Ear Training Log Out | Topics | Search
Moderators | Register | Edit Profile

Alembic Club » Miscellaneous » Archive: 2005 » Archive through February 21, 2005 » Ear Training « Previous Next »

Author Message
Intermediate Member
Username: rraymond

Post Number: 160
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Friday, February 11, 2005 - 3:13 pm:   Edit Post

Hi everybody:

Any of you ever take an ear training class? I'm taking a course called "Harmonic Ear Training" via the Berklee College of Music's online program. They've got a good thing going with these classes.

I've spent the day trying to evaluate a series of chord progressions, by counting up, listening horizontally, listening for guide tones, voice leading, and aaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrgggggggggghhhhhh! Right at the moment, I don't think I could hear someone jackhammering the back of my skull! Heck, I might not even notice the sensation!

Oh well, back at it. I needed a moment to vent - thanks for reading - and thought it might make an interesting miscellaneous topic.

Reid - The Apparently Tone Deaf One!
Senior Member
Username: kmh364

Post Number: 765
Registered: 9-2003
Posted on Friday, February 11, 2005 - 5:03 pm:   Edit Post


I feel your pain, Brother.

You should try my instructor...he turns his back...plays chords...what's the root note? Dominant, major, minor? Major 7, major 9, major major 11, 13, minor 7, minor 9...etc? Major/minor? Then he plays a scale...which mode? Arpeggio? It goes on and on, LOL! I have a metronome ticking in my head and I've got the major, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13 arpeggios ingrained in my brain (6 and 5str. roots). Cycle of Fourths anyone? LOL!

He expects your mind to be a sponge...like his. Mine is a sieve, Actually, I liken it to a train station analogy...my memory is like the one car that you can see from the station window, then the train moves and that car is gone and another one takes it's place! LOL! Whooops, what happened to that old car? It's gone! LOL! I could have used a biological analogy, but you get the picture, LOL!

That's what I get for studying with a child prodigy musical genius...won every award in jazz a high school student can, gifted music major in college, pro touring musician with a stellar resume, sight reader, perfect ear, etc....now in his late 40's and totally turned-off to the music scene...he won't even play out at an open mike night for fun. He gives lessons for 4 hours each weeknight, and is an expert guitar luthier/repairman during the day. He's gifted at that too, having been building guitars since his teens.

I'm learning ear training, musical theory and jazz guitar whether I like it or not, LOL! To hell with my arthritis and cubital/carpal tunnel syndrome (both arms), LOL!

Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 764
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Friday, February 11, 2005 - 5:47 pm:   Edit Post

Sounds compelling and frustrating all in one. All I know for sure, though, is that the frustration would be mutual if I were his student. I am in absolutely desperate need of some good ear training.

Reid, give us some feedback on the quality of this course when you get through it. I took a look at the online course and was wondering if it would be worthwhile. I think they also sell a $15 text course that I was thinking of trying out. Certainly, their website has some cool exercises on it.
Intermediate Member
Username: rraymond

Post Number: 161
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Friday, February 11, 2005 - 6:31 pm:   Edit Post

Hey Kevin:

We're supposed to hit the realm of the 9ths, 11ths and 13ths before this thing is over. I hope they give credit for tenacity, 'cause that's about all that'll be getting me through!

Bob, I can tell you this about their courses, they are very well thought out and delivered. If you have a browser with Quicktime and Flash capability, you're pretty much set. Several of the courses require Finale Notepad, which is free, and all the classes I'm currently taking require Audacity, also free, or the recording software of your choice. As long as you can convert to ogg, or mp3 format for uploading your lessons to the college, they're not concerned about what you use - I've got Sonor. For feedback purposes, the instructors have weekly online chats, and there are discussion boards for each class to post requests for help, etc.

Last winter I took the Theory 101 class, and I'm currently taking: Harmonic Ear Training, Basic Improvisation and the Berklee Keyboard Method. I'm signed up for Getting Into Harmony I, in the spring. I guess that shows that I think pretty highly of the courses. Or, that I've exhausted all other means of throwing away money, and music education seemed like the perfect sinkhole for my dollars! LOL

Later all...


Advanced Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 364
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Friday, February 11, 2005 - 10:27 pm:   Edit Post

As a kid, I studied piano with a couple who had degrees from North Texas and Julliard. I was a pretty good piano player, sang in the church choir, and uttterly hopeless when it came to ear training.

When I took up bass in my early 20s, it was the first time in my life I was learning an instrument by ear, and after several years of having to hear my parts off records or the radio, one day the light went on. . . and the
intervals came very easily. Chords took on certain colors, certain feelings were implied, and I began to recognize them. Learning the 'Number System' we use here in Nashville was also helpful because you forget about keys and think in chords/intervals only.

J o e y
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 1357
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Saturday, February 12, 2005 - 6:57 am:   Edit Post

It seems to me that the ability to hear and identify intervals can differ considerably from person to person. I'm thinking that to a significant degree, your genetic makeup contributes to your ability; but practice is also an important contributor. I think that ear training, learning to identify intervals, is extremely useful. Like anything else, it does take a lot of practice; for me, constant practice <g>. I tend to think that I work on it a lot; but it is quite frequently the case that I misidentify something that I think I really should know, even basic intervals <g>. And yes Kevin, a couple days ago I was trying to do a 1-4-b7-b10 arpeggio in my head. Ouch!
Senior Member
Username: kmh364

Post Number: 766
Registered: 9-2003
Posted on Saturday, February 12, 2005 - 7:23 am:   Edit Post

Well, to add insult to injury, my 7:00pm Monday night lesson is followed by a 15yr. old girl who started taking lessons about 6 mos. ago with two friends (same age). One has since dropped out and the other remaining girl is at about the 6mo. in level. The girl who follows me, it turns out has PERFECT PITCH. He can turn his back and she can tell him ANY interval he's playing, what root note, major, minor, etc.! He says she's advanced like three years in six months and she had never touched a guitar before! She has had some musical training (flute?) as a child in grammar school, but that was it. I, on the other hand, have been playing since 14 (I'll be 42 this year), have been taking formal lessons for the past two years (I'm self-taught on guitar and bass), and I still can't do what she does!

Talk about a humbling experience!

Like Joey said, you gotta be like PBS's (late) Bob Ross..."Happy Little Trees" er, um, chords = majorLOL!, sad = minor, LOL!

I still don't get it! I put on the album, er,um, tape, er, um, CD, er , um, MP-3, yeah that's it(!), and flub around until I pick up the root notes then I figure out the rest, LOL!

I've been studying chord lines in my lessons, and while I understand descending and ascending lines, to be able to disect the chords on the fly, pick out the desired note, find the chord that has that note as the "highest" (frequency)note in the right form and find it on the fingerboard and play it in the proper time signature (on the fly) is like speaking Martian to me! On top of that, while I understand musically why this is valid, I don't hear it that way. To me, it is more important to play lush, full chords (mostly six string root chords) than it is to play the chord because it follows the proper chord line or because you need a chord in a certain position. Does that make sense? LOL! I'm so confused, LOL!
Intermediate Member
Username: gare

Post Number: 157
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Saturday, February 12, 2005 - 8:32 am:   Edit Post

I studied sight singing/ear training in college back in the early 70's (I can even remember some of the stuff). That was a requirement to go along with the theory,harmony,counterpoint,and all the rest. Once you get it,it is very useful.
My instructoress was a year older than me with a doctorate in theory,also had perfect pitch. (it was most difficult paying attention to lessons with her walking around the room..but)
I'm self taught on guitar and bass,and the ear training made pulling parts off records (yeah records,I grew up with vinyl) so much easier.
I found it easiest to work the lessons on a keyboard rather than guitar or bass,it gives you a much better visual reference. Once you've grasped the concepts then transfer the new found knowlege to the other instruments.
Hope that helps some.
Intermediate Member
Username: rraymond

Post Number: 162
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Saturday, February 12, 2005 - 11:22 am:   Edit Post

Gary! "Instructoress," does she have a website? Is she a musical dominant? Pun intended! LOL

Here's a true story from my college days:

As a computer science major I had a bunch of math courses, one of which was a class in discreet logic. So, we had a rather plain-jane grad student that taught our class; her usual attire was torn jeans, converse sneakers and a beatup old flannel shirt. Fairly common grad student/instructor garb.

Well, the day of the final, I'm running late for some reason, I get to class and the only available seat is front row, right in front of her desk. She comes back from making copies of the test, and there's nearly a gasp from the class. The girl was wearing, and I'm not making this up: black boots, black leather jeans, a black leather cap of some sort, a leopard print blouse, and makeup! If I hadn't recognized her voice, I wouldn't have thought it was the same person! Needless to say, the distraction level for that final was through-the-roof!

Now, back to topic: I'm with you on the use of a keyboard for working this stuff out. It really is much easier to see. I've found I do what you mentioned; work it out on keyboard, then transfer it over to bass.


Intermediate Member
Username: gare

Post Number: 158
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Sunday, February 13, 2005 - 7:22 am:   Edit Post

does she have a website?
Good question,I'll have to check ! She went on to teach at Julliard for awhile, last I heard she was in Chile.

black boots, black leather jeans, a black leather cap of some sort, a leopard print blouse, and makeup
Hmmm..sounds like a few partons at a place I go. Did she ride a Harley into class ? LOL

Good luck of the training Reid, you will find it most useful.


Topics | Last Day | Last Week | Tree View | Search | Help/Instructions | Program Credits Administration