The Secret to Playing Your Favourite Music By Ear

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1 The Secret to Playing Your Favourite Music By Ear By Scott Edwards - Founder of I ve written this report to give musicians of any level an outline of the basics involved in learning to play any music by ear. There is nothing magical or mysterious about musicians who are able to play by ear. They simply have the ability to recognise which notes are being played when they hear music. This allows them to then play any notes they hear on their instrument. The secret to learning to play by ear is ear training. Ear training focuses purely on your ability to hear and recognise music clearly. You can incorporate ear training exercises into your daily practice routine, so that you can train your ears to a point where you can play your favourite music by ear. In this report, I ll go through the basics that every musician needs to know about ear training, if they wish to successfully learn to play by ear. Musicians who try to train their ears without knowing these fundamentals often waste a lot of time, working on the wrong exercises. If you read this report, it will put you on the path to successful, effective ear training. The report covers four main areas: Relative Pitch vs Perfect Pitch: Relative pitch and perfect pitch are two completely different approaches to recognising the notes in music by ear. One of them is a much more effective form of ear training. In this section we ll discuss which one it is and why. Sound Based Labels: Note names such as A, B, C etc are not useful for ear training. They don t tell us much about the way each note sounds (you ll find out about why this is in the first section). You ll learn about a different way to label

2 the notes you hear in music which makes much more sense if you want to play by ear. Scale Degrees: Scale degrees are the specific labels we use at Ear Training HQ. In this section I ll explain them, and why we use them. Recognising Single Notes: In this section I ll outline the first ear training exercise that everyone should start with: an exercise that will let you identify any single note that you hear in a piece of music. Regardless of what style of music you play, this exercise is the best way for you to start with ear training. You cannot recognise groups of notes until you can recognise each one individually. Speed: In the final section we will talk about developing speed. Learning to put together all the individual notes into melodies and chords, so you can keep up when you re listening to music. In this section, I will also tell you a little bit about our complete ear training course, which makes the entire process of training your ears as effortless and fast as possible. Relative Pitch vs Perfect Pitch: Choose the easy way to train your ears The goal of ear training is simple: to recognise the notes you hear in music so you can play by ear. However, achieving this goal isn t always so simple. Fortunately, with the right approach, anyone can achieve this goal, and it can be done in a much shorter timeframe that most expect. In this report, I ll explain the approach that will allow you to do this. There are two ways that you can recognise the notes in music. The first way is to identify each individual note on its own. This is called perfect pitch. With perfect pitch, you can recognise any individual note when it s played on its own, without any point of reference. The other option is called relative pitch: learning to recognise the relationships between the notes in music. If any single note is

3 played, you would be unable to identify it with relative pitch, but if a second one was played, you could recognise the relationship (called an interval) between the two. Some musicians aim to develop perfect pitch, believing that it is the simplest solution. While perfect pitch sounds great, in reality it isn t very helpful for one simple reason: It is almost impossible to develop fast and accurate perfect pitch as an adult. I ve never met a musician who has successfully developed perfect pitch after their early childhood, to a point where they could rely on it to play music. For this reason, I would strongly discourage any musician from working on perfect pitch. Relative pitch however, is a very different skill. Learning relative pitch is like learning the language of music. Developing it involves learning to recognise the relationships between the notes that you hear in music. Each of these relationships has its own unique sound, so you can learn to identify it quite quickly. For this reason, relative pitch is achievable for everyone. If you ve tried to develop relative pitch before, you may feel that I m making it sound simpler than it is. Many musicians try to develop relative pitch and quickly give up, feeling that it is too hard for them. Fortunately, it isn t as difficult as many believe. This is because there are a number of different approaches to ear training, and for some bizarre reason, some of the most common ones are simply ineffective. Many approaches rely on learning to recognise individual intervals, sometimes using the beginnings of songs to recognise them. These approaches don t translate across to music at all. They are, for the most part, a waste of your time, and that s the only reason so many musicians fail with these approaches. When you approach ear training in the correct way, you will see dramatic improvements very quickly, that will carry across to when you play your instrument.

4 The Secret to Developing Fast Relative Pitch: Sound based labels When we first start playing music, we are taught the names of each note: A, B, C etc. These labels help us to play our instruments: each label corresponds with a different fingering or key. However, these labels don t help us to play by ear, because they don t relate to the way that each note sounds in a piece of music. Take a look at the diagram below: Hey Jude - C Major Hey Jude - F Major

5 This diagram shows Hey Jude by The Beatles, written out in two different keys (the key tells us about which scale most of the notes are taken from). The first is in the key of C major (every note in that example is from the C major scale), the second is in the key of F major (uses the notes from the F major scale). The notes in the two examples are completely different, but it still sounds like Hey Jude. If a piece of music can sound identical, using completely different notes, it makes sense then, that the note labels we know are not helpful for teaching us to play by ear. We need to give each note a label that tells us about the way that the note sounds. A label that corresponds with the way that a note sounds should stay the same for both of these passages, as they are the exact same passage. The approach that makes ear training quick and effective: Scale Degrees Just about every piece of music is written in a particular key. The key of a piece of music tell us which scale most (or often all) of the notes come from. For example, below you will see the C major scale, and then Hey Jude, written again in the key of C major. Notice that every note in the passage is from the C major Scale. C Major Scale

6 Hey Jude - C Major The key, and specifically its corresponding scale, is the secret to effectively training our ears. Below you can see the same diagram, but this time I ve added labels above each note that show its position in the scale: C is position number 1, D 2, E 3 etc. These numbers are called scale degrees. C Major Scale with Scale Degrees Hey Jude - C Major with Scale Degrees These scale degrees are the labels that correspond with the way that each note sounds. If we take a look at Hey Jude in F major again, you ll see that the scale degrees are identical to those in C major.

7 F Major Scale with Scale Degrees Hey Jude - F Major with Scale Degrees The scale degree of each note has its own recognisable, unique sound. And fortunately for us, the vast majority of music is in either a major or minor key. This means that, if we learn to recognise the scale degrees of just these two scales, we can effectively and quickly train our ears, so we can play a huge amount of music by ear. The First Step: Recognising Single Notes The first step in ear training is to learn how to recognise a single note. It s impossible to identify chords or melodies if you cannot identify any single one of the notes that those chords or melodies are made up of. Learning to recognise single notes involves internalising the sound of each individual scale degree. Internalisation involves memorising the sound of the scale degree, so you can recognise it when you hear it, or reproduce it whenever you want.

8 This process is quite simple: Outline a key centre: play the scale, or play a simple chord progression in that key: eg. I - IV - V - I. This progression (called a perfect cadence) clearly outlines a key centre. To play a I - IV - V - I progression, simply play a major chord, built on the 1st, 4th, 5th, and 1st scale degrees. Below you can see this progression in C major: C maj, F maj, G maj, C maj. I ve used roman numerals to show the scale degrees that each chord is built on, to differentiate it from the individual scale degrees. This is a common way to notate chords using their scale degrees. I - IV - V - I - C Major Once the key centre has been outlined, your ear will automatically hear anything that is played in relation to the key centre. So play the scale degree that you are internalising. Listen to it and sing it. Do this for minutes a day, and the scale degree will start to stick after a few days. This process sounds simple because it is, but it works. The secret to succeeding is simply repeating this process until the scale degree sticks. As mentioned previously, most music is written in either a major or minor key, so internalising the seven scale degrees of the major scale, and then the minor scale is the essential first step in developing your ears. If you cannot already recognise the scale degree of an individual note, you absolutely must start internalising these scale degrees as soon as possible.

9 The Final Piece of the Puzzle: Speed Once you ve internalised the scale degrees of the major and minor scales, there is one last (but major) task: Speeding everything up. Obviously, if it takes even 1 or 2 seconds to recognise the scale degree of a note, it s not going to be of much use when you re playing music. You need to recognise each note almost instantly. This comes down to one thing: practice. The more time you spend trying to work out the notes of melodies and chord progressions, the faster you ll get at it. There are a number of different types of exercises that will help with this. Transcribing is great, and sight singing is also very effective. One shortcoming with these approaches however, can be a lack of structure. Developing speed involves taking individual combinations of notes: individual chords and short melodic groupings, and learning to identify them quickly. If you can identify any group of 4 notes quickly, it is easy to develop the speed you need to recognise even the fastest music. While transcribing and sight singing are great exercises, it can be difficult to find the right material to work on. One piece may be too difficult, another too easy. The chord progressions and melodies that they are made up of have nothing to do with each other, so it leads to a sometimes frustrating experience, trying to find material that is right for your current level. This is why, at Ear Training HQ, we ve broken the entire process down into its components. The Progressive Ear Training Course provides exercises that focus on each specific grouping of notes, including short melodies and chords, so you can systematically work through every one until you ve mastered them all. Can you achieve success without this structure? Certainly. But can you achieve it in the same amount of time? Definitely not. This guidance, and structured approach allows you to target each individual area that you need to, and work through them all step-by-step. It takes the frustration out of ear training, by providing you with a new exercise that is one

10 step above the last as you complete each one, so you follow a natural progression and improve steadily. This can make all the difference, because at the end of the day, you need to stick at it for a while to get the results you re looking for, and if you have the path laid out before you, it s much easier to keep at it than if you re working on it by yourself. Below you ll see some comments from a few musicians who have succussfully trained their ears with Ear Training HQ. I ve progressed more in 2 or 3 weeks with Ear Training HQ, than I have in years of ear training with other courses. Thanks again for developing a quality ear-training course. Guy F. - Guitarist Ive invested with so many ear training exercises for almost 9 years now. Your program is different because I can immediately apply its benefits musically. Thank you so much for your dedication in helping people like me become better musicians. Lawrence G. Scott I ve always believed I could hear music better than I did, but 15 years of ear-training and a dozen esoteric courses consumed (not including the relentlessly-advertised popular ones), and yours is the first one to actually bring intuitive recognition of music patterns to my ears. I am shocked at how easy it was: not endless hours of guess-the-note, but just several quick weeks of pleasant & relaxed listening to your targeted tracks. Please, get the word out, there s a better way to learn musical hearing! Lyle V. - Pianist So I would strongly recommend you try out the Progressive Ear Training Course. You can take a 2 week trial for just $2, to see whether the method works for you, and decide from there if you would like to continue or not. So click here now to go through to to sign up for the Progressive Ear Training Course to get started on the easy road to developing great ears and playing the music you love by ear.

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