Ear Training

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Published on  |  Last Updated on September 19, 2023


Have you ever seen anyone with such talent that all it takes for them to begin playing the piano is one listen to a song? Or how about musicians who can perform without using any sort of “crutch” like chord diagrams, tablatures, or musical notation? Every time they perform, it’s worth seeing these people because they are so impressive. Do you know the secret to their amazing musical talent? Yes, you guessed it: a well-developed musical.

Ear Training

Ear training, also known as aural training or music dictation, is a the process of learning to recognize and name various musical elements using our ears. Pitch ranges, intervals, chords, rhythm, melody, and harmony are a few examples of these elements .Developing one’s hearing is an essential skill for musicians, particularly for those who want to improvise or play by ear. It helps a musician’s understanding of the formal parts of music as well as their sense of pitch, time, and tonality to develop.

To practice ear training, one can perform a number of exercises, such as listening to music and identifying different intervals or chords, transcribing melodies or rhythms, or identifying key changes in a song. Since humans have been creating music, musicians have been enthralled by this great feature of the human ear: its capacity to improve anyone’s ability to play an instrument skillfully, comprehend any type of music being performed more deeply, and more fully appreciate music.

What is Ear Training?

Ear training is a discipline in music studies in which we use several exercises or activities that improve how an individual hears music.

In a nutshell, ear training is the constant process of honing your aural senses’ musical sensitivity, awareness, and sharpness. You’ll realize how important and advantageous having a “ear for music” is as you progress towards being a highly skilled musician. Just consider it. You won’t feel inadequate or overawed the next time you hear a jazz song on the radio. As your musical ear grows, so will your confidence and enjoyment of music. You will learn about the various facets of ear training from this manual. You’ll learn what an ear is as time goes on.

You should first comprehend what ear training is not in order to properly appreciate what it is. You must understand that developing your ears is not some form of wizardry. Many people think that ear training is only for “gifted people” and that those without natural aural abilities should stick to reading written music. This is a false belief, and an unhelpful one at that. Everybody has ears that can understand music more deeply. Practice on a regular basis is required to develop this aspect.

The reality is that everyone already has some degree of this musical-listening capacity.

Each person has a unique way of understanding music. Pop music is appealing to certain people because of its memorable tunes. The majority of people who purchase record-label artists’ CDs and tapes aren’t musically skilled, don’t understand what a scale is, and aren’t familiar with musical intervals.

The notes, chords, intervals, and patterns in the music they listen to are not familiar to their ears. In other words, they have little to no musical understanding and can only appreciate music on a “consumer” level! In order to advance as a musician, you must do better than that. You should become more acutely aware of the music being played. If you play the bass, you might consider learning common bass lines and licks through listening.

One classic example of an individual with a sharp ear for music is the conductor of an orchestra. Often, the members of an orchestra have less concern than the conductor for 9 Ear training is: Doing any exercise or activity that improves how an individual hears music. In all of the cases mentioned above, there is only one core skill — the ability to hear and then play.

You can improve this only through ear training! the overall structure of the musical piece. They are engrossed and focused only on their own parts. (It may be surprising to you, but most musicians brought up by reading notes and studying formal music theory have lesser ear capabilities than most “self-taught” musicians

This aspect of the hearing process is what ear training is all about: recognising it and actively working to enhance it. 10 The reality is that everyone already has some degree of this musical listening capacity. We’ll briefly go over a few significant ones below. Ear training has many different facets and locations. You should continuously work to improve in each of the categories to get the most benefit.

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Playing By Ear

“Playing by ear” is the main motivation for ear training for many artists. “Playing by ear” is what? Simply described, it is the capacity to use your instrument to translate the music in your head into the physical world. This could be a contemporary pop song you just heard on the radio, a jazz standard you’re familiar with, or a brand-new composition you just conjured up in your head. Every musician can (and should) learn to play by ear, even though some artists find it easier than others to do so.

Being able to play music without using written notation is immensely liberating and fun. It is possibly the most pure form of musical expression, along with improvisation. The ability to play by ear is not a singular skill! It is rather a specific means of expressing your musicality, which is fueled by a variety of musical listening abilities.

A combination of targeted ear training and instrument practise is necessary to learn to play by ear. In the end, it comes down to spending the time to experiment with playing by ear and being positive when you make mistakes, but there are many strategies, methods, and resources you may utilise to hasten your development.

Relative Pitch

Relative pitch is the capacity of a musician to recognise a specific note, group of notes, musical pattern, or chord progression simply by hearing them. A vocalist or musician, for instance, could be able to hear a particular song’s ii-V-I chord sequence without knowing what key it is in.

High relative pitch individuals can play songs by ear, identify note and chord intervals, and even create their own musical notation! By using relative pitch, you can recognise some musical patterns visually but not always by name. For instance, you might not be able to tell what notes are being played or what key an Elton John song is in when listening to it, but you should still be able to mentally sing the same sounds.

Any key can be used to play a song if the musician has a strong sense of relative pitch. This musical skill is crucial because it helps the musician understand the intervals, chords, and progressions that make up music.

Absolute Pitch, or “Perfect Pitch”

It’s true that some people seem to naturally have this capacity since childhood, but perfect pitch is frequently thought of as a musical talent that one is born with. However, this is not imply that one cannot practice perfect pitch development.

What is perfect pitch?

The the musical capacity to identify a pitch, chord, or note simply by hearing it and without utilizing any outside references! The term “perfect pitch” may not be entirely error-proof, hence it may be misleading. As the complement to relative pitch, we tend to prefer the word “absolute pitch.”

A pianist with perfect pitch can instantly perform a tune after listening to it. A guitarist with excellent pitch can instantaneously play any riff on his guitar after hearing it. A singer with perfect pitch will be able to hear any of Whitney Houston’s high notes and immediately identify whether it is a G or a B flat using only their ears. Pitch absolute is fascinating.

This ability will be very beneficial to a musician or singer in many musical circumstances. There is strong evidence that anyone can master perfect pitch through dedicated practise. Obviously, this is easier said than done, but it is attainable with consistent, committed training. Some musicians who lack intrinsic absolute pitch will memorize sounds like Middle C or the “A440” using an instrument tuner or tuning fork.

MIDDLE C – 261.63Hz

You can gradually move from relative pitch to absolute pitch by memorising the sound of one “reference pitch” like this. You can speed up the listening and playing processes once you have your initial note ingrained in your brain. The next step is to expand on this by learning additional notes and developing your sense of absolute pitch.

Rhythm Dedicated Ear Training

You can acquire a sensitive sense of rhythm with the help of this kind of rhythm ear training. You should do particular ear training exercises to hone your rhythmic sense if you have trouble telling a 4/4 beat from a 3/4 beat. Drummers play more than just the rhythm when they perform music. It’s important to capture the rhythm, bounce, and spirit of the music they are performing. Paying close attention to beat loops is an easy technique to achieve this goal.

Finding the first beat count in a 4/4 rhythm and training your head to mentally count “1, 2, 3, 4” continuously as you listen to or perform music can also be helpful. The way the lyrics are phrased and how successfully each song part—verse, chorus, refrain, and coda—is performed are frequently dependent on the singer’s ability to hit the proper notes at the right moments.

Any singer will gain significant rhythmic skills by listening to music with both simple and syncopated beats. A key element in making music seem polished and professional rather than amateurish is accurate rhythm. You’ll perform better and leave a greater impression on your audience if you tighten up your sense of rhythm.

Tempo refers to how quickly or slowly the music beats as a whole and is closely tied to rhythm ear training. When someone says, “Let’s do this one at about 90BPM,” you’ll know what they mean because you’ve developed your ear for varied tempos. This will also make it easier for you to communicate with other musicians.

Audio EQ, Mixing and Mastering

Beautiful music may be rendered meaningless and underappreciated if the recording’s audio quality irritates the listener’s ears. Any genre of music must have the proper balance of auditory components in order to be enjoyable to listen to. Audio EQ, mixing, and mastering are used in this situation. In order for each instrument to sound harmoniously with the others, it is important to get the proper balance of treble, bass, midrange, and effects.

By using sophisticated mixers, amplifiers, sequencers, microphones, and speakers, we are obviously referring to the technical aspects of music creation. Many audio producers, DJs, studio engineers, and sound professionals are unable to play any one instrument, yet they are skilled at getting the proper blend, which results in wonderful music. They are skilled in adjusting the mixer to make the music more appropriate for the setting. Through ear training, one can cultivate this high level of sound quality awareness.

You might now assume that studio engineers are the only ones who need this talent. It’s untrue. Any genre of music must contain the proper balance of auditory components in order to be enjoyable to listen to. You should have at least a fundamental understanding of audio EQ and mixing if you’re a musician or singer.

Any musician will benefit greatly from having some familiarity with audio effects. You may add diversity and character to your music by learning how to employ different pedels like flangers, delays, chorus effects, and reverb, for instance, if you play the guitar. The same is true of keyboards and 21 synthesizers, which each offer a huge variety of sounds. You wouldn’t be able to select the appropriate sound to go with the tune you’re playing without this kind of ear training. Learning the fundamental listening skills of audio production is becoming more and more important in the present era, when so many musicians start out by recording and publishing their music independently.

Ear Training – Exercise

The goal of ear training is to improve musical ability; it has nothing to do with repairing any damage to the auditory organs. In reality, ear training has nothing to do with improving your hearing at all! To enhance the brain’s awareness of musical patterns, the majority of ear training exercises include simple listening. One can greatly enhance their musicality by being familiar with musical patterns via frequent listening and practice.

Ear Training – Exercise

Ear Training – Benefits

Certain people in specific professions will benefit more than others from ear training exercises. If you are a musician who never went through formal training in music, or if you can’t read sheet music, then developing your ear is your only practical option when starting a career in music!

There are many musicians, even popular ones, who could not read a single line of musical notation if they tried. But most of these artists and musicians who made it big in the music industry have used their ears as an invaluable asset of musical prowess and success.

Ear Training benefits for music professionals & aspiring musicians

Ear training is essential for both experienced and aspiring composers. One of a composer’s most important musical tools is his or her ear. They are constantly searching for fresh melodies, rhythms, and sounds that will inspire them to produce the next major jazz album or chart-topping hit. Some talented composers even tune in to the sounds of nature to get ideas and inspiration for their works! So ear training is your best friend if you want to become a composer!

Drummers need ear training to develop a sense of rhythm. Professionals practise hearing the metronome count of a drum beat and maintaining the proper tempo—not too fast or too slow—at all times. Of course, other types of musicians can benefit from these abilities as well! The ability to perceive relative pitch is beneficial for pianists and singers since it aids in selecting the appropriate notes, intervals, and scales.

In the meantime, a lot of guitarists require expertise in audio effects because they frequently determine the mood or ambiance of a song. Of course, studio engineers and sound mixing experts also need to hone their hearing in order to develop their EQ adjusting and mastering talents. There are also no set guidelines for age ranges. Anyone with normal hearing, regardless of age, is capable of developing their ears.

It is best to start ear training as soon as you can, just like with most other skills. Many young artists who went on to become world-class musicians and musical prodigies began some kind of ear training! The training could have come from constant exposure to music or unintentional training, or it could have started from a child’s curiosity about a musical instrument at home.

Age is nothing more than an illusion when it comes to music and developing oneself for its purposes. It’s never too late to refine your ears and advance in your field!

To develop a keen ear, you don’t have to be a note-reader or a musician with professional training. No formal education is necessary. In actuality, many of the top singers, musicians, and audio professionals in the world without formal musical training. A musician’s inner musical abilities are somehow honed via ear training, releasing them from dependence on written notation or other aids. World-class music schools and conservatories realise this, which is the reason why they all incorporate ear training in their curriculums. Music schools that aspire to produce well rounded performers train their students’ hearing, as opposed to only teaching musical theory and memorizing classical compositions.

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The Top 10 Reasons to Practice Ear Training

1. Listen to more music and all different kinds and genres. You’ll find that as time goes on, you become more conscious of the intricate nuances in music. As your ears develop greater musical sensitivity, learn new dimensions in the music you already know and love.

2. You will become a much more accurate player as your ears become more detail-oriented. After all, you can’t play accurately until you can tell whether or not you’re playing accurately!

3. With your newly improved ears, you’ll rediscover music that you previously thought you were familiar with. Additionally, when you learn to appreciate new facets of music, you’ll discover that you enjoy a much wider variety of musical genres.

4. Understanding You’ll wonder how you ever got along without this musical intelligence once you realise how liberating it is to learn to actually grasp what you’re hearing in music.

5. Creativity Your musical vocabulary will expand as a result of your expanded understanding and improved musical sensibility. You may decide which rules to follow and which to discard by comprehending what you hear. These put far more musical originality into your improvisation, songwriting, and composition.

6. Playing it by ear is one of the most enjoyable things you can do with music. Music allows you to immediately express yourself without the use of written materials or any other tools besides yourself and your instrument.

7. Ear training will help you improve your understanding of various musical aspects, including chords, instruments, genres, and more, as well as your natural ability to imitate and apply them to your instrument. You become a more well-rounded and adaptable musician as a result, welcome in any group, and able to play in any circumstance.

8. One of the biggest advantages of ear training for many musicians is that they can finally get rid of their performance anxiety. After developing your aural comprehension through ear training, there is nothing in music that you need be afraid of. You are confident that you can always rely on your ears.

9. Associating sounds with their associated names is a significant component of ear training. You may converse about music with other musicians more simply and intelligently by being familiar with this common language for musical aspects. By bridging the gap between your musical thoughts in your head and how you express them with your instrument in the actual world, it also enables you to hold dialogues through music.

10. Freedom One word could best describe the advantages of ear training: freedom.

Thus we can conclude the importance and the application of this concept of Ear Training and how important it might prove to be on your journey to becoming a musician or even as motivation for all aspiring future musicians. If you want to learn more about Ear Training concepts, practices & exercises subscribe to professional music classes on musicmaster.in.

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