Singing through each tone of the various scales, arpeggios and chords is by far the best way to not only commit the sound of the notes to memory, but it also helps with the association and recall of each musical tone. This lesson offers guitar players the chance to begin building the basic skills that are involved with the world of professional-level musical ear training…
Q: I watched your video called, “How to play what you hear in your head,” and after trying a bunch of basic melodies like you’d mentioned, I am having a little bit easier time with playing what’s in my head. Only thing, is that there still isn’t a very quick connection for me with this. Are there more exercises I can work on? Maybe scales & singing stuff?
Antonio – Elizabeth, NJ. USA
A: When it comes to deeper level study for the subject of Ear Training there are certainly many ideas that will need to be practiced aside from learning how general fingerboard concepts can become memorized by the ear.
If you would like to develop an excellent ear for every facet of the language of music, you will need to establish a very involved study routine that focuses on ‘fine tuning’ your ear and learning as much as you possibly can about the principles of music.
In this video, I walk through a singing technique called “solfège.” I also discuss a common ear training psychological concept that we will refer to as, ‘Ear Training, Set-Backs.’
Plus, I discuss the importance of developing a topic that we will call, “Essential Listening Skills.”
LAY THE GROUNDWORK:
There are a number of issues that students tend to face when stepping into the world of “Ear Training.”
The first is over-coming any issues that are related to poor note recognition. To move past this, guitar players need to focus on establishing a routine and ignore any feelings associated to being poor at general ear training skills.
Skills will improve over time and with the correct practice. The most important thing is to stop delaying advanced-level ear training practice and get started.
Another extremely important area is singing. Students of ear training will need to do a lot of singing. It does not matter if you have a terrible singing voice or if you feel like you cannot nail down the pitch. With dedication and practice, the ability to match, associate and recognize musical tones will eventually improve.
Try using ear training web-sites and ear training apps to begin working on the improvement of your skills. The more work that you do, the easier it will be when it comes to effortlessly hearing musical ideas.
Most importantly, you will need to believe in yourself. You can do this. Ear training skill development requires diligent work, but it also requires belief in yourself. Spend the time and be sure to study the material. If you do that, you will have success.
DEVELOP LISTENING SKILLS:
At the start of your ear training studies, singing must become your top priority.
Sing note intervals, sing scales, arpeggios and match the notes of chords with your voice. If you are a terrible singer, then simply do your best to sing along to the pitches that you practice and to the melody of song parts. Over time you will improve and you will become more used to applying your own voice to match pitch.
Song learning by ear (no internet TAB searching), needs to become a “priority” routine throughout your study week.
Select songs that you enjoy and work on their melodic passages as well as, on hearing the chords that are used within them.
It is also excellent to break away from the study of guitar music to learn pieces on horns and other string instruments, including piano.
Along with that, break away from your favorite styles and learn styles that you never normally pay attention to, (even music styles that you dislike).
If you only listen to rock, try some jazz, or some Irish music, or perhaps some reggae.
PLAY BY EAR /SING BY EAR:
As a guitarist studying ear training, you will need to start by learning to sing through the individual tones of a single scale.
You can select any tone for this, but choosing “C” Major (C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C) is the time honored method. Along with using the “C” scale, the concept that is known of as “solfège” is still widely considered as the best way to use for matching into musical tones and pitches.
Solfège is the application of the “sol-fa syllables,” to a musical scale or to a melody.
When this approach is used, a singing exercise using “sol-fa syllables” tends to improve the practice of associating and recognizing both tonal sight-reading and tonal singing.
Of course, you do not “have to” use sol-fa syllables, you can always just use any syllable you’d prefer, (such as; “daaa” or “dee”).
But, in general the sol-fa syllables will tend to work the best for building a more rapid physical response to note distance association and recognition skill.
The Solfège Scale:
Study the exercises that are contained within the handout. Be sure that you practice doing a lot of singing!
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