Practice Session Length for Ear Training
Practice Session Length for Ear Training
Q: I have a decent amount of knowledge in terms of theory, but I have a terrible ear as my first serious experience with ear training began a few days ago with the Fanatic’s Guide to Ear Training and Sight Singing. If this is the case would you still recommend the Advanced version?
I’m pretty certain I’ll get the Metrodrone, but I did have some questions about it in the email I sent on the 6th. There were several other questions in that email that I would ask.
Is there a certain amount of time (in hours) you would estimate for the practice session length for complete one-note recognition? I didn’t have a problem with any of the chord tones (I III & V), which I assume should be easy, but now that I’m on the 2nd degree of the scale I’m not really moving along. I’ve only worked on it for about an hour but I literally have 0% accuracy with it at this point. I appreciate answers to these questions when you get a chance as well.
A: In that case I would recommend going with the Ear Training One Note Complete. I would start with the intermediate level and see how you do. If that is too hard then move down to the Beginning Level. I try to start people with some musical knowledge on the intermediate level because the beginning level gives people too much time to think about the answer. If you are just a beginner at music you need this time but it also can build in a habit of thinking too much. Remember you just want to say the first thing that comes into your mind and by doing the ear training practice sessions many times during the day your memory will start to kick in and you will just know the answer immediately.
I use Drones to create key centers but with the MetroDrone it’s also a time keeper. But it’s a slow time keeper. The fastest MetroDrone is only 60 BPM. The idea is to get you thinking of time on a larger scale which is a more musical way of hearing sound, it will make your playing smoother and you will be able to play faster because you are not subdividing every beat in your mind. Subdividing is good if you need to learn a new rhythm or melody but as soon as you can you want to hear the musical phrase on a larger metric level. That’s where the MetroDrone comes in and I’ve included a video with the course to help you start to apply what I call “Long line Rhythm.” As with all my books I’ve used them at some point in my development to help me learn. MetroDrone is something I use everyday. Right now I’m getting back into playing after everything that happened with Hurricane Sandy so I’m use the 12 BPM MetroDrone everyday. Before Hurricane Sandy I was using 8 BPM which takes time to feel a large chunk of time like that especially in regards to practice session length. The MetroDrone course has MP3s for all keys and beats between 20 and 60. There is an additional package which isn’t currently available for sale that has the slower tempos. 20 through 60 BPM challenges most people enough during their practice session length. You should also check out the page where MetroDrone is sold there are a lot of other ideas on how to use the files.
As far as the time needed to complete one note ear training which by that I mean you are getting 80% correct notes on the advanced one note ear training it can really vary a lot. I’ve had people do it in a few weeks and I’ve had students take 4 years to master it. The speed at which you progress is proportional to the amount of time you put into it every day with your practice session length. Some people have many places throughout the day that they can listen to an MP3 player for a few minutes so they usually do very well and within a few months are getting over 50 percent. The people that do it 3 times a day and miss a couple days a week can take substantially more time. Especially if you miss a day because this ear training is all about memory. I’d say missing a day is like stopping for 3 weeks in the beginning few months. Other than practice session length an consistency, I’d also say that the state of mind that you get into when doing the ear training is extremely important. If you approach it with a positive attitude believe in yourself that you will get the answer correct over time and not beat yourself up every time you miss a note you will improve a lot faster. Older people often have this problem of negative energy which they put into missing notes which really effects their progress. Some times I tell students that learning ear training is like doing 10 years of psychotherapy because you have to go in and figure out why you are cheating with the answers or beating yourself up over the wrong answers etc…
I should also mention that It is important to start doing the Direct Application courses once you get to 50% correct answer so that you can start applying your ability to real music. This is not only fun but it really starts to show you how the ear training will work in the real world. It usually also gets you to do the ear training more because you see the real world progress.
Hope that helps,
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.