Easy Ear Training Interview

Easy Ear Training is one of the web’s finest resources dedicated to ear training. They recently asked to interview me for their wonderful site. They asked detailed questions about the ear training and general musicianship topics that will be most helpful to students and I did my best to answer in detail. Here is the link to the interview. Read more »

Interval Ear Training

Question: How can you learn to recognize intervals by ear? Albert’s reply: There are several methods of interval ear training. The most common is to associate common melodies to each interval. For example, “Happy Birthday” may be used to recognize an ascending major second, “Amazing Grace” an ascending perfect fourth, and so on. However, there is a major problem with this method: It works only for “naked” intervals, meaning intervals outside of a musical context. Read more »

Essential Ear Training

There is one ear training skill that every musician and every music student, including absolute beginners, must develop. It should be done from the very beginning of music study and is a suitable exercise for the first lesson and to test a new student’s overall musicality. This skill makes all future ear training and musicianship work possible for both student and teacher. Without it, the teacher cannot guide the student’s progress in the critical area of ear training, the most essential aspect of musicianship. Read more »

Solfège: An Introduction

Doe, a deer… Solfège is a system for singing notes. If you’re familiar with the famous Rogers and Hammerstein song “Do-Re-Mi” from The Sound of Music, you already know the solfège note names: do, re, mi, fa, sol, la and ti. A Brief History The first and last syllables have variants which are a matter of custom: In France, ut is sometimes used in place of do. (ut is rare, so we’ll ignore it here. Read more »

Atonal Dictation

Question: An atonal dictation question is part of the exam I’m preparing for. Do you have any advice on how to prepare for it? I really don’t know how I’m supposed to write down an almost random series of notes… Thanks for your help in advance. Albert’s reply: Unlike tonal dictation, in which you can train yourself to recognize a note’s position within the scale, atonal music has no tonic that functions as an aural center of gravity. Read more »

Chord Ear Training

Question: How can I readily identify any chord when played? Timothy (Nigeria) Albert’s reply: The first step in chord ear training is to learn to identify the basic types of chords, starting with triads in root position. Since a triad is composed of two stacked thirds and each of those thirds can be either major (M3 = major third) or minor (m3 = minor third), there are a total of four possible permutations: M3+m3 (major triad), m3+M3 (minor triad), m3+m3 (diminished triad) and M3+M3 (augmented triad): Read more »

Ear Training

Is your musical brain “wired” backwards? Our brains naturally navigate towards what we assume is the easiest way to accomplish any given task. But what if I told you that what might seem easiest right now might actually crippling your musical efforts in the long term? And that you might actually be damaging your efforts to learn music? If you struggle to learn music, if you can’t hear music you’ve never played or heard in your “mind’s ear,” if you can’t recognize essential harmonies, then you’re missing the most crucial aspect of learning music: ear training. Read more »

Ear Training and Singing

Question: Good day Albert, I am currently practicing for my Grade 8 UNISA examination. I am not struggling with all the ear training exercises. As a matter of fact, I can easily distinguish between major, minor, recognizing the key, the rhythms, etc. I do however struggle when my teacher plays for example a note and says to sing 6 notes higher or lower. I can sing pretty well, and I have been in choirs before, but when I stand there and I have to sing that specific note, I am completely frozen and I sound horrible! Read more »

Ear Training for Non-Singers

Question: Actually I am a dance student, but I know my inner ear could use training—just to be a better listener. What kind of inner ear training exercises might I practice to start? (Those few times that I’ve heard that inner ear communication with myself, it was awesome!) P.S. Thanks for an amazing site—u rock dude! Gianna (United States) Albert’s reply: Thanks for your kind words about the site, Gianna! Read more »

Ear Training in Daily Piano Practice

Question: Hello! What are your suggestions for how I could ear train during my daily piano regimen? Currently, I am simply memorizing the c4-c5 C Major range on the piano, but as you could imagine, it is very boring. Any suggestions would be great! Thanks in advance and your work is excellent. Brandon (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA) Albert’s reply: Thanks for writing and for your kind compliment, Brandon. It sounds like you’re at the beginning of your studies. Read more »