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#1956493 - 09/09/12 03:48 PM ISO Aural Skills
tangleweeds Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 11 2012

Registered: 12/21/08
Posts: 1275
Loc: Portland, OR
Some of you might recall that a month or so ago, I was all excited about capturing a used-but-new-to-me music theory textbook/workbooks/answer key set. It's called The Complete Musician, was written by a professor at Eastman, and places an unusual emphasis on integrating aural skills with theory (and thus has many DVDs of musical exercises & examples).

Well, it's turned out to be pretty embarrassing just how bad my aural skills are. But rather than getting discouraged, as I have in the past, I've found myself motivated to spend more time with my ear training software, and even to begin experimenting with sight singing.

That's a huge step for me, because a huge part of my motivation to learn to play an instrument was to have an external prosthetic "voice" which could sing for me, and actually be in tune. (I have a notoriously awful singing voice!).

So I was wondering if anyone wanted to chat about their adventures in ear training, sight singing, or related musicianly skills.

Edited by tangleweeds (09/09/12 03:48 PM)
Please step aside. You're standing in your own way.

intermittent piano blog

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#1956704 - 09/10/12 12:13 AM Re: ISO Aural Skills [Re: tangleweeds]
JamesPlaysPiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 125
How's it coming? What are your biggest struggles? What are your goals in eartraining? What would you love to be able to do, if you had a magic wand?

Free book, yadda-yadda- go here.
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#1956932 - 09/10/12 01:13 PM Re: ISO Aural Skills [Re: tangleweeds]
Brian Lucas Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 1111
Loc: Nashville, TN
The hard part is figuring out where the disconnect is. I've worked ear training with some incredible musicians who can mimic a line they hear on their instrument with amazing accuracy, but can't match a single note with their voice. So the question we have to ask here is, are you hearing the note correctly, and then, are you singing what you hear.

Sometimes you have to slow down to go fast. Can you play a note on the piano and sing it back with accuracy? If so, are you hitting the note dead on or are you scooping up or down to it? If you hear a note, can you find it on the piano? If so, how fast and how many mistakes before you find the right note? It's breaking down "ear training" into it's smaller components that will help you get to the real issue. If you're a little more specific, I can try to figure out where your trouble is and give you some exercises to improve.
BM in Performance, Berklee College of Music, 23+ year teacher and touring musician
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#1957050 - 09/10/12 05:21 PM Re: ISO Aural Skills [Re: tangleweeds]
tangleweeds Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 11 2012

Registered: 12/21/08
Posts: 1275
Loc: Portland, OR
I've been strugging to compose an answer which is shorter and more to the point than my complete musical autobiography :rolleyes: I was so proud of myself for making less-than-infinite opening post on this subject, and then you guys hafta go and ask me all these questions! wink

I tend to eventually run into trouble when figuring tunes out by ear from zero. But when I'm transcribing recordings of Irish tin-whistle players to see how the do their ornamentation, it's no problem at all for me to edit the generic off-the-web version of the tune to match the variations they play on the recordings.

I also think something might be a little iffy about how I hear my own voice, though. I have no problem pitch matching quite nicely when I'm playing a tin whistle or a recorder (which, for the uninitiated, can take a bit of breath adjustment to get notes in fully in tune). But when I (attempt to) sing, I tend to want to aim too high, and need to put my voice lower than what feels or sounds right to me in order to get the resonant sensation of that I recognize as pitch matching.

Recently i got a good discount on this piece of software: Sing and See which has been helping me get a better handle on what's going awry when I attempt to match pitches with my voice.

I also have a friend who's had formal vocal training who's going to help me with breath support, because my singing voice is very weak and wavery (after years of being discouraged from singing at all!). Right now it's just a matter of logistics to figure out when this is going to happen.

Gotta go for now, but James, I'm still thinking about your deep questions. smile
Please step aside. You're standing in your own way.

intermittent piano blog

#1957081 - 09/10/12 06:04 PM Re: ISO Aural Skills [Re: tangleweeds]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 12668
Loc: Canada
There are two traps in formal ear training, especially when it's through books and electronics.
- You may have trouble naming something, but can actually hear it. Naming and hearing are different things.
- You may hear it but not be able to produce it.


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