FOR THE TEACHERS (Ear Training)
EAR TRAINING is never to early to begin. I feel a well developed ear can help tremendously students at all levels of playing. From the beginning, hearing wrong notes as you play or at a more advanced level using your ears will feed improvisational ideas, writing music,and many more benefits too numerous to list. Overall a trained ear will be heard as you play with more expression and a more musical application of your playing.
RHYTHMIC RECALLstep #1
Begin with this part for developing ears. First play (one note) or clap a rhythm that will present a challenge for the student. Have them duplicate the rhythm you played. This is fun and gets the ears listening to an important element of music. The RHYTHM.
HIGH-LOW EAR TRAININGstep #1
Continue here as part of step #1 (Rhythmic Recall) An important part of effective EAR TRAINING is the ability to hear notes in sequence and determine if they are moving upward or downward. This gives you a direction to move your hand to begin your search.
example Play an E followed by a higher note and have the student answer if it is HIGH or LOW. Soon they will begin to hear the HIGH/LOW quality of each sound. It best to start with a wider 2 note range to make the hearing easier and more obvious. Then you can tighten up the distance, working within one octave , which will offer a greater challenge.
These two beginning exercises of EAR TRAINING will provide a nice foundation to begin more advanced exercises which will follow.
DO NOT rush to harder levels. It is so important to be patient with all aspects of EAR TRAINING . It is a lifelong process. Ear Training can be taken as far as the student wishes. There are no limits! So , start now you’ll be glad you did.
SOUND MATCHINGstep #2
This is the beginning of one of the most important and most difficult aspects of piano playing. People have always believed playing by ear is a natural talent. I tend to disagree. Surely some people adopt more to this than others but I have found with proper instruction people can develop musical ears and learn to know what they are hearing. Such a great tool to have to be able to hear a tune on the radio or CD and sit at the piano and be able to figure it out. At the higher levels this is where this goes. It is never too early to start this long developing process. I have found that kids really enjoy the challenge and the mystifying quality this topic will generate. I present it in small increments to have the student really feel they are getting it before moving on to the next level.
Begin with MIDDLE C and D. Have the student look away from the piano and you play one of these notes several times. Suggest that the student listen carefully and try to sing or hum that note. Then have them try playing the C or D to match the sound that they heard. Notice the positive reaction you will get when the student finds that note. Once this is working successfully it is time to add E. Work on this the same way having the student choose notes from the 3 now. Move to F then G until all white notes in the octave are completed. At this time add the C# then Eb and so on until all 5 black notes are introduced. Once the student can find a single note in a few attempts it is time move to the next level.
SOUND MATCHING FOLLOWstep #3
Now add a 2nd note to the SOUND MATCHING exercise. Keep the note selection that follows up or down 1 whole step. So as the student listens they have to process if the note is higher or lower than the first one played.
example play a D followed by an E (the sound should indicate the E is higher)
play a D followed by a C (the sound should indicate that the C is lower.)
The amount of information displayed here on these two pages should be worked on regularly, even just a few minutes a day as part of the lesson plan. Remember all these ideas should be covered slowly over about a years period of time. DO NOT rush through levels. To effectively develop your EAR TRAINING you MUST be able to function comfortably in one level at a time. More advanced EAR TRAINING exercises will be found in VOLUMES 2 and 3. Soon the student's ears will become just as important as their mind when playing their instrument. These exercises may be applied to other instruments and hold the same value.