Tip 5 picture

Here Are Some Useful And Fun Ideas How
To Keep Your Ear Training Practice Alive And
Bubbling With Imagination, Variety & Invention.

Manipulate audio files any way you like with "TRANSCRIBE"

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Start by using your favorite music in a different way and it will become an ally in your ear training quest.
Ok, you are practicing, singing, learning, getting your ear used to tuning in to the finer details of music and you're moving forward every day. The fog is lifting, the picture is becoming clearer but maybe it's all a little bit on the boring side.

Let's spice things up a bit with the help of your favorite music

Here are some things you need to start doing now:

  1. Start listening with a different mind set, not so much for the mere pleasure only, but with a probing, critical ear. By all means don't let the joy disappear completely. I sometimes curse myself for constantly analyzing what I'm listening to and mentally pulling it apart.
  2. Get used to listening for the 6 chord groups, especially finding out where the tonal centre (root chord) happens. This may be a bit more tricky if you're listening to classical music and I would stay away from the Mahler Symphony (or the like) and find something much more simple musically to start with. Be aware that most popular songs are either in a major or minor tonality but the tonal center or root chord (The C chord in the key of C) does not necessarily appear in the first measure. When you find it, sing along by pitching the root, third and fifth. tip5 arrow1
  3. Find other key related chords like the II-III-IV-V-VI-VII chords (I'm using Roman numerals for the first time which is the proper way to indicate the steps of the major scale modes) and when you find them, again sing the 1, 3 & 5 of each related chord. The easiest way to find this chord movement is to follow the bass line. Singing the bass line of well know tunes was a favorite past time of mine when I was a kid.
    a) Finding the Bassline: tip5 arrow2
    b) Finding the Chords: tip5 arrow3
  4. Focus on the melody or any other prominent line, choose 2 notes out of it and work out the interval between them. Sing along with the track and start to notice what these small and large jumps feel like. tip5 arrow4
  5. Try this: Sing a comfortably note in the lower end of your range and then find the note on a keyboard. Sing and play the note together. Now, while playing the same note on the keyboard every time, start to move away from it with your voice either scale wise (or chromatically if you're game) in an upward direction as far as you can go. Depending on whether you're singing diatonically or chromatically you will hear every interval you create as a 2 note chord. Done slowly and deliberately this will cement each interval sound in your mind.

    Tip 5 Number 5

  6. Do number 5 from the top down and then, as an added step, sing back down to the piano note first before you jump up (or down) to a new note.

    Tip 5 Number 6

  7. Mix up chromatic and diatonic steps at will.

    Tip 5 Number 7

  8. Here is a fun and very educational thing to do:
    Download the free software Audacity (all the audio samples on this site were recorded with it) and buy a headphone/mic set, preferably with a USB connection (local electronics shop from about $20), then get creative:
    a) Import your favorite song and record yourself singing any of the suggested exercises in tip 5.
    b) Record (sing or play) a series of tonic notes (see 5, 6 & 7 above) and record yourself on another track singing intervals with it.
    c) Create a 3 part voice recording singing chords. tip5 arrow5
    d) The possibilities of how you can use Audacity are endless.

    Download Audacity HERE

  9. Driving in the car (for more grown up ear trainers) is a great time to sing along with music or solo, especially if you're alone.
  10. As a new challenge (if you feel ready), learn to sing a chromatic scale over 1 octave.
  11. Notice the smile on your face as the playing/singing becomes more assured and the understanding of your music deepens every day. A nice place to be in.

You may even discover that you have achieved perfect pitch after a while (the ability to instantly name pitches, intervals & chords without the help of a keyboard or other instrument) but please don't be disappointed if you can't make it into that lofty group.
I believe perfect pitch is a rare thing and people are mostly born with this ability.

I've managed to lead a fulfilling and successful musical life with accurate relative pitch and that is something everyone can achieve with diligent ear training practice, using any one of the tools on this website.

And for something new & different:
Make your ear training practice come alive with these unique, ingenious and fun ear training games. I recommend them highly!

Apply the 3 "p's" to your music studies:
Patience - Practice - Perseverance!
Keep smiling, have fun, be inventive
and there is no doubt in my mind
that you will grow "Elephant Ears"

elephant ears

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