Ear Training/ Sight Singing.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by xjb0906, Jun 14, 2012.

  1. flugelgirl

    flugelgirl Forte User

    Jan 20, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    I think the way it can help with performance anxiety is by performing your exercises in front of others. To be able to perform musically away from the instrument can really increase security when performing in a regular setting, especialy for the performer who uses the instrument as a buffer between them and the audience. Increased confidence usually works wonders for performance anxiety, anyway - just a thought. :)
  2. bigtiny

    bigtiny Mezzo Forte User

    Aug 14, 2005
    When I was in college (I went late - I was 33 and already an experienced player), I spent at least 2 hours a day outside of classes, working on ear training. I'd do dictation from the piano, solfeggio exercises, sing jazz tunes, whatever I could to stretch my ears. After college, I missed the ear training so much that I started seeing an ex-piano teacher SOLELY for the purpose of doing ear training and dictation with him. Recently I started taking what I thought were going to be piano lessons, but which have now morphed into, you guessed it, ear training lessons.

    I'm an improvisor and as such, my mission is to get everything between my ideas and their execution out of my way. That is, I don't want to have to be conscious of THINKING about what I want to play, or playing the trumpet to generate the musical statement I'm trying to make. I find that the more I learn to hear (I'm not one of those endowed with perfect pitch, or even good musical memory of that matter) the more I can get out of my own way when playing.

    I recommend as much theory and particularly ear training to everyone as they can find time to do. And remember, doing ear training can encompass a lot of different activities...here are some that I like:

    - get a friend and play 'call and response' - one player plays a lick, the second player repeats it (another variation is that one player plays a lick, the second repeats it then adds some agreed upon number of notes, say 5; they the first repeats THAT and adds five.

    - I like to watch tv, especially cartoons, and playback some of the hipper things I hear. Movies and CDs work too.

    - play a short riff; sing it in another key; play it in a third key; sing it in a fourth key; etc. etc. etc.

    - if you are setup for multitrack recording. improvise some different things on a track, with space between them. Overdub a second track playing to the material on the first track, etc.

    - play a short riff. Now play it backwards. Upside down. Add notes to the end. Add notes to the beginning.

    - get a few friends over (at least 3 so that you have a total of 4 people). Grab a fake book and pick a tune. Standards are best for this, like 'Lady Be Good'. Each person pick a note (root, 3, 5, 7) and sing the piece as a group, with each person singing their note. VARIATION: Do the same thing, but have the 3rd and seventh people alternate between their notes -- a person sings the root of the first chore and the 7th of the seoncd. Same thing about the root and 5th people.

    - pick good, straight ahead solos (like DExter Gordon) and learn to sing with the solos on record

  3. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

    May 14, 2011
    Hawaian homey
    "If you can't sing it, you can't play it." Untrue.

    I don't want to be misunderstood. Singing is very, very important. But, regarding sight-singing, it's the ability to "hear" in your inner ear what you see on the paper that is the skill you are striving to achieve and singing is a tool in doing that, not the end, itself.

    Example - I have only one vocal cord that works and singing in pitch is almost impossible, and I tend to sing multiphonics, when I do sing. But the process of trying to sing, and internalising the pitches I am going for when I see the written notes, is the skill that has carry-over. Additionally, with years as a writer and conductor, I can hear practically anything I can read. Therefore, the inability to sing it is irrelevant.

    I'm not poo-pooing developing singing skills. What I am doing, is pointing out that the music world is full of these aphorisms that people take as gospel that simply are not. We need to think about them and, instead of taking them at face value, think of the deeper concepts they represent. Applications of a concepts often only work for that one problem at a time. Fundamental concepts often have carry-over value to many other problems, as well. Often times, these aphorisms are (to paraphrase the Buddha) giving significance to the finger pointing at the moon, instead of noticing the moon, itself.

    Practice your singing, but see it as an inner trip to deepening your ability to internalise in your inner ear anything you see written so that, eventually, you won't need the singing as an intermediary step.
  4. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

    May 14, 2011
    Hawaian homey
    @bigtiny. I can't agree with you more about the work on ear training never ending. I took a two-week workshop with New School faculty. My instrument master class with Billy Harper (I was a sax player) wound up with us sitting in a circle for the entire two weeks, passing licks around the circle to each other (e.g. ear-instrument training). My theory class consisted of singing (e.g. ear-eye training) a transcribed Billy Harper solo, measure by measure, and it was a beast. So what did I wind up voluntarily taking as my elective? I actually dropped out of big band with Cecil Bridgewater to take Ear Training (as if the other ear related classes were not enough) with Armen Donelian. And at the end of the two weeks, I was hungry for more.
  5. xjb0906

    xjb0906 Piano User

    May 2, 2009
    Charlotte NC
    The sight singing is intended to develop my ear. It is to allow me to hear the pitches and intervals before I play them.
  6. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

    May 14, 2011
    Hawaian homey
    OLDLOU, that's not necessarily perfect pitch. I could also be "relative pitch", e.g. the ability to identify pitches relative to some point of reference. For many, hearing a tuning note precisely "in tune" is merely the result of considerable repetition over time. (In this case, the point of reference is the tone itself.) Perfect pitch is the ability to identify any pitch without the benefit of a point of reference.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2012
  7. Bill Dishman

    Bill Dishman Piano User

    Nov 22, 2003
    Gainesville, Florida
    Ear training/sight singing is vitally important for many of the reasons already posted.

    A wonderful book I recently obtained is called "Eyes and Ears" by Benjamin Crowell.

    It is an anthology of material that is extremely well organized and covers a variety of styles.

    One important element that I like is the attention paid to rhythm.

    Covers major, minor, diatonic and non-diatonic material.

    FWIW it also makes a great sight-reading book on the horn and also serves as a great transposition book as the vast majority of the material has limited range requirements.

    Bill Dishman
    Gainesville, Florida
  8. JasonW

    JasonW New Friend

    Oct 12, 2012
    I have been using "Sight-Singing" by Hans Oxmond, the original one is in Danish, but it has now been translated. There is only one volume (out of three) available, with the others coming in November. In its entirety, the 3 volumes contain over 700 ear training melodies and exercises. The best part about it is that as you slowly progress, the difficulty increases by just the right amount. I highly recommend it.

  9. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

    Jun 6, 2010

    I also disagree with the phrase, "if you can't sing it, you can't play it." Not true. Obviously.

    How could it be true? All of the trumpeters who have never sung anything refute it. However, I also think it's a great idea. Those intervals are the key to sight reading, according to my ex, the violin teacher. She had the intervals and the way they sound in her head all the time ..... AND, she incorporates singing into the program for young kids on violin. She found it very helpful to her students.

  10. Cornyandy

    Cornyandy Fortissimo User

    Jan 9, 2010
    East Yorkshire
    Just a thought on help for you in terms of sinding interval if this a recuring problem think of or find songs that start witha given interval. once the song is in your head so is the interval

    Here are my basic octave ones
    Major second Do a deer
    Major third Z cars theme
    Perfect 4th Tapps
    Perfect 5th Star Wars
    Major 6th My bonnie lies over the ocean
    Major 7th Maria (west side story)
    Octave Bali Hai

    I still fall back on these if I'm stuck singing at sight.

    For me having sung has added maturity to my playing but the if you can't sing it you can't play it attitude can put people off so I am careful with it

Share This Page