Here are a few great ear training resources on the web which you might not have come across:
“This guide should get you started arranging music for your a cappella group if you have musical ideas but don’t know how to put them down on paper. It’s no substitute for really learning music theory, but if your primary concern is just arranging your favorite song, this will help get you there.”
A fantastic introductory guide to arranging music for close harmony groups (a.k.a. a cappella or the sub-genre barbershop). I’m a big fan of a cappella music, and listening carefully to it can be a tremendous way to develop your ear.
It may sound like an intimidating topic, but you’ll learn a lot even if you don’t ever start arranging yourself, and it really is taken at a gentle pace. For example, when broaching the topic of figuring out the key, the author, Ryan Moulton, writes: “If you are like me however, and don’t have any real knowledge of music theory, keep reading.” – That’s my kind of tutorial!
I’ll come back to the topic of a cappella for ear training in more detail with a future post, as there’s plenty to say! For now, I’ll just say that if you have any interest in using a cappella or barbershop music in your ear training regime, reading this guide to the ins and outs of arranging for a cappella will be eye (and ear) opening.
“One of the most often overlooked aspects of guitar study programs is ear training, sure you can learn a few tunes, play a couple of basic scales and chords but it’s only monkey-see-monkey-do type stuff the player themselves does not really develop his/her musical ear to the point when they can work out tunes by ear for themselves.”
One of the best things about spending time on ear training is that the skills are generally instrument-agnostic: you can apply your new knowledge and abilities on any instrument, or without one at all (by singing). For example, although this article is apparently guitar-specific, all of the advice it offers can be applied to any instrument (barring a few minor specifics). It can also be enlightening to hear about the aural skills other instrumentalists find particularly easy or challenging, to highlight new possibilities for your own practice – so never be afraid to dive into ear training material for instruments you don’t play yourself!
eHow.com is an excellent source of short and simple guides on a huge variety of topics, and there are some great ear training articles on there. This one is a nice overview of five of the most popular online ear trainers. They focus on relative pitch skills (intervals, chords, scales, etc.) and a couple touch on perfect pitch too. Of course we’re partial to our apps and online quizzes but there are some fantastic trainers on other sites, and this article on eHow is a handy guide to them.
“What jazz musicians require is a practical use of ear training, connecting aural perception to improvising. Ear training is a very useful concept and as improvisors the next step is to transfer this skill to our instruments. In addition to being able to sing what we hear, we want to be able to play what we hear on our horns.”
As we posted over on Twitter last week, this is an interesting article on JazzAdvice.com about the difference between relying on your brain (theoretical understanding) and your ears (natural instinct and subconscious understanding), and how to get the best of both worlds when you play and improvise. I talked about this a bit in my post “Want to play it? Hear it first!” – ear training really is the key to bringing the music in your head out into the world through your instrument, and Eric over at JazzAdvice has some keen insights and tips on the subject.
Have you spotted any good ear training resources lately? Let me know in the comments below!