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Author Topic: Help with Ear Training  (Read 1471 times)
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keptyerbullet
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« on: Apr 10, 2012, 12:59AM »

Dear fellow forum readers:

I am having trouble in my college Ear Training course. I have encountered difficulty and was hoping to hear some good practice techniques for use in the practice room. Any advice, even if its just general, would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,
Kepyerbullet
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« Reply #1 on: Apr 10, 2012, 05:55AM »

I'm not sure what ear training involves, I never had any.

Speculating, though, it might help to watch youtube trombonists and become aware of what note they are playing.  You should be able to get it by ear (if not too fast) but watching the slide position gives you another clue.  Then expand to trumpet players.  Etc. 
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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #2 on: Apr 10, 2012, 08:37AM »

Most important; work on ear training everyday. Sometimes it helps to limit your choices. Start with major and minor chords in root position, for example. MacGamut software is very helpful. Some years ago, I decided to start doing ear training again. I spend 20-30 min with software and sight singing before I start to practice. I feel that my improvement in pitch has helped open doors in higher performing ensembles. Good players do not like to play with musicians who play out of tune. The better the players, the higher the standard.
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« Reply #3 on: Apr 10, 2012, 08:39AM »

The approach that I took, many years ago, was this:

First, be sure you know your written (notated) intervals - m2, M2, m3, M3, P4, A4/d5, P5, m6, M6, m7, M7, P8, m9, M9 - from any note, up or down. This should be automatic.

Then, learn the sound of each of these intervals melodically (in succession). One good device is to associate each of the intervals with a tune that begins with that interval (up or down). You should be able then to sing the intervals when you see them, or recognize them when you hear them.

Then, sit at a piano to learn and memorize the sound of the intervals harmonically (simultaneously). You should be able to notate the intervals when you hear them, or hear them in your mind when you see them.

Longer term, then, you can begin to work with longer sequences of intervals and harmonic combinations of 3 or more pitches.

It's hard work and takes a while, and easier for some than others. There are many players who play very well by ear for whom this process is still an ordeal, because it involves memorizing things from a "theoretical" perspective.
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« Reply #4 on: Apr 10, 2012, 08:46AM »

Dear fellow forum readers:

I am having trouble in my college Ear Training course. I have encountered difficulty and was hoping to hear some good practice techniques for use in the practice room. Any advice, even if its just general, would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,
Kepyerbullet

The simple answer is that you have to practice it. If you're having trouble, you need to practice it more. Use the other suggestions already given here - they're good ones.

If possible, it can also help to train with pure intervals, not tempered intervals. When notes are played simultaneously, pure intervals have harmonic properties that are a bit easier for the ear to recognize than tempered intervals.

It will also help you to actively try to remember tonal centers over time. Sing melodies, only giving yourself the starting note on a piano. When you finish your melody, see how close your ending pitch is by checking it on the piano. This isn't just about guessing sung intervals right, but about deliberately remembering exactly where the tonal center is while you sing the other notes of a melody.
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datguy
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« Reply #5 on: Apr 10, 2012, 12:11PM »

The simple answer is that you have to practice it. If you're having trouble, you need to practice it more.

Never stop praticing...
Here is a link to one of many resources that are free to use.
http://www.good-ear.com/
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AxSlinger7String

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« Reply #6 on: Apr 10, 2012, 12:19PM »

Sing with a drone.  Either from a tuner etc. or just vamp (usually do or sol is best) on the piano while you do your example, that way if you need to check a note your singing you can still do that too.
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norbie2009

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« Reply #7 on: Apr 11, 2012, 08:10AM »

If you have an Android phone, check out "Perfect-Ear" app.  I think it is an excellent, cheap tool that'll track your progress and allow you to discern and focus on areas which are giving you trouble.  I believe there is a free version, but you'd have to check.

Also, using a BERP during my practice has helped my ears immensely.  Playing tunes by ear is a wonderful, fun way of improving your ear, just be certain that you know the scale relationship of the pitches using some type of solfege (movable Doh, fixed Doh, numbers).  Now, using a BERP and playing tunes by ear, that's an excellent challenge.  Regardless, the app, BERP, playing tunes by ear, and knowing their relationship to one another has certainly opened up my ears and may benefit you as well (assuming you haven't done these things already).

Be well and good luck!
Michael
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hhandres
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« Reply #8 on: Apr 11, 2012, 11:54AM »

This is a subject near and dear to my heart, as I have been a theory and aural skills teacher at the college level for the past 12 years. Students all learn differently, and you must find what works for you. My first advice would be to speak with your ear training teacher and ask him/her for advice on how to improve, since they should know where you are developmentally. Aside from that, I would start with pitch-matching. Make sure you can hear a note, then sing that note back without scooping up to it or down to it. You can use the trombone or a piano or whatever, but make sure you can sing the pitch precisely. Once that is mastered, move into singing intervals and scales as others have mentioned.

Another idea would be to try and sing whatever music you are working on in your trombone lessons. You can change keys/octaves to fit your vocal range of course.

The ultimate goal is to be able to look at music and know what it will sound like BEFORE you hear it. This will help tremendously with sight reading and your trombone playing in general. I have a rule in my studio; you can play whatever you'd like, but you have to sing it for me first. (I even make them use solfege, which they hate). Once they are able to do this, everything improves, from intonation to rhythm to musicality.

The flip side of that coin is the "dictation" part of ear training. This is where you hear the music first and write down what you're hearing. This is also an invaluable tool for improving your musical abilities.

I've written about 675 various melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic dictations for my students that are available through iTunesU. They start out very basic and end with fairly advanced stuff. PM me if you're interested and I'll send you info about how to access them.
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datguy
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« Reply #9 on: Apr 11, 2012, 12:34PM »

This is a subject near and dear to my heart, as I have been a theory and aural skills teacher at the college level for the past 12 years. Students all learn differently, and you must find what works for you. My first advice would be to speak with your ear training teacher and ask him/her for advice on how to improve, since they should know where you are developmentally. Aside from that, I would start with pitch-matching. Make sure you can hear a note, then sing that note back without scooping up to it or down to it. You can use the trombone or a piano or whatever, but make sure you can sing the pitch precisely. Once that is mastered, move into singing intervals and scales as others have mentioned.

Another idea would be to try and sing whatever music you are working on in your trombone lessons. You can change keys/octaves to fit your vocal range of course.

The ultimate goal is to be able to look at music and know what it will sound like BEFORE you hear it. This will help tremendously with sight reading and your trombone playing in general. I have a rule in my studio; you can play whatever you'd like, but you have to sing it for me first. (I even make them use solfege, which they hate). Once they are able to do this, everything improves, from intonation to rhythm to musicality.

The flip side of that coin is the "dictation" part of ear training. This is where you hear the music first and write down what you're hearing. This is also an invaluable tool for improving your musical abilities.

I've written about 675 various melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic dictations for my students that are available through iTunesU. They start out very basic and end with fairly advanced stuff. PM me if you're interested and I'll send you info about how to access them.
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« Reply #10 on: Apr 11, 2012, 03:31PM »

Sing!!!!!
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