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#963756 - 07/16/08 08:37 PM Beginner Ear Training  
Joined: Aug 2007
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pianoexcellence Offline
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Abbotsford, BC, Canada
I would love to discuss ear training for the absolute beginner, and also training the ear of transfer students who have very undeveloped ears.


What exercises do you use?

I only have one beginner right now, and I am sometimes at a loss on how to teach ear at this level.

So to all of you who build students up with a solid ear right from the beginning...HOW DO YOU DO IT

I am ready to take notes.

-P-


Music is the surest path to excellence

Jeremy BA, ARCT, RMT
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#963757 - 07/16/08 11:58 PM Re: Beginner Ear Training  
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John v.d.Brook Offline
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Jeremy, I will confess that I probably don't do enough, but this is one part of my monthly group lesson.

I do both a chalk talk and sit at the piano. I rotate through a number of exercises.

- Major/minor, both 3rds and triads. (this is actually very hard for many students)

- Intervals and whole/half steps.

- Chords, root or inversion (and which inversion).

This is pretty much all I do.

John

PS I'll be thinking of you and Norbert in a couple of weeks, as we head for Whistler. cool yippie


"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA
#963758 - 07/17/08 12:07 AM Re: Beginner Ear Training  
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currawong Offline
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Down Under
I do lots of ear training "games" with my little beginners - imitation, improvisation, answering phrases, rhythm games. I also do sight singing - we play a game called "The piano's not working" where they finger a little tune (maybe CDE for starters) and because the piano's not working, they sing the tune instead. It's amazing how confident they get with this when you do it often.
I probably could do more with my older beginners - it's somehow easier to do it as games with the littlies. I sometimes get bogged down concentrating on the aural requirements for exams with the older ones.


Du holde Kunst...
#963759 - 07/17/08 11:34 AM Re: Beginner Ear Training  
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pianoexcellence Offline
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Thanks CW----"piano's not working" Will use this today.

John,

Coming to whistler to pump some greenbacks into our economy? WELCOME!

I go to whistler all the time. Where are your staying? If you are going for the first time let me know if you need any food/lodging picks.


Music is the surest path to excellence

Jeremy BA, ARCT, RMT
Pianoexcellence Tuning and Repairs
#963760 - 07/17/08 11:38 AM Re: Beginner Ear Training  
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John v.d.Brook Offline
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Jeremy, a close friend has a time share just at the foot of the big lift. It's REALLY, REALLY nice! He invites us up once every few years. I'm hoping the road construction along the inlet is nearly finished.

John


"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA
#963761 - 07/17/08 11:41 AM Re: Beginner Ear Training  
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John v.d.Brook Offline
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CW, I like your ideas. I'll try to incorporate them into regular lessons. Thanks.


"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA
#963762 - 07/17/08 12:11 PM Re: Beginner Ear Training  
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Karisofia Offline
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I like the "piano's not working idea." I'm working on some aural skills with some students and finding that singing basic patterns in different keys really opens their ears to the sounds.


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#963763 - 07/17/08 12:28 PM Re: Beginner Ear Training  
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This is a link to a website for ear training. It starts with all intervals “on” but you can remove or add intervals to your study by clicking on the check marks. There is also an option for hearing the intervals up or down or played together.

http://musictheory.net/trainers/html/id90_en.html

This is the corrected link to the recent discussion in ABF.

http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/32/6842.html


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#963764 - 07/17/08 02:23 PM Re: Beginner Ear Training  
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I cover both pitch and rhythm ear training at nearly every lesson. For absolute beginners, particularly the young ones, it's important to start out easy. For rhythm this means clapping a steady tempo. For pitch I will play one note and then either a second note or the same note repeated and then ask the student if the first and second note were the same or different. Once they can answer this question easily we move onto identifying which of the two notes is higher. For this I begin with very wide intervals and progress to smaller intervals near middle C, and then small intervals at the extremes of the keyboard. Once a student is successful at this level they are ready to begin learning to differentiate distances.

For harmony I like to begin with full major and minor triads. This seems to be easier for most students than major and minor thirds in isolation.

For melody I start with the first three notes of the major scale. I play a melody beginning on the first note and ask the student which note I ended on. This exercise is then expanded to the first four and five notes, then the leading tone below the root, and finally the sixth. The leading tone seems to be fairly easy for most students so I may change the order and start introducing it after the first three notes.

Also lots of imitation, add on (more for memory, but helps the ear too), improvisation (the blues is great for this), and so on.


Jazz pianist and teacher.

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#963765 - 07/17/08 05:45 PM Re: Beginner Ear Training  
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Morodiene Offline
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What I love to do with beginners is have them pick a song that they want to learn, something they've heard on the radio. If they're young, I might have them do a well-known folk song, or Happy Birthday. We sign it together, and then I help them figure out how it should go as they sing it. You would not believe how obsessive the kids (and adults) will get about it! They will literally spend hours at home trying to get it right, and not only that, they are working on perfecting their ability to play based on what they hear. Improvisation works really well in this as well, but I don't know how much improv students will do at home no matter how much I encourage, so I usually do that in the lesson, and have them play a song by ear at home.

When they are at the point where they're learning chords, then I introduce them to the 12 bar blues progression, where they can improvise a RH melody over any numbers of blues accompaniments. All of these things can help develop their ear and their listening as they play.


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#963766 - 07/18/08 01:15 PM Re: Beginner Ear Training  
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AZNpiano Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by currawong:
I do lots of ear training "games" with my little beginners - imitation, improvisation, answering phrases, rhythm games. I also do sight singing - we play a game called "The piano's not working" where they finger a little tune (maybe CDE for starters) and because the piano's not working, they sing the tune instead. It's amazing how confident they get with this when you do it often.
Okay, I'm stealing this one. I agree--older kids absolutely refuse to sing.


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#963767 - 07/18/08 02:18 PM Re: Beginner Ear Training  
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keystring Offline
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Is it ok to add another angle even if I don't teach a musical instrument?

Currently in the volunteer teaching of basic theory to one person we're working on the basic intervals, the majors and perfects and then minors. Doing head work on paper alone is meaningless. We're on different continents.

I've assigned listening exercises. One interval is the "star interval" of the day, starting with M3, P4, P5. You listen to that interval, play it a lot, anticipate it (play C and imagine the sound of a pitch that makes it a major third, sing it, compare).

Start listening for intervals wherever you are. Can you recognize some? Do you recognize a M3 in your favourite music or what you are playing? (car horns are major 3). What mood or quality do they evoke? When I was asked how long one does such listening, I answered "a lifetime".

The very first feedback was interesting. Order of pleasantness in hearing was P5, P4, Maj3, with no way no how of being able to find a Maj2 or min 2 pleasant.

Up to the level of my knowledge we could chat about why they were perceived that way, that it has significance in how music is composed.

The "environmental listening" is an assignment my son had in one of his early years in the high school arts program. I got into the habit because it's fun.

Has anyone noticed children mimicking sirens, and the sound of a car speeding by as the pitch rises and falls? Many seem to mimick accurately, meaning their ears are able to hear quite well.

#963768 - 07/18/08 02:41 PM Re: Beginner Ear Training  
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Morodiene Offline
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I generally have songs that are known by most people that being with certain intervals: P5-Twinkle Twinkle, M3-Michael Rode the Boat Ashore, or When the Saints Go Marching In, M2-Happy Birthday, P4-Here Comes the Bride, M6-My Bonny Lies Over the Ocean, although I don't have a good one for M7 except for Bali H'ai from South Pacific, which goes up an octave then down a half step. For m7 I use A Place For Us from West Side Story. There are others I have written down somewhere.


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#963769 - 07/18/08 02:49 PM Re: Beginner Ear Training  
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If your going down that road don't forget Love Story for the m6.


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#963770 - 07/18/08 04:44 PM Re: Beginner Ear Training  
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Morodiene Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
If your going down that road don't forget Love Story for the m6.
Right! thumb


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#963771 - 07/18/08 11:48 PM Re: Beginner Ear Training  
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The Simpsons opening three notes for tritone (A4 or d5)

"Maria" from West Side Story, also tritone

This Old Man for m3

Nothing tonal starts on M7. If you count going up an octave and down m2, then try "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" from The Wizard of Oz.


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#963772 - 07/23/08 12:31 PM Re: Beginner Ear Training  
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Karisofia Offline
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Wisconsin
Quote
Originally posted by AZNpiano:
I agree--older kids absolutely refuse to sing.
Yes, I have dealt with this. I got one student to do it by just insisting she match a single pitch (around middle C). When she could do this on her own and would do it without groaning first wink , I added singing a descending minor third. Obviously, this requires a good understanding of how far a particular student can be pushed out of his/her comfort zone.


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#963773 - 07/23/08 03:56 PM Re: Beginner Ear Training  
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A very good book on this subject is called "Hearing and Writing Music," by Ron Gorow.

He says that you should first learn the perfect fifth and perfect fourth inside out before you progress to 2ds and 3ds.

He doesn't place any stock in associating the intervals with common songs because he says that you are only learning the interval as it occurs in a specific tonality. For example, if you learn the perfect fifth as do-so, then you won't recognize it when it is mee-tee or fa-do.

I'm working through it and I think he's correct.

The book is available on Amazon.com and I recommend it.


Live Music Is Best
#963774 - 07/23/08 06:29 PM Re: Beginner Ear Training  
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currawong Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by AZNpiano:
If you count going up an octave and down m2, then try "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" from The Wizard of Oz.
Or Bali Ha'i from South Pacific


Du holde Kunst...
#963775 - 07/25/08 12:36 AM Re: Beginner Ear Training  
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Pete the bean Offline
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Solfege makes a lot more sense to me than interval training. Just completed Contemporary ear training by Mark Harrison. My dictation skills are way up because of it.
A quote from Bert Ligon in his book "Jazz Theory Resources" sums it up for me: " There are those who advocate learning intervals independently first, then trying to hear melodies listening to the intervals related to adjacent pitches. This is not the way tonal music works and trying to learn to hear this way will only cause frustration and waste time."
I wish someone had told me that a long time ago.

#963776 - 07/30/08 12:26 PM Re: Beginner Ear Training  
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Karisofia Offline
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Pete,

Can you supply more info on that book? I only find Harrison's Contemporary Music Theory series.


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#963777 - 07/30/08 01:09 PM Re: Beginner Ear Training  
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For people that can't, or won't, or hate to sing...you might see if they can whistle.

The most musical thing my mom did was whistle a lot (in tune, amazingly enough, she must have a pretty good ear after all). I picked it up too. I whistle a *lot*. Never thought about the fact that it's considered a 'masculine' thing to do until a little old lady made the comment she had heard me whistling and was surprised to see a girl!

Of course the range of pitch will be relatively high compared to singing. But it's a good way to practice and make sure you know exactly how a piece sounds...


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#963778 - 07/31/08 02:08 PM Re: Beginner Ear Training  
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Contemporary eartraining Hal Leonard publisher HL00220012. You will probably need to order the CD for the examples and test available at www.harrisonmusic.com

#963779 - 08/03/08 05:59 PM Re: Beginner Ear Training  
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Karisofia Offline
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Thank you!


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#963780 - 08/04/08 01:59 AM Re: Beginner Ear Training  
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Quote
Originally posted by currawong:
I do lots of ear training "games" with my little beginners - imitation, improvisation, answering phrases, rhythm games. I also do sight singing - we play a game called "The piano's not working" where they finger a little tune (maybe CDE for starters) and because the piano's not working, they sing the tune instead. It's amazing how confident they get with this when you do it often.
I probably could do more with my older beginners - it's somehow easier to do it as games with the littlies. I sometimes get bogged down concentrating on the aural requirements for exams with the older ones.
Do you have any openings!?

I would love to take lessons from you Curra... sounds so fun. Great idea.


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#963781 - 08/04/08 02:03 AM Re: Beginner Ear Training  
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I teach to play only from ear first, by listening to the pieces they will be learning, singing in solfege, and then playing/learning them on the piano. This way they have to rely on their ears to learn all of their repertoire at the beginning. We refer to the notes, singing to the music, after the pieces are learned.


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