Ear Training Guided Tour

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Ear Training Guided Tour

Ear Training Guided Tour

I’d like discuss in this Ear Training Guided Tour the courses that are available at Muse Eek Publishing Inc.

There are many methods of ear training; some work some do not. We have found that the most popular ear training method i.e. the use of “intervals” will not help you to develop the skills you need as an improvising musician. Instead, we have found that an approach we call Contextual Ear Training will help you develop the skill to hear pitches. This method is based on hearing notes in relation to a “Key Center.” This important distinction will make all the difference in your ability.

First, doing ear training in the right way is absolutely crucial and will determine how quickly you improve. At muse-eek.com we have created many products to help musicians develop great ears. Along with discussing these methods below, we give recommendations on how to work through our products for the best results.

As mentioned we call our method “Contextual Ear Training.” Let’s look at some things involved in this approach:

1. Improvement in ear training comes through listening and singing. Obviously listening is basic but we have found that students improve faster if they also work on singing exercises. Since improvisational and compositional skills come from the same place in our mind, working on singing is extremely useful.

2. In order to improve ones ear training it is necessary to work on two aspects of memory; the short-term and the permanent capacity. Overall you need to first get a sound into your short term memory and then with repetition it will go into your permanent memory. This is why throughout this method we recommend doing the ear training exercises many times throughout the day to build your memory of the sound.

3. Since we believe that you learn in one “context” at a time you will need to change up your “context” in order to use our ear training in the many situations that come up when you are playing music in real time. For instance the exercise in ”Ear Training One Note Complete” where you hear a cadence, note and then a pitch is a great exercise but it’s only one of the many ways you might hear a note played that you need to identify. We therefore introduce many other books to change up the “context” so that a student can develop their skills in allthese different “contexts.”

4. In order to make ear training useful in a real musical situation you have to have instant access to it, so speed is important. When doing our ear training exercises we always recommend guessing the first thing that comes into your mind. If you over analyze an answer you will develop a habit of thinking too much which in turn slow down your ear training. It’s best to just react and not “think” too much. Although this might feel like you are just guessing, over time your accuracy will improve. Remember music happens in “real time” so you need an instantaneous reaction in order for ear training to be useful. This is why creating schemes in your head where you count intervals –or whatever– will never work when you are “in the moment” and need to know what notes are being played.

If you purchase a book from muse-eek.com you will have access to the author Bruce Arnold to answer any questions that might pop up as you work. You can find out more information on various aspects of our ear training products by reading our FAQs.

There are two books that we most commonly recommend to begin working on our ear training: (We recommend digital download for all books mentioned in this blog.) You will find the physical copy also available on each page.)

First we have the listening side of the ear training which is contained in the book Ear Training One Note Complete Book which also contains 3 CDs worth of audio. Each CD has the same exercise but is twice as fast because you need to first develop your recognition of each note within a key center and then you need to speed up the process. Many students with prior musical background start with the intermediate level and move up to the advanced level once they get 80% correct answers. The beginning level is of course recommended for beginning music students but also for those who start at the Intermediate level but find the speed is to intense. We recommend listening to the exercises at least 5X a day for 10 minutes; Obviously the more the better.

For the singing side of things we recommend starting with the book Contextual Ear Training. This book contains 300 audio files that have you sing a note after hearing a cadence in a major or minor key. You will then hear the correct answer. This type of exercise can also be found in the Fanatic’s Guide to Sight Singing and Ear Training which we will talk about shortly. The major difference between the Contextual ear training files and the exercises in Fanatic’s Guide is you hear the answer from the audio file while with the Fanatic’s Guide you have to play the answer on an instrument. Obviously hearing the answer from the audio file allows you to work on this singing method anywhere. Again you want to listen to the exercises at least 5X a day for 10 minutes.

Because we always learn in the “context” that we practice you want to diversify the type of exercises you do as soon as possible. We recommend that when you reach around 50% correct answers in Ear Training One Note, you start working with “Direct Application Ear Training Volume One.” Basically you have the same “one note” exercise but now you are doing it with real music. We also often recommend starting the “Instrumental Color Series” which gives you again the same “one note exercise” but is played by another instrument. Again our mind needs to change the “context” by hearing the sound on a different instrument. It’s important to realize that with the “Direct Application Ear Training” you can use your instrument and play along with the tracks. This again gives you another “context” because now you are improvising and playing your instrument while you are doing the ear training. There are also additional Direct Application Ear Training products such as the “Direct Application Book.” and the “Direct Application CDs” which will help you apply the ear training to many different kinds of real time, live situations.

The Ear Training Guided Tour Next Step

We haven’t yet spoken about doing melodic ear training. When you are getting over 50% correct answers on the Ear Training One Note Complete audio files or the Contextual Ear Training exercises it is time to start the “2 Note Melodic Ear Training.”

Once you are getting around 80% with the “Contextual Ear Training” you can move on to the second singing book Fanatic’s Guide to Sight Singing and Ear Training. You could also add in the “Secondary Dominants” book. This book shows you how to hear chord progressions in one key center which is essential to understanding how you should think and hear music when you are playing. We can’t over emphasis the importance of this book. It’s also a great way to apply the melodic minor ascending scales so commonly used in contemporary improvisation.

Key Note Recognition will be the next level after you are getting 80% correct on the Ear Training One Note Complete Advanced audio files. Because again we are moving to another “context” it can be a tough going for a student, but over time you will get the correct answers.

There are many additional singing exercises in the Fanatic’s Guide to Sight Singing and Ear Training. Most important is the singing exercise found on page 17. Once you have mastered this exercise you can move on to the Key Retention Builder. Key Retention Builder concentrates on improving your short term memory of a key center which is important for working on all the ear training levels that will follow.

Ear Training Guided Tour Final Steps

When you have completed Key Note Recognition the Ear Training Guided Tour moves to a lot of other books that take you to the next level. These books will help you to hear chords, melodies and modulations.

1. Ear Training Two Note Complete is the beginning of developing your ability to hear two note chords and developing the ability to modulate.

2. “Melodic Ear Training.” with two or more notes will obviously help to you to identify the notes you hear in melodies and with our graduated study you can slowly build up your recognition skills.

3. Ear Training Three Note Direct Application uses uses the Arpeggiation of three notes to again put the ear training into another “context.”

4. Very commonly we get students who want to sing in choirs. The Lines Volume One: Sight Reading and Sight Singing Exercises is an excellent book for learning part singing.

There is an additional level for the Ear Training Two Note Complete. The Ear Training Two Note Advanced Volumes gives you harder two note combinations to prepare you for the next level.

As you can see this is quite an involved series of books. But we are almost through, and when you have made it this far you aural comprehension will be totally on another plain. Recognizing how you hear chord progressions and how you hear melodies is how you will decide what scales to use when improvising. This is just one of many benefits you will have with this ear training program.

We have created two series of levels after the Ear Training Two Note Series:

1. Ear Training Three Note Volumes containing 5 volumes.

2. Ear Training Four Note Volumes containing 5 volumes.

This completes our Contextual Ear Training offerings. Next we have the Perfect Pitch Training.

Other Ear Training Courses

“Perfect Pitch Ear Training” is a completely different kind of ear training. You learn perfect pitch on one instrument at a time and in most cases you can learn one instrument in about 2 years of study when you work approximately 1 hour a day.

There are few more things we should mention. One is that your knowledge of music theory gets to be more and more important as you work into higher levels of ear training. We have some books to help students gain a better knowledge of music theory through the use of workbooks that require you to fill in answers to music theory questions. Remember music theory needs to be as quick as your ear training skills so that you can find the note you hear on your instrument in short order. We would recommend the following books:

For guitarists:

1. Music Theory Workbook for Guitar:Volume One or Music Theory Workbook V1 Video Course

2. Music Theory Workbook for Guitar:Volume Two

3. Music Theory Interval Recognition

For other instrumentalists:

1. Music Theory Workbook for All Instruments: Volume One

2. Music Theory Interval Recognition

We have also created a series of videos to help you understand the whole process of ear training

25 Tips for Developing a Master Musician’s Ear

Our latest creation is a practice tool that combines a metronome with a drone so that you can do ear training as you practice your instrument. This is called the MetroDrone which we highly recommend as a way to practice and improve your ear at the same time.

And of course we haven’t mentioned Rhythm ear training. We have two courses. First we have the Rhythm Ear Training Series that is really unique because along with getting a visual answer to each exercise you get the answer verbally. With this addition you can do rhythm ear training anywhere. We also have a video course called Rhythm Ear Training Video Course which helps you apply rhythm.

Overall the skill of Ear Training in all it’s different aspects is key to becoming a great musician. We have many more products on our website that can help musicians learn. We encourage you to come by and of course email us if you have any questions.

Bruce Arnold Music Education Genealogy Chart

You might enjoy checking out the “Music Education Genealogy Chart” located on my artist’s site. You will clearly see the historic progression of pedagogy that is the basis for Muse Eek Publishing Products. Great musicians throughout history have been studying the ideas presented by Muse-eek.com which derives its content from a a lineage that stretches back to Scarlatti!

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Ear Training For Young People

Guitarist Bruce Arnold BLOG Logo music education ear training course ear training Ear Training For Young People

Ear Training For Young People

Ear Training For Young People

I frequently get parents contacting me about teaching ear training to their children. The only way I have found this to work is for the parent to do the ear training with the child. Keep in mind that most likely your child will outpace you, so try to keep your spirits up. 🙂 This ear training method is entirely about using your short term memory to learn, and there are several reasons why children usually take to it more easily.

A child learns faster because they are not burdened with all the baggage that older people have when learning something new. That is, young children usually don’t have layers of referential information built into their learning process and that condition helps them absorb memory based things more quickly. A child also uses his or her short term memory better mainly because it’s one of the first learning tools they develop. They are information sponges from the get-go.

Ear Training For Young People Problems

One of the main problems adults have in learning ear training is understanding that they should not be relating the sound they are hearing consciously to anything else. I know that seems to go against what I’ve written before in FAQs for these books but there is a subtle difference. Usually I would say that when you guess a note or sing a note you are relating it to the “key center” via the chord progression cadence you hear before answering. This is still true but don’t obsess on the key center; the key center is there as a matter of course, because you’ve learned it just the way you learn how to identify color. You see color all the time but most of the time you don’t think about it. If you left the room you’re in right now and were quizzed about the various colors of objects in the room you most likely would be able to answer correctly. It’s the same with ear training so you need to trust that after hearing the cadence you are in a key center and not concentrate on holding the “root” of the key center in your mind or trying to hear each note within the cadence. Remember if you were unable to hear key centers music would sound like random noise so everyone can hear a key center though often their key center retention is weak.

Adults (as opposed to kids) tend to get upset when they don’t get the correct answer for an exercise. This comes from years of being taught that the right answer is “good” and the wrong answer is “bad.” A child usually hasn’t had decades of this type of programming so they just answer right away because they are not scared about getting it wrong and they don’t get as upset when they miss an answer. (Assuming a patient and loving parent.) On the other hand an older person can get quite upset if they listen to 20 ear training examples and get none of them right. This can set off self defeating thoughts like “I suck,” “I’ll never be a great musician.” Then, as a protection mechanism, the brain releases chemical reactions to protect our minds as we get more and more upset. These protective chemical reactions help us forget these situations, which is exactly what you don’t want to happen because this ear training is again all about building up a short term memory of what a pitch sounds like, until through repetition these sounds go into your permanent memory. So it’s truly important to keep a positive frame of mind when doing the ear training. If you get upset, just stop and wait until you are in a better, happier state of mind.

Kids love games and they also love doing things with their parents –especially if they do better than their parents! So make the ear training a daily situation where you bond with your child and also teach them a valuable skill and as an added bonus your musicianship is also improved. Below is an email I received from a parent about her experience with her child and some of the added benefits she received from the ear training.

Ear Training For Young People Email

Dear Mr. Arnold, it has been several months since I updated you with the progress made by my 7 year old son and me. We started One Note Intermediate and Contextual Ear Training in late January 2010. We can both name all seven diatonic notes with accuracy and speed, and the non-diatonics are starting to stick. We can both sing 1, 2,3,4,5, and 7 and some 6’s. We are currently working on 6.

Just last week, I was admitted into our church liturgical choir. Admittance is based on passage of quite a few skill tests, including sight reading 4 unfamiliar hymns, perfectly. Before I started your program, sight reading seemed an impossibility. During the sight reading test, I was singing a hymn in an unfamiliar key signature (I need more theory work) and I sang a 4 when I should have sung a 5 (having guessed at the key degree, but not the pitch). But, the very next note was a lower 6, and I jumped down to it solidly and continued on from there. The proctor commented how solid I was getting back on melody on the six. She said that in her experience once a person gets off, they have real trouble getting back on the melody. Of course you know why…jumping around based on interval distances has its drawbacks, but I knew what a 6 sounded like, so I was able to jump right to it, no matter what the distance!

By the way, the proctor and everyone else knows all about you and your programs. When I entered the prep choir three years ago, I had trouble even discriminating between a higher and lower pitch. The Choir Director heard me sing recently and his comment was “Your pitch matching has really improved!” I said, “thanks to Bruce Arnold!”

Below are links to the books I would start with for a child. I’ve given both digital downloads and physical book links. Remember the digital links give you a PDF and MP3s; the physical book links give you a physical book and CDs.

Digital Downloads with PDF and MP3s

EarTraining One Note Intermediate Book and MP3s
Contextual Ear Training bundle Book and 4 CDs of MP3s

Physical Book with CD(s)

Ear Training: One Note-Intermediate Level

Contextual Ear Training Memorizing Sound Through Singing

Bruce Arnold Music Education Genealogy Chart

You might enjoy checking out the “Music Education Genealogy Chart” located on my artist’s site. You will clearly see the historic progression of pedagogy that is the basis for Muse Eek Publishing Products. Great musicians throughout history have been studying the ideas presented by Muse-eek.com which derives its content from a a lineage that stretches back to Scarlatti!

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Asher Electro Hawaiian Slide and new Duet Group

Guitarist Bruce Arnold BLOG Logo jazz guitar Bruce-Arnold-Guitar-Flutterby-24 Guitarist Bruce Arnold BLOG Logo music education Guitar Intensive Workshop The Music Rhythm Series Time Transformation Music Rhythm Series Course Asher Electro Hawaiian Slide

Asher Electro Hawaiian Slide

Asher Electro Hawaiian Slide Uses

Recently Dave Schroeder and myself started a duo project where we both play instruments that are not our main axe. Dave, usually a saxophone player, is playing Blues Harmonica and I’m playing my new Asher Electro Hawaiian Slide.

This has been quite a challenge for both of us. The harmonica has many idiosyncrasies and the slide guitar has no frets so intonation is of great concern as is the adjustment to the limits of playing with a steel bar. I’ve created practice regimens to deal with these new challenges but the purpose of this post is to just let you see my new Asher Electro Hawaiian Slide , experience some of the music and a small glimpse into some of the theory behind the composition.

The composition is called Windies (which is a midwest slang for “tall tales.)

Here is a rough mix of the tune:
Windies

Asher Electro Hawaiian Slide Meets Pitch Class Sets

Windies is a simple composition with a bass line outlining a C-7 sound and a bridge of simple flat 6, to flat 7 to “one” chord and finally a iv minor at end. The bass line is of particular interest because it is made up of two 025’s:

Bb, C, Eb
G, F, D

For those of you not familiar with integer notation an 025 is just a three note group of notes where there is a whole step and a fourth. You can see that the bass line is composed of these two groups found above. I’ve been studying these three note groups for almost 20 years now. I’ve spent a lot of time on:

013
014
015
016
025
026
027

I’m now turned my attention to 025. I usually spend at least a year on each group, sometimes much more time as in the case of 013 where I’ve been writing compositions with this group for over 10 years.

Hope you enjoy the composition. It has been quite a challenge to learn the Asher Electro Hawaiian Slide and to play and solo on it in a duo situation. We are hoping to have our CD done by the end of the month so look out for more information soon.

Bruce Arnold Music Education Genealogy Chart

You might enjoy checking out the “Music Education Genealogy Chart” located on my artist’s site. You will clearly see the historic progression of pedagogy that is the basis for Muse Eek Publishing Products. Great musicians throughout history have been studying the ideas presented by Muse-eek.com which derives its content from a a lineage that stretches back to Scarlatti!

Bruce-Arnold-Guitar-Flutterby-10-1 Asher Electro Hawaiian Slide

Example of Chord Spellings in 12 Tone Tune

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chord spellings

Below is a chart of a composition recorded on my 1st CD Blue Eleven called Variation 1. You can also find a detail analysis along with a recording of this tune in the book:

MY MUSIC: Explorations in the Application of 12 Tone Techniques to Jazz Composition and Improvisation

This tune uses 015 (half step and a 4th) as it’s basic building block. I play this composition both as a solo guitar piece and with a trio. If you take an 015 and move up in minor 3rds you get all 12 notes:

E, B, D#
G, D, F#
Bb, F, A
C#, G#, C

Chord Spellings

Notice the chord spellings in this piece. I really tried to let the musicians know exactly what was going on via the chord symbols. This can get very tricky to anticipate what works best but usually a chord symbol is preferred by jazz musicians. The chord symbol gives them a basic idea of the sound you are playing.

The MP3 below is from the solo version of Variation 1. The rhythms are simplified but notes are the same. Hear Trio version in the My Music Book

Chord Spellings in 12 Tone Tune
Variation One By Bruce Arnold

Bruce Arnold Music Education Genealogy Chart

You might enjoy checking out the “Music Education Genealogy Chart” located on my artist’s site. You will clearly see the historic progression of pedagogy that is the basis for Muse Eek Publishing Products. Great musicians throughout history have been studying the ideas presented by Muse-eek.com which derives its content from a a lineage that stretches back to Scarlatti!

Bruce-Arnold-Guitar-Flutterby-14 Guitarist Bruce Arnold BLOG Logo music education ear training course ear training Ear Training For Young People Chord Spellings

Ear Training Encouragement

Guitarist Bruce Arnold BLOG Logo music education ear training course ear training Ear Training For Young People Chord Spellings New Muse-eek.com website Guitarist Bruce Arnold BLOG Logo music education ear training course ear training Ear Training For Young People Chord Spellings New Muse-eek.com website Bruce-Arnold-Guitar-Flutterby-24 Guitarist Bruce Arnold BLOG Logo music education Guitar Intensive Workshop Ear Training Encouragement

Ear Training Encouragement

As many of you may know I’ve written quite a few books about ear training. I initially wrote these books for my students because I had such great success with this method. ( I arrived at it after years of using the “interval” method taught at most schools with very limited results.) I’m always gratified when I receive success stories from my students –especially when they are only 7 years old! I’ve often thought that if we could only get parents to sit down and work on ear training with their kids we would have a world of super musicians. Maybe someday… Anyway, here is a recent email I received from Julie Lolos who should be commended for loving her child enough to give him the gift of hearing music and at the same time getting herself to the point where she can realize her own musical dreams:

The Email and Hopefully Ear Training Encouragement For You!

“Dear Mr. Arnold, it has been several months since I updated you with the progress made by my 7 year old son and me. We started One Note Intermediate and Contextual Ear Training in late January 2010. We can both name all seven diatonic notes with accuracy and speed, and the non-diatonics are starting to stick. We can both sing 1, 2,3,4,5, and 7 and some 6’s. We are currently working on 6.

Just last week, I was admitted into our church liturgical choir. Admittance is based on passage of quite a few skill tests, including sight reading 4 unfamiliar hymns, perfectly. Before I started your program, sight reading seemed an impossibility. During the sight reading test, I was singing a hymn in an unfamiliar key signature (I need more theory work) and I sang a 4 when I should have sang a 5 (having guessed at the key degree, but not the pitch). But, the very next note was a lower 6, and I jumped down to it solidly and continued on from there. The proctor commented how solid I was getting back on melody on the six. She said that in her experience once a person gets off, they have real trouble getting back on the melody. Of course you know why…jumping around based on interval distances has its drawbacks, but I knew what a 6 sounded like, so I was able to jump right to it, no matter what the distance!

By the way, the proctor and everyone else knows all about you and your programs. When I entered the prep choir three years ago, I had trouble even discriminating between a higher and lower pitch. The Choir Director heard me sing recently and his comment was “Your pitch matching has really improved!” I said, “thanks to Bruce Arnold!”

Thank you,
Julie Lolos

Conclusion to Ear Training Encouragement

I hope this help you see how working on ear training can be rewarding but it takes time and patience. Many times students have specific issues. Many of those issues are discussed both in this blog and in the Muse Eek Publishing Ear Training Blog

Bruce Arnold Music Education Genealogy Chart

You might enjoy checking out the “Music Education Genealogy Chart” located on my artist’s site. You will clearly see the historic progression of pedagogy that is the basis for Muse Eek Publishing Products. Great musicians throughout history have been studying the ideas presented by Muse-eek.com which derives its content from a a lineage that stretches back to Scarlatti!

Bruce-Arnold-Guitar-Flutterby-24 Guitarist Bruce Arnold BLOG Logo music education Guitar Intensive Workshop Ear Training Encouragement

Time Transformation What I’m Practicing This Week

Guitarist Bruce Arnold BLOG Logo jazz guitar Bruce-Arnold-Guitar-Flutterby-24 Guitarist Bruce Arnold BLOG Logo music education Guitar Intensive Workshop The Music Rhythm Series Time Transformation

“Time Transformation” is a concept that has always fascinated me in music and so I am always looking for ways to tackle it. (And once I get an idea into my head, I don’t let go.)

My new CD entitled “Art of the Blues” features 12 keys of the blues where I superimpose three eighth notes of time over the regular time. This would resolve every 3 measures as seen below:

I’ve been pursuing this concept for a few years now and I’m using my compositions to help me master it. By getting this into my playing it will allow me to improv and compose on multiple time levels which really sounds great –when you can do it.
The composition below is a variation on Giant Steps using Time Transformation.

You will notice the melody is moving rhythmically in groups of three eighth notes. This allows the melody to be accompanied in two rhythmic levels fairly easily. Below is how the regular time translates into the three eighth note level.

It’s a little tricky moving between the two levels because the three eighth notes cycle doesn’t start in the first measure; it starts in the second measure, so you’ll notice that the three eighth notes page starts on the second measure of the piece. To make this work at the three eighth note level you have to read the 1st measure of the regular time as three beats then jump to the three eighths page and continue from there. If you want to give this a try you can use the metronome file below which first plays the regular time page giving you one click per beat and then plays the piece in three eighth notes of time as seen on the 2nd page.  Also when coming back from the three eighth note level chart you have to jump to the 2nd measure of the regular time chart.

5-4_3_Eighths_Odd_Steps

There is a bunch of other stuff going on in this chart. A quick summary would be I’m using “027” chords for the melody. “027” would be a whole step and a fifth. In order to keep this sound consistent you’ll notice some rather unorthodox chord symbols. I also solo with “027” which will be a subject for another post.

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