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Re: Teaching Ear Training to the Tone Deaf
keystring #2839226 04/14/19 09:38 PM
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Many nice thoughts here, but I'd like to focus on this particular problem:
Originally Posted by keystring
* hearing a C major triad as being different from an E major triad

Depending on what you're listening for, they ARE different. The chord qualities are the same - they are both major. But the pitches are different. In fact, because of what influenced trained my first music-hearing, I have had to work hard to hear a G7 as being different than a C7 or Eb7 etc. because all I heard were quality and function. I heard from one angle, and not the other. She's got this in reverse; the part I was missing.

We're in the area of quality here, i.e. major vs. minor etc. This is a thing one learns to hear, and an angle for hearing things. There is also the "semantic" part - the name for the thing. There are two problems here.

To be more precise, I did not ask her if the chords are same or different. Of course they are "different" in the sense that they are different notes. I asked if the chords are major or minor.

She will say C major is major, and then E major is minor.

???????????????

Obviously, she's just guessing on the quality. And if you are guessing _consistently_ wrong, at least you can just flip the switch and say, "Well, whatever you thought was major is in fact minor, and vice versa."

However, the girl is unable to guess correctly with any degree of certainty. It's literally all over the map. The chord's quality makes no difference to her ears.

What part of this problem is semantics??


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Re: Teaching Ear Training to the Tone Deaf
AZNpiano #2839262 04/15/19 12:16 AM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
What part of this problem is semantics?

"major" and "minor" are words that have meanings. Naming a chord quality wrongly can be due to:
- not studying and learning
- not being able to hear
- not having grasped the meaning of major and minor (semantics)

You have another transfer student here, and who knows how she learned to hear or to study. I'm thinking this is more likely than an clinical type diagnosis such as amusia.

Re: Teaching Ear Training to the Tone Deaf
AZNpiano #2839265 04/15/19 12:36 AM
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Let's put it this way....

If you were teaching this girl words to associate with the sense of smell....

You show her chocolate. She smells it. You tell her this is chocolate.

You show her lemon. She smells it. You tell her this is lemon.

Then, with her eyes closed, she should be able to tell the difference between chocolate and lemon just by smelling. There might be small variations between dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate, and whatever varieties of lemons are out there. The girl SHOULD be able to tell the difference between the two different smells.

Is there anything to _teach_ here? Other than to associate a physical sensation with a word?

If the girl can't tell the smells apart, then it's time to get her nose checked.


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Re: Teaching Ear Training to the Tone Deaf
AZNpiano #2839272 04/15/19 01:10 AM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Is there anything to _teach_ here?
What does lemon taste like? Is it sweet, or sour? Does it have a creamy or an astringent feel? What things do you like that have lemon in them? Why does lemon taste different from chocolate? OK, so you probably wouldn't have to do that with something that a child has such experience with as taste. But you need to give her what's needed to help her recognise the difference between major and minor. I don't just mean happy/sad. (Anyone who's ever played any Schubert will know that some of the most poignant moments in his music are when it changes from minor to major, not the reverse.)

Yes, there's plenty to _teach_ here.
It's not simply a matter of recognising the sound of major/minor. Have you worked on recognising what goes to make up the sound of a minor/major chord? Can she tell the first 3 notes of a major scale from the first 3 notes of a minor scale? Does she know about major and minor 3rds? That is, are you sure you've been giving her the tools to work out whether it's major or minor? Does she have tunes in her repertoire that are strongly major/minor? Would she know if you played a simple, well-known major key tune in the minor? Or a minor key tune in the major?

Believe me, I know what an uphill battle working with some kids can be. But in all my years teaching 5-12 year-olds in the school system I don't think I ever came across a child who couldn't make some progress with pitch perception.


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Re: Teaching Ear Training to the Tone Deaf
AZNpiano #2839414 04/15/19 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Let's put it this way....

If you were teaching this girl words to associate with the sense of smell....

You show her chocolate. She smells it. You tell her this is chocolate.

You show her lemon. She smells it. You tell her this is lemon.

Then, with her eyes closed, she should be able to tell the difference between chocolate and lemon just by smelling. There might be small variations between dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate, and whatever varieties of lemons are out there. The girl SHOULD be able to tell the difference between the two different smells.

Is there anything to _teach_ here? Other than to associate a physical sensation with a word?

If the girl can't tell the smells apart, then it's time to get her nose checked.


In both examples the task is to use verbal language to describe the sensory experience of sound quality or smell. You could control for the language piece by giving her a picture or visual symbol to support her response. By allowing her to point to a picture of the items or color cards brown for chocolate and yellow for lemon, you have controlled for the possibility that she just can't hang on to the words and conjure them up when needed. To establish symbols for major and minor, I'd have her pick or draw something, and then see if she could keep them straight.

My guess is that her everyday verbal communication is good enough that no one sees or suspects that she has any difficulty learning and using the verbal labels of things in the world. I think it would be interesting to check out aspects of her auditory discrimination in addition to pitch. If she is given a set of opaque containers with different things inside (rice, gravel, sand, sunflower seeds etc.)--that is 2 containers of each item--can she find the matching pairs of them? Can she tell apart sounds made by different instruments? Can she repeat nonsense words? Is the prosody of her spontaneous conversation typical? Can she imitate various prosodic contours when speaking?


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Re: Teaching Ear Training to the Tone Deaf
malkin #2839424 04/15/19 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by malkin
In both examples the task is to use verbal language to describe the sensory experience of sound quality or smell. You could control for the language piece by giving her a picture or visual symbol to support her response. By allowing her to point to a picture of the items or color cards brown for chocolate and yellow for lemon, you have controlled for the possibility that she just can't hang on to the words and conjure them up when needed. To establish symbols for major and minor, I'd have her pick or draw something, and then see if she could keep them straight.

My guess is that her everyday verbal communication is good enough that no one sees or suspects that she has any difficulty learning and using the verbal labels of things in the world. I think it would be interesting to check out aspects of her auditory discrimination in addition to pitch. If she is given a set of opaque containers with different things inside (rice, gravel, sand, sunflower seeds etc.)--that is 2 containers of each item--can she find the matching pairs of them? Can she tell apart sounds made by different instruments? Can she repeat nonsense words? Is the prosody of her spontaneous conversation typical? Can she imitate various prosodic contours when speaking?

Let me guess- you specialize in learning disabilities in Real Lifeâ„¢? thumb


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Re: Teaching Ear Training to the Tone Deaf
malkin #2839621 04/15/19 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by malkin
Is the prosody of her spontaneous conversation typical? Can she imitate various prosodic contours when speaking?

Huh?


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Re: Teaching Ear Training to the Tone Deaf
AZNpiano #2839645 04/15/19 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by malkin
Is the prosody of her spontaneous conversation typical? Can she imitate various prosodic contours when speaking?

Huh?

Folks have been dabbling in areas of disabilities of various kinds and within areas of education and learning. So this time an experienced professional in the field weighed in. Plain language seems to invite ignoring. The quoted text is not at all incomprehensible. Look up the word "prosody", and "prosodic contours". It's as evident as the nose on your face. wink

Re: Teaching Ear Training to the Tone Deaf
currawong #2839646 04/15/19 06:50 PM
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Bumping:

Originally Posted by currawong
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Is there anything to _teach_ here?
What does lemon taste like? Is it sweet, or sour? Does it have a creamy or an astringent feel? What things do you like that have lemon in them? Why does lemon taste different from chocolate? OK, so you probably wouldn't have to do that with something that a child has such experience with as taste. But you need to give her what's needed to help her recognise the difference between major and minor. I don't just mean happy/sad. (Anyone who's ever played any Schubert will know that some of the most poignant moments in his music are when it changes from minor to major, not the reverse.)

Yes, there's plenty to _teach_ here.
It's not simply a matter of recognising the sound of major/minor. Have you worked on recognising what goes to make up the sound of a minor/major chord? Can she tell the first 3 notes of a major scale from the first 3 notes of a minor scale? Does she know about major and minor 3rds? That is, are you sure you've been giving her the tools to work out whether it's major or minor? Does she have tunes in her repertoire that are strongly major/minor? Would she know if you played a simple, well-known major key tune in the minor? Or a minor key tune in the major?

Believe me, I know what an uphill battle working with some kids can be. But in all my years teaching 5-12 year-olds in the school system I don't think I ever came across a child who couldn't make some progress with pitch perception.

Re: Teaching Ear Training to the Tone Deaf
AZNpiano #2839659 04/15/19 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by malkin
Is the prosody of her spontaneous conversation typical? Can she imitate various prosodic contours when speaking?

Huh?


Does she sound like a normal person when she talks? Native speakers of US English raise pitch at the end of a question and lower pitch at the end of a statement. We change pitch and stress in various ways for emphasis (GET that ball (don't just watch it); Get THAT ball (not the other one); Get that BALL (not that bell))

Native speakers of other languages do other cool things with tone, pitch, stress, vowel duration, etc. Does she sound like other people or does she sound like an artificial voice?


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Re: Teaching Ear Training to the Tone Deaf
AZNpiano #2839663 04/15/19 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Let's put it this way....

If you were teaching this girl words to associate with the sense of smell....

You show her chocolate. She smells it. You tell her this is chocolate.

You show her lemon. She smells it. You tell her this is lemon.......

Currawong gave a better response than I would. The analogy seems wrong for a number of reasons. But her response says it better than what I might write. In addition, the things that I have written so far seem to have not been gone into so far, and I'm afraid the same would happen again. I am very interested in any thoughts on your colleague's input. wink

Re: Teaching Ear Training to the Tone Deaf
currawong #2839699 04/15/19 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by currawong
I don't think I ever came across a child who couldn't make some progress with pitch perception.


I agree that almost anyone can make progress with almost anything, but sometimes the increments of progress are so small and the rate of progress is so slow that the game isn't worth the candle, in other words the progress lacks social validity, or in other words the minute amount of progress isn't worth the enormous sustained effort that it required and everyone involved would have done better to focus on something else.


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Re: Teaching Ear Training to the Tone Deaf
Tyrone Slothrop #2839700 04/15/19 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop


Let me guess- you specialize in learning disabilities in Real Lifeâ„¢? thumb


You're quite the gambler, aren't you? wink


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Re: Teaching Ear Training to the Tone Deaf
malkin #2839723 04/16/19 12:00 AM
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Originally Posted by malkin
Originally Posted by currawong
I don't think I ever came across a child who couldn't make some progress with pitch perception.


I agree that almost anyone can make progress with almost anything, but sometimes the increments of progress are so small and the rate of progress is so slow that the game isn't worth the candle, in other words the progress lacks social validity, or in other words the minute amount of progress isn't worth the enormous sustained effort that it required and everyone involved would have done better to focus on something else.


Very well said. Which brings us back to whether she can pass the exam without this ability and whether it is worth it to work more on it.

Re: Teaching Ear Training to the Tone Deaf
outo #2839802 04/16/19 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by outo
Originally Posted by malkin
Originally Posted by currawong
I don't think I ever came across a child who couldn't make some progress with pitch perception.


I agree that almost anyone can make progress with almost anything, but sometimes the increments of progress are so small and the rate of progress is so slow that the game isn't worth the candle, in other words the progress lacks social validity, or in other words the minute amount of progress isn't worth the enormous sustained effort that it required and everyone involved would have done better to focus on something else.


Very well said. Which brings us back to whether she can pass the exam without this ability and whether it is worth it to work more on it.


Yep.
And it sounds like her efforts have been kind of lackluster overall. If the student is interested and committed to improving, then it makes sense to explore all avenues to help her improve. But it sounds like she just needs to get through the exam, so it's probably best to help her do that.


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Re: Teaching Ear Training to the Tone Deaf
pianist_lady #2839823 04/16/19 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by pianist_lady
Originally Posted by outo
Very well said. Which brings us back to whether she can pass the exam without this ability and whether it is worth it to work more on it.

Yep.
And it sounds like her efforts have been kind of lackluster overall. If the student is interested and committed to improving, then it makes sense to explore all avenues to help her improve. But it sounds like she just needs to get through the exam, so it's probably best to help her do that.

In comparison with the exam system mentioned by the OP, I was curious what percentage of the overall test score the aural component was in the international piano exams, RCM, ABRSM and Trinity, so I just looked it up:
  • RCM: aural 10% (10 out of 100, of which 60 are needed to pass)
  • ABRSM: aural 12% (18 out of 150, of which 100 are needed to pass)
  • Trinity: aural is always only one of several supporting options and no student need ever take an aural exam for any of the levels if they don't want to

I'm curious what percentage of the overall possible points on the prospective exam of the OP's student is aural and if it might not be better to focus on components of the exam, such are repertoire with the assumption the OP's student will get a zero on the aural component. For example, in comparison with the 18 points for aural, 90 of 150 points for ABRSM are for playing, while for RCM, up to 80 of 100 points are for playing (pieces + études). Depending on how the prospective exam of the OP's student is organized, it's possible, the most effective exam coaching scheme will just focus on having the student become even better at playing and pay short shrift to the aural part.


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Re: Teaching Ear Training to the Tone Deaf
pianist_lady #2839837 04/16/19 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by pianist_lady
But it sounds like she just needs to get through the exam, so it's probably best to help her do that.


"Need" is a funny word, because these days it seems that it can mean a bunch of things, like "wants" (she and her family do want) --- I always think of its first meaning, which is necessity. You're not saying, as a teacher, that as part of her learning and growth as a student, it is necessary for her to get through the exam, are you? But rather that since she has committed to this thing, as unwise as it probably is, she just has to get through it, right?

Re: Teaching Ear Training to the Tone Deaf
Tyrone Slothrop #2839850 04/16/19 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Depending on how the prospective exam of the OP's student is organized, it's possible, the most effective exam coaching scheme will just focus on having the student become even better at playing and pay short shrift to the aural part.



And in the process, the student has learned an actually valuable life skill.


gotta go practice
Re: Teaching Ear Training to the Tone Deaf
TimR #2839864 04/16/19 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by TimR
And in the process, the student has learned an actually valuable life skill.


How do you figure? wink

Re: Teaching Ear Training to the Tone Deaf
keystring #2839990 04/16/19 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by TimR
And in the process, the student has learned an actually valuable life skill.


How do you figure? wink


Set priorities?
Allocate available resources?


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