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#947187 - 04/16/08 10:49 AM Re: Do you teach your students "how" to listen?
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 13428
Loc: Canada
I lost my second post answering part of your question. Moving to the next note is relative pitch, and I have the scale, or at least the tonic, sitting somewhere in the back of my mind. I think most people have chords sitting in the back of their minds - sort of like a ladder or framework that everything sits in as you hop about. In relative pitch I think you learn to move in seconds, (whole step), then thirds, fifths, fourths, and relate the other intervals to those. I'm trying to get a better ear for that right now by playing some of my written theory exercises and anticipating what they will sound like first. It seems to have an effect.

(Oops, I just noticed that this is the teacher forum. Maybe we should move the rest of the discussion over to the AB forum)

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#947188 - 04/16/08 12:57 PM Re: Do you teach your students "how" to listen?
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
How to sing. For men: G on the bottom line of the bass clef to f below middle c should be easy. Higher and you'll need some advice.
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.

#947189 - 04/16/08 01:48 PM Re: Do you teach your students "how" to listen?
LifeLongLearner [LLL] Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/18/07
Posts: 9
Loc: Pacific Northwest
sorry, double posted!!

#947190 - 04/16/08 01:49 PM Re: Do you teach your students "how" to listen?
LifeLongLearner [LLL] Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/18/07
Posts: 9
Loc: Pacific Northwest
After 26+ years singing in an “a capella” group and with the added experience of being a section leader and assistant director, I have found that most SINGERS don't listen to the other parts in the chorus. After working on a piece for several weeks or even months, individuals retain learned errors, even though they have been corrected many times. I believe that they are also not actively and critically listening when they perform, but relying on what we call "muscle memory" to sing their part.

I suspect that this also happens to pianists. The important thing to teach is how to actively and critically listen each and every time a piece is performed. Rehearsal/practice/lesson-time IS performance but for a smaller audience, usually the instructor and yourself.

A critical listener will have the ability to anticipate the next note or chord and without humming it [instrumentalists] will know the correct note has been played.

There are several old clichés that apply to musicians as well as other activities. Some should be permanently deleted or at the very least revised.

Among them is: “Practice makes perfect.” To be more correct it should be said that “Only perfect practice makes perfect.” Of course, we know it is difficult it is to achieve a perfect practice.

Another is “Practice until you get it right.” This is a negative approach, since it infers that you are doing it wrong; again it should be restated more positively to say “Practice until you can’t get it wrong!!”

I hope that this adds some useful perspective to this discussion


#947191 - 04/16/08 08:30 PM Re: Do you teach your students "how" to listen?
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 13428
Loc: Canada
LLL, this is one I'm printing out. thx


#947192 - 05/29/08 05:09 PM Re: Do you teach your students "how" to listen?
Akira Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/27/07
Posts: 1645
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
I'm having some difficulty this week that made me think of this thread. Hope you don't mind me trudging it up.

I do Hanon exercises daily. As you all know, a critical part of these exercises is to create an even tone and distinctness for every note. The note patterns are easily memorized, which allows me the luxury of not having to use any resources looking at music. When practicing, I close my eyes and listen carefully - very carefully, focusing purely on the sounds that I'm creating. Are all the notes equal in duration and tonality at the speed I am trying to achieve? I thought it was, but was surprised to find out at my lesson that I was wrong? There was an unevenness to it, which I honestly could not hear, despite my best attempts.

Obviously, I don't fully understand what's wrong. I simply can't hear it. Maybe my listening skills are not sufficiently developed. Maybe I'm not listening carefully enough, even though I "think" I am. If I can't hear the deficiencies, there doesn't seem to be any (current) hope of me correcting it.

My teacher played the same exercise. I listened carefully. It was even and I could detect no imperfections. So, I think I do have an intellectual understanding of what I was suppose to achieve. I asked him to exaggerate the unevenness he was hearing when I played it and I intellectually understood where the deficiency was occuring (darn pinkies and ring fingers playing too soft again). I played it again, focusing on the problem. He said, yes, that's it. I corrected the problem, but honestly could not hear the difference between the first and last time I played it, which leads me to believe similar problems will occur in the future (i.e. I have yet to sufficiently develop a good ear to detect certain deficiencies).

I could not help but think that the act of playing while listening is adversely affecting my ability to 'really' listen. Maybe I should record it and listen more closely with an objective and dispassionate ear. Haven't tried it yet, but its worth a shot.

Any advice or suggestions (or even a "What you're going through is normal.") for listenening exercises would be appreciated. \:\)

Thanks guys for reading.

#947193 - 05/29/08 05:46 PM Re: Do you teach your students "how" to listen?
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
You did the right thing to ask your teacher to exaggerate. When students play scales where hands are not together, I imitate their playing with some exaggeration. It takes a while but they get it. The key is NOT to mechanically direct your fingers. Just learning what the fault sounds like will put it right.
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.

#947194 - 05/29/08 05:49 PM Re: Do you teach your students "how" to listen?
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 13428
Loc: Canada
Akira, I went through intensive ear training last year. It was for pitch with voice, but some of the principles transfer.

The mind boggling new concept is: we listen to what we play after we play it, don't we? We play a note, and then we listen to how it sounds and whether it is correct. Well, if you think about it, it's too late by then, you've played it.

What I learned to do is to perceive in my mind what I wanted to play. I would have to hear it in my mind. Then I sing (play) and while I am playing it, I listen that it is the same as I intended.

Next discovery: If you do manage to actually listening to what you are playing, anticipating and playing what you anticipate, you'll find that you tune out as in "There, job's done, I hit the note."

In my singing exercise that was shown by a slight drift in pitch. I had good pitch to begin with, so this was a matter of cents.

So now you've done the daunting task: you have imagined your note (its loudness and pitch, though you can only control the loudness), and you have played that one note, and you have listened to the note while you played it. 1 second of listening.

While you are still listening to that note, imagine your next note. It will be comparative. How loud do you want it to be in comparison to the first note: hear it in your mind. Play and listen to make sure that it has the loudness that you had in mind and keep listening. You will also be hearing whether it is the same loudness.

You will do the same with the third note, but you will probably find that by the third note you have stopped anticipating and listening. In the beginning, if I managed 15 seconds I was doing well. It is shocking to discover you haven't been listening when you thought you were.

Now the bad news: \:\( I just tried it on the piano on a C major scale. F is quieter than E and I never noticed before. And my mind drifted before I could get to G.

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