Ear Training Exercise to Practice

Ear Training Exercises
Ear training is similar to  breath control which every singer relearns, hearing is something people have been doing all their lives. The new singer may see the benefit immediately to practicing a well-known skill, or it may take time. However unless the singer is blessed with perfect pitch, ear training can be beneficial. Ear training not only enhances hearing but also the sense of rhythm so essential for singing a song.  The exercises included in ear training include the Solfege, which is designed to help improve music sight-reading, and their pitch. There are also rhythmic exercises using sounds and the hands or tapping to express different rhythms. Students are usually asked to sing melodies by sight using only the sheet music as a guide.

Solfege Training

Fixed Do Solfege training has each note of the scale is expressed with a set sound, do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, si(ti) starting at C. Usually exercises begin simply and notes are placed on the clefs in different keys and the student is asked to read the notes using their Solfege names. At first exercises are simple but as time goes by notes may change clefs or go up or down drastically.  There is a variation on the set do variation the tonic note of the scale is called do and every other note changes in relationship to this tonic note.  The difference in this type of exercise is that when the melody changes the new tonic becomes Do and all other notes are named relative to that new tonic.  Fixed do works most consistently for atonal music while mixed or changeable do is appropriate for atonal music only.

Practicing Dictation

In a manner very similar to the traditional secretary, this type of exercise focuses upon correctly transcribing music that is being played. Instructors might let the students know what the start note is or the chord or they may be required to puzzle it out. Practicing dictation can use simple melodies to transcribe or can be a complex multi voice piece. This type of transcription might even include only rhythmic passages.

Practicing Rhythm

Learning to read and then to perform rhythms is an important part of a singer’s job. The singer could simply tap, clap, or beat a quarter notes while vocalizing. Alternatively, exercises such as beating out several meters while singing can help develop rhythm.

Practice Sight Singing

Sight singing exercises consist usually of singing a song or melody from sheet music. The song must be new to the singer and read and understood strictly by sight. Learning new music can be challenging for singers but being able to pick up even complex melodies from the sheet music is invaluable. This exercise builds upon the Solfege and enhances a singer’s flexibility.

The Musical Ear Training Instructor

Ear training or music tutors can help the student who is new to reading music improve quickly. Normally ear training tutors are different from voice coaches since this is a different field and yet just as necessary as a voice coach. Choir directors, music teachers and even local college campuses may have teachers who work with individuals teaching ear training.


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