those you should be able to sing through a C, A-, D-, G7, C singing the roots and 5th of each chord in the key center and in time.

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 to Arpeggios

Connecting Ear Training with Your Instrument Using a MetroDrone™ Practice Tool Goal One

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.

Solfeggio:

  • 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

Singing Jazz Standards Ear Training Exercises

Singing Jazz Standards Ear Training Exercises

 

I assign students who work through my ear training (and many courses such as “Approach Notes,” Scale Analysis,” “Ultimate Arpeggio” or “Fanatic’s Guide to Ear Training and Sight Singing”) to apply the information they have learned to real music. I recommend using jazz standards for this, because the lead sheets are easy to find, and the chord progressions cover the ones typically found in all styles of music.

Exactly what you apply to these jazz standards will vary for each book, but the underlying principle is that you are hearing all notes in the key center, not in relationship to each chord. Obviously if a tune modulates you would use an entirely different approach.

There are many kinds of exercises in my books but here is a quick synopsis of some of them:

In the “Approach Note” course I have students write out solos where they put chord tones on beats “one” and “three,” then place any combination of the chromatic and diatonic approach note figures into these chord tones. They then sing these written solos first over a drone by using the “MetroDrone™” and then by playing the chords and singing the melody. Again all notes are heard in one key center. When singing the solos in one key as the chords change, students often discover that they need remedial work to be able to do the assignment successfully. For this I recommend:

“Fanatic’s Guide to Ear Training and Sight Singing”
“Key Retention Builder”
“Hearing Chord Progressions”
“Hearing Bass Lines”
“Diatonic Chords”

I should note hear that sometimes students to not have a history of listening or playing music with many chord changes that include tensions. If that is the case, I often recommend they listen to --or if they play a chording instrument learn how to play the chord progressions found in-- these books:

“Chord Workbook for Guitar Volume One”
“Chord Workbook for Guitar Volume Two”
“Harmonic Analysis”
“Scale Analysis”

Please note that the same chord progressions are found in all of the above-mentioned books, and there are many other approach note techniques in the “Approach Note” course that could be used as templates to write solos as well. In particular is the approach to tensions. In this case I recommend that you first start with the chord progressions in the above books because they have all tensions clearly written out, as opposed to “chord/melody” charts where tensions are very seldom included.

In “Scale Analysis,” which relates all chord scales within a composition to one key center, the list below is a good place to start, because all the tunes listed can be heard in one key center. The assignment is to write out the scales for each chord based on the key center. In this case, at least at the beginning, a student should start the scale from the root of the key center rather than the root of the chord.

In “Fanatic’s Guide to Ear Training and Sight Singing” I give an assignment on page 17 that should then be applied to the list below. This assignment usually involves chord tones but I will commonly add in harmonic reharmonization based on the information found in one of the following books:

“Chord Workbook for Guitar Volume One”
“Chord Workbook for Guitar Volume Two”
“Harmonic Analysis”
“Scale Analysis”

In “Ultimate Arpeggio” I recommend that you apply the 13 possible three note arpeggios to common tunes. The list below is excellent because it gets you applying these “trichords” by thinking of them all in one key center. I also recommend that you apply these “trichords” to the chord progressions found in these books:

"Chord Workbook for Guitar Volume One”
"Scale Analysis”
"Harmonic Analysis”

I have students start to apply the singing of real music after they have completed the “Contextual Ear Training” course. In this instance, I also recommend working with Fanatic’s Guide to Ear Training and Sight Singing Volume Two.” This book concentrates on singing and hearing notes over 17 different types of key centers.

The kind of exercise that I assign in the chord progressions below will vary depending on the course they are studying or the particular problem they are encountering in the ear training studies. Here is a break down of some of the common assignments. At the beginning you will use the MetroDrone™ and choose a tempo where you can get through the whole tune or A section without stopping (of course with some practice.) Some tunes will be much easier than others.

1. Just sing 7th chords; don’t add tensions though you can alter the 5th if it’s appropriate. Also if it’s a bass note over a triad, sing the bass note and then the 3 notes of the triad.

2. Write out and sing scales in one key

3. Try singing the root of each chord or sing bass lines. Use "Jazz and Blues Bass Lines" if you need help constructing a bass line

4. Sing “guide tones.” If you need help understanding “guide tones” see the book “Guide Tones; Theory Application and Aural Comprehension.”

5. Write out and sing modal sequences over chord changes. If you need help understanding modal sequencing see:

"Two Note Modal Sequencing”
“Three Note Modal Sequencing”

As you can see, this is an involved, multi-year process and is why I offer free email support to customers who purchase muse-eek.com books. This makes sure they are progressing in the most productive order and doing the assignments that will maximize their progress.

 

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!

 

Singing Jazz Standards Ear Training Exercises by Bruce Arnold for Muse Eek Publishing Company

Applying Ear Training Real Music=Real Progress

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!

Shortsightedness

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

Ear Training Fundamentals plus common student mistakes

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-Guitarist-Blog-Post-Ear Training Fundamentals plus common student mistakes

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Kids Ear Training Courses The Best Early Music Education

A Discussion about Kids Ear Training The Best Early Music Education

Kids Ear Training

Kids Ear Training is one of the most important courses a parent can use to educate their children in music.  Countless studies have shown that children exposed to music training early on perform better at all STEM skills.  The Ear Training for Children and Others Young at Heart is a great course to introduce ear training into a child's education.  Many of the exercises subliminally add a music educational element as the child works at singing a simple children's song.  Although these exercises are simple, they build a great foundation so that a child becomes familiar with the fundamentals of music. And the best thing is, they don't even know it's happening!

Ear Training For Children and Others Young at Heart Go Tell Aunt Rhody, Children Kids Ear Training

Feedback from Parents on the Kids Ear Training Course

I've had a few parents who bought Ear Training for Children respond with some feedback on how the program is working with their kids. Here's one of the emails that I thought was exceptionally helpful and insightful. (I had to smile when I read #6)

In the situation below the customer has both a pre-school child and a teenager:

  1. I think it a good idea to sing out loud with your kids, more often than not. Younger kids want to do what their parents do. My older son seems embarrassed to sing alone, just like many adults I guess. When I am singing too he seems to respond because it's not something to worry about.
  2. If they want to just listen, let them listen. Sometimes just you sing, sometimes you both listen. Let this be a no-conflict activity.
  3. Play/sing in the car, which you mentioned in your book. I did this twice daily for ~5 minutes with my solfége tracks with my daughter to/from daycare. On the way to/from daycare/school/sports and she has started to join in and sees it as a game.
  4.  After mastering at least the lyrics track: sometimes just sing the melody together (any format) without the track; I got practice in holding the correct pitches in the key while hearing my daughter not be in key (was very difficult for me at first!)-- eventually she started singing it correctly with me.
  5. I have a piano in the house and I'm encouraging my daughter to learn the degrees/names/solfége for any song she is playing. This mapping of degrees/names/solfége to the instrument seems to be helping. I have also been encouraging her to "play along" with the lyric track on your course -- while singing, so the mismatch is obvious. I think as she advances we can work on the "random" note exercises in your book having her both sing and guess notes.
  6. Your “give-a-quarter" idea as motivation for practicing has worked wonders! She has practiced without complaining every day, and sits through her lessons without constantly losing focus. She’s earned enough to buy a fidget spinner. :) Thank you!!

Other Resources for Kids Ear Training

The Total Beginning Ear Training Course also has some simple ear training exercises appropriate for very young children, especially if a child has a lot of problems with the Children's Ear Training Course we have discussed in this blog post. The Total Beginning Ear Training Course has a series of MP3s that have a student guess whether one note is higher than another.  These exercises can be make into a game and go a long way to getting kids to focus on sound.  There are also other exercises that would be more appropriate for older children.  These are also useful for adults who may have ear training issues of their own.

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_Guitarist-Kids-Ear-Training-Blog_Post

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Tone Deaf and why you most likely don't have this condition

Tone Deaf?

I suppose it is possible to be tone deaf, but I have my doubts as to how often this is really the case. If you are someone thinking you might be tone deaf then ask yourself this question. When you hear music does it sound like music or a random bunch of sounds that make no sense. In my way of thinking if you hear music and it sounds like "music" and you can make sense of it and be moved by it, then most likely you are not tone deaf.

My Experience with So-called Tone Deaf Students

In my many years as a teacher I've come across a few students that have great difficulty with ear training. Usually I find that there are a couple of disconnects that are happening. First there is a disconnect between what they hear and what they can sing. Secondly their is a disconnect when sounds are randomly played and they are asked to identify some characteristic of the sounds, such as which of two notes played is higher or lower.

Am I Tone Deaf?

If you love music, then most likely you are not tone deaf; otherwise you would just ignore it. You just need work at fixing some issues with simple exercises.  An example of this would be playing two random sounds and asking whether one is higher or lower than the other. In that context we are not listening to music; we are creating  a way to pinpoint a problem that you can work on correcting, depending on a set of variables.

Harmonics

Most of us don't realize it, but when we hear most sounds we are actually hearing the combination of a bunch of harmonics that make up that sound. This is one of the reasons why when we hear an oboe or a piano we can tell that they sound different. They sound different because there are a different set of harmonics being played with an oboe as opposed to a piano. Without getting to deeply into the science of this subject, let just say that each note on any instrument has a fundamental pitch and a set number of harmonics that make that sound unique.

Why are Harmonics Important?

Certain instruments have a peculiar set of harmonics. For instance, any stringed instrument's harmonic pattern emphasizes the first harmonic more than the fundamental. For someone being tested on which note is higher or lower, a stringed instrument is a poor choice with which to perform this test, because of this characteristic; the harmonics can be deceiving.

Lack of Musical Training

Another factor that is often a part of apparent tone deafness is a person's history of listening, playing or studying music. If you have very little music in your life and no formal training on an instrument or voice, this can factor into being dubbed "tone-deaf." We aren't all naturally gifted with an ability to play music. It takes training to make this happen and if you lacked this training then that can be a big part of a perceived tone deafness.

How to fix Tone Deafness?

You fix apparent tone deafness with practice.  It is a good idea to learn an instrument because that inherently makes you more aware of pitch.  You can also do ear training exercises.  In any case is is important to be consistent with practice sessions. I've created a course called Total Beginner Ear Training which offers ways help you become more aware of sound through some simple exercises. Let's take a look at some of them and I'll explain their purpose.

A few Things to Ponder.

First, before we start, it's important to realize that you may have been told you are tone deaf.  You also may have been put in an embarrassing situation as far as being made aware of your pitch problems. This can cause not just a psychological problem, but a physiological one, because you experience anxiety which triggers all kinds of disconnects when you attempt an ear training test. The first thing to remember is just because you were embarrassed or put in a dramatic situation, it's just a bump in the road. You can learn to hear and sing correctly you just have to approach it with a positive state of mind and realize that it will take weeks or months of practice to overcome these hurdles.

The Exercises

The Total Beginner Ear Training Course gives you three kinds of MP3s for practicing. Each of these works on building your recognition of which note is higher or lower. Piano, Trumpet and Tenor Sax MP3s are available for a total of 76 audio files. You can test yourself below. If you are having difficulty then this course it would be a good place for you to start. It is best to start with the trumpet or tenor sax and move to the piano sound later as previously explained. Listen to the MP3s below. If you are having trouble then working with these MP3s for 5 minutes 5 times a day will really help you to increase your pitch awareness. Also, remember to be consistent! Don't miss a day of practice. At the beginning missing one day is like missing 3 weeks of practice.

  • High/Low example using Tenor Sax:
  • High/low example using piano:
  • Low/High example using a Trumpet:

Singing the Gettysburg Address

People with pitch discrimination issues usually have problems singing a given pitch in tune.  They also frequently have a problem maintaining a pitch over time. To help fix this issue there are exercises where you sing the Gettysburg Address on one pitch. This is an extremely challenging exercise and it is best to start with only trying to sing a few sentences. This teaches a student about maintaining a single pitch without wavering and will get the student to focus in on one note.  It will also instill confidence, which is important if some asks you to sing a specific note. There are 12 examples available for all 12 pitches. Below are two excerpts with words and MP3s

  • Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
  • Excerpt from Gettysburg Address spoken with a High B:
  • Excerpt from Gettysburg Address spoken with a Low D:

Spend 10 minutes twice a day on this singing exercise. Again remain consistent with your practice it is extremely important especially in your first couple of weeks.

There are other exercises in the Total Beginner Ear Training Course that will further hone your listening and singing skills.  Starting with the two exercises listed above and remaining consistent in your practice will really help you to improve

Stay in Touch

It is also important to stay in touch via email as you work on these exercises. Often you may have additional questions or just need a pep talk.  So please, contact me via the links on this website.

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_Flower_Guitar_Tone-Deaf-Blog-Article muse-eek.com

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Ear Training Blog by Bruce Arnold for Muse Eek Publishing

Ear Training Blog By Bruce Arnold

This Ear Training Blog concentrates on the Ear Training/Aural Recognition side of your music education.  It explains different elements of my teaching approach which will in turn help you raise your music mastery.  I will explain different courses that I have written and why they are important and which deficiencies they will address.  I will also discuss common mistakes students make when working on ear training.

Why Follow This Ear Training Blog?

There are obviously a ton of books and music education sites available today. So what makes my Ear Training Blog and my way of teaching better or different? In my 45 years of teaching music I have taught countless students. One thing I've consistently found is that my methods work.  That's because contrary to the many sites that have a “one size fits all” format (which seldom works) mine is holistic. This means that I have a variety of ways to teach ear training skills no matter what your deficiency. 

I Know It Works Because I Experienced It Myself

My courses are successful because I personally experienced the trauma of realizing I had been taught music incorrectly in my beginning years.  This meant I had to unlearn and then relearn a multitude of things later on, wasting valuable time in the process.  So I know how it feels to have wasted so much earnest practice on the wrong thing, and I now know what to do about it. That's because I was lucky to have found great teachers who really knew how to help me.  These musicians “passed the torch” of their experiences on to me. I found answers that fixed my problems, and now helping my students to reach their potential is one of the greatest satisfactions of my career.

An Example of Misguided Teaching:

I spent about a decade learning "interval ear training" and although I got "A's" in the class when I got on the bandstand I heard nothing.  This made me realize that there had to be another way to recognize musical elements instantly, because the great musicians that I was playing with obviously had that ability. This is what lead to my Ear Training One Note Complete Course which contains a basic concept that will help you to hear what all 12 notes sound like in a key center.  It's not about hearing the distance between each note i.e. the interval method taught at most schools. The course explains the method in very simple terms, and gives examples of why interval training will not work. Contextual ear training is the KEY if you are trying to hear what's inside your head or what someone else is playing.

You Are Unique

So back to what makes my method different from those offered on other sites. As I mentioned, my approach is not “one size fits all.” When you work with me you get a program tailored to your specific needs. Maybe you can hear only a few intervals and occasionally identify chords, or you just know your ability is too limited to work well with other musicians.  Whatever the case, I believe you will find "Contextual Ear Training" to be just the ticket to improve your ability.  You will experience a transformation wherein you can identify what you are hearing inside your head, as well as what others are playing, as they play it

The Available Ear Training Courses

Check out the Ear Training Books that are currently available to see the scope of this method.  You can improve you aural recognition skills with the many products found on this page.  By following and interacting with this Ear Training Blog you can determine which combination of courses is best for you. Sometimes you may need to do a personal Skype lesson with me if you feel you have really specific issues to address.  As you move through the many levels of the "Contextual Ear Training" method you will have many questions. Hopefully through this Ear Training Blog, the Muse Eek FAQs and the Ear Training Facebook Group you get the best advice possible.

Epiphanies Through Interaction

The most important thing is to communicate through your comments and questions.  I am there to help you by answering pertinent questions.  I also recommend joining our Ear Training Facebook Group where you will find many other students using this method.  These students get together via Skype and work on ear training together.  You will improve more quickly if you have an ear training buddy to help and challenge you. And participating in the group can help you gain more confidence that you can overcome your problems.

You Can Do This!

Interacting here or in the Ear Training Facebook Group will help you to see that many people have the same problems that you are experiencing.  It will also help you to maintain a positive attitude.  This is crucial when working with a method that requires you to use your memory.  Ear training is really about you developing a memory of the sounds you hear.  By maintaining a positive attitude you help your brain remember faster.  So keep your chin up!  You can do this!  I've never had a student that couldn't develop amazing aural comprehension skills.  The key is keeping at it and keeping a positive attitude.

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 guitar found on Ear Training Blog

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