Applying Ear Training to the Guitar
Applying Ear Training to the Guitar
Q: Since I have both books we can work with Single String Studies for Guitar Volume One. Regarding my other questions, would you recommend adding on the non-diatonic notes at this point in time? Right now I’m training only with the diatonic notes, and am hesitant to add more without having fully grasped the diatonic notes.
Regarding note recognition, I’m wondering what to expect. For some reason, I can recognize Fa just fine, but the other notes aren’t sinking in as fast. Just wondering what to expect in this area as I make progress. Have your previous students acquired the notes one by one, or gradually acquired them all over time?
And lastly, looking for some suggestions on how to incorporate my ear training into applying it to soloing on the guitar, and learning how to play chords on the guitar by ear. Right now I play chord progressions by memory and shy away from soloing cause it’s all guesswork at this point. Any suggestions on things I could do, or am I better off focusing on trying to make more progress with developing my ear before I try to apply what I’m learning?
One ear training seminar I went to in the past recommended to practice playing a variety of chord progressions in all the different keys for ear training. Is this something you’ve recommended to students in the past?
A: In Single String Studies for Guitar Volume One we are going to work on building your key retention. We will start on page one. I want you to first use the Fanatic’s Guide to Ear Training and Sight Singing CD to play the cadence in C major and let the track continue. Sing through the exercise (do any octave transpositions that you might need for your voice). Once you have sung through it with the drone let’s now try it without the drone. First play the cadence again in C major and then try to sing through the page without the drone. (Don’t be afraid to replay the cadence if you lose the key). This may take a while so work on the first page until you can sing through it at mm=40 bpm without the drone. Remember it is always best to pre-hear each note. Don’t be surprised if you are on the same page for awhile. Once you feel you are ready to move on let me know and I’ll give you the next step.
I think it’s best to add the non-diatonic notes as soon as possible. Many students stay to long on the diatonic notes which makes the non-diatonic notes weaker. They will already be harder so it’s best to just jump in and start memorizing their sound.
The fact that Fa is coming to you every time is great. Some students don’t get any notes for months. It’s really hard to give you an idea of how quickly students learn. It really varies greatly. Usually students get one note at a time and usually as they get one note another note might slip. This is because your mind is rearranging it’s impression. Think of it like this. If you only knew the colors yellow and blue and your mind thought one was light and one was dark and then all of sudden you learn red your mind needs to adjust what it thinks is light and dark.
You can try applying the ear training but it will probably be pretty frustrating until you get closer to mastering Ear Training One Note. One exercise I give my students is to record a one chord vamp (i.e. repeating a chord over and over in some groove) Then have another source play random notes (Make sure both these sources are in tune). Try to find those notes on the guitar by listen to how they sound against the vamp. Muse Eek Publishing has a random note CD you could get call Ear Training Direct Application Volume One. If you want that check the website.
You will definitely want to play vamps in different keys. You will want to sing in different keys too. But remember as far as the ear training goes – ALL KEYS ARE THE SAME. The 3rd in C major will sound exactly like the 3rd in F# major. The 3rd always sounds like the 3rd. You want to do other keys mostly to build up your music theory ability to know for example what the b6th in Gb major is quickly. This is where I recommend using the Music Theory Workbook for Guitar so you can speed up your music theory knowledge so it’s ready when your ears are.
It is also recommended that you read Bruce Arnold’s Blog at his artist site. It contains more discussion of the musical topics found in these FAQs as well as other subjects of interest. You will also find the “Music Education Genealogy Chart” located here which shows you the historic significance of the music education products found on the Muse Eek Publishing Company Website.