Discouraged with Difficulties of Ear Training

Discouraged with Difficulties of Ear Training

Discouraged with Difficulties of Ear Training

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Discouraged with Difficulties of Ear Training

Q: I just received the Ear Training One Note Beginning Level. I am very excited at the possibility of really learning how to hear. I tried an ear training course (or collection of notes to play) some years ago based on playing a single chord tone at first and singing it back, and somehow I felt it helped me hear a lot more of the music I was listening to and playing. I ultimately gave up music, but have returned to it again, some years later (I am in my early forties).

Anyway, I got your book/cd, read the FAQs, and noted that many people spoke of being discouraged. I thought, well, that won't be a problem for me, especially now that I have been warned. I plugged the cd into my cd player, and could only go for a few minutes, because I felt it was absolutely impossible. I want to make a subset cd of just the major triad chord tones (though my software stymied me for now).

Anyway, my questions are these:

1. If a person really gets essentially none of the answers right at first, is there still hope :-) ? It really feels impossible, like I am being asked to fly or create metal bars out of water vapor.

2. When I played music before, I did a lot of scale pattern work, including arpeggios. I could sing them pretty well after a time (I cannot do that anymore, but I am now hunting for the arpeggios on the guitar to reproduce what I had earlier done on a mandolin). Anyway, how does singing arpeggios and/or scale patterns, at the instrument, fit into your scheme? You recommend against certain forms of ear training, and that is why I am asking. I will probably get your sight singing book that you recommend.

I'm rested from my initial discouragement, and am picking up the cd to try again after sending you this. Thanks for making these resources available.

A: Not getting any of the notes correct at first is common. As you have probably read in some of the FAQs you are using a different type of learning skill with this ear training. You are going back to the skills you used when you learned to speak. Your mother would say "daddy" over and over everyday until you finally said it, then she built up from there adding one word at a time. This is the type of learning you need to use with this ear training. So play the CD often for short periods of time and keep a positive attitude. Keep in mind that the way you have learned most everything after about the 1st grade is by reference, 1 stick plus 1 stick equals two sticks. You are not using this type of reference learning with this ear training. Therefore there is no way to compare the 3rd to the 5th to help you distinguish between the two. Also keep in mind that it has been engrained into you at an early age that being wrong is bad and right is good. What you need to do right now is just listen to the CD and not worry or think you are bad if you miss notes. EVERYONE that applies themselves "gets" this ear training. The people that have the hardest time are those that don't understand or follow the advice I've given. The whole trick to improving is to keep these sounds in your short term memory as much as possible. This is why I recommend doing it many times throughout the day.

Singing will certainly help out your situation so get the Fanatic's Guide to Ear Training and Sight Singing and start working out of that. I wouldn't do your arpeggio singing right now until you start to hear every note against a key center. Check out the one note exercises in the Fanatic's Guide to Ear Training and Sight Singing, this is what you need to do first.

Most of all keep a positive attitude! It's not how many notes you get right or how long it takes it's doing it correctly with a positive attitude that's important. When you get a note wrong don't be discouraged and say "shit, I'm an idiot" Say "oh that's what that note sounds like I'm going to try to remember that sound." Maybe play the same track again and really listen to the note. Don't try to figure how to remember it just know that the more you hear it the more you will remember it.

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.

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