Found in: Musicality, Pedaling, Technique
Stephen R., California
I’m curious to know if any other teachers incorporate any ear training into their lessons. I’m thinking about doing some chord quality quizzes as we learn all the different types, or maybe at the end as part of a final review. I remember doing this in a couple of my college musicianship classes with chords, scales, and intervals (all 12 intervals within an octave). Interval ear training might be a fun addition to the interval learning process we do.
Leeanne I., Australia
I don’t. I have thought about doing it, but have chosen not to at this stage. My ‘ear’ was always the weakest part of my musicianship prior to Simply Music. I have found with Simply Music that my ear is developing naturally. And I love that it is happening naturally. I like that students will be able to get to the stage of picking out melodies themselves, I’m interested to hear if other teachers do ear training.
Mark M., New York
I’ve always played by ear and love the idea of ear training, but I’m cautious. I have no idea if this is true, but I can easily imagine the possibility that those of us who have “good ears” may dramatically overestimate the probability of success in teaching ear training to our average students. I’d want to know much more about the effectiveness of particular ear training techniques — and the variable aptitude of typical students in succeeding with those techniques — before I even considered introducing them to anyone, much less on the context of Simply Music lessons.
Ruth P., North Carolina
I think having students hear major or minor chords is simple and a good thing, but I bring it up when it relates to pieces – not in isolation.
Ian C., Australia
I teach “Deep River” by ear, i.e. they listen to me play phrase by phrase, then replicate on their own keyboard. I do give them some physical clues though.
Laurie Richards, Nebraska
I don’t teach ear training as a ‘thing’, but occasionally it is woven into the curriculum – e.g. the Comp & Improv 3-note composition project. It’s only listening for major vs minor, so very basic.
Also, Neil has talked at conferences during Accompaniment workshops about adding embellishments by singing a few color notes between chords, then matching those pitches on the piano and incorporating into accompaniment skills. I would not attempt that until later in the curriculum, unless I had a student who already had a very good ear and was highly motivated to do something along those lines.
Rochelle G., California
As someone who does not have a natural gift of ear, I am encouraged that over time I’m able to “hear” better. I think that happens with everyone involved in music to some extent. However, I imagine having a very frustrating experience if I was expected to try to hear some things and just couldn’t. I love how things just naturally happen, like hearing sad and happy in minor and major. I’d be happy with tips and encouragement to try to hear things, but to make it a project I would think would be frustrating for those who have to learn to use their ear rather than already have the natural gift of it.
Carol P., South Carolina
When teaching Accompaniment Variations, I ask students if they can hear the chord changes for Auld Lang Syne, Amazing Grace, and others that they have played for a really long time. If they can anticipate the change then they can play it without the music and use just the variation page in front of them. All of my students have been able to do this so far.
Stephen R., California
I wasn’t really thinking of the intervals, but maybe on chord quality at the end as some sort of fun final review. I was also thinking this may be good to do as we gradually learn all the chord types. Obviously, this would be a small component and something I would not do all the time.
Ian B., California
I often tell my students (many of whom transitioned from traditional methods) that we are “learning a new way of learning”. Then I remind them that reading-based method was the old way and that playing-based is the new. There is a third way, though, that many students do not seem to be aware of, and that is learning entirely by ear. I learned this way and some of my students fall back on their ear when switching to playing-based. It IS natural and I believe just about everyone develops their ear as they learn music. It is not a “gift” although there are certainly some students who are prodigious on many levels. Ear training should be done in context just as some have already commented. I’m sure it can be explored further as another tool, and another part of the vocabulary of music we are building.