Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
140 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I feel like my ears are my biggest weak area/blind spot in my playing right now. It takes me forever to learn anything by ear and I'm pretty hopeless at a lot of ear training exercises. I can do intervals at an okay level but I feel like I'm very bad at the whole ear thing compared to the rest of my ability. What do you guys like to do to work on your ears?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
581 Posts
Keep it simple. Singing pitches and matching them to a keyboard is a great way to start. Visualize the full (and half) steps.
Make up a simple melody and then play it on a keyboard to "see" the intervals.

https://www.becomesingers.com/exercises/practice-re-mi-scales-singing

This may help as well. Just stick with perfect intervals in a Major scale at first.

https://www.liveabout.com/table-of-intervals-2455915

Oh yeah, one more thing . . . . Figure out the "key" of different songs by "humming" along with it. Find the note that sounds like "home". I know, it sounds funny but it will help you tune your brain.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
12,976 Posts
Keep it simple. Singing pitches and matching them to a keyboard is a great way to start. Visualize the full (and half) steps.
Make up a simple melody and then play it on a keyboard to "see" the intervals.

https://www.becomesingers.com/exercises/practice-re-mi-scales-singing

This may help as well. Just stick with perfect intervals in a Major scale at first.

https://www.liveabout.com/table-of-intervals-2455915

Oh yeah, one more thing . . . . Figure out the "key" of different songs by "humming" along with it. Find the note that sounds like "home". I know, it sounds funny but it will help you tune your brain.
The first sentence above is huge. Listen to something. Even one note. Stop the recording and sing the note. If you can't do that then you need to work on that a lot. Play notes on the sax or piano and sing them one note at a time. People think I have great ears because I transcribe so much but I still at times have to stop and sing the note I am hearing to figure out what it is even after all these years. If you are not sure if you are singing the right note then that is also a sign you have to practice this more.

Once you can sing the correct note relatively close to pitch, then try finding it on your sax. You do this by playing a note and then searching for the note you sang. Is the note you sang higher or lower than the note you played, etc..... Over time you get faster and faster at this if you practice it enough. I really wouldn't worry about anything else as far as ear training until you can do these two things really well. Your practicing hearing the note, singing the note and playing the note..........Good Luck!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
581 Posts
Bugs is playing A to C. C is a step and a half above A. A piano keyboard may be the easiest way to learn the 12 tone system.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,758 Posts
Keep it simple. Singing pitches and matching them to a keyboard is a great way to start. Visualize the full (and half) steps. Make up a simple melody and then play it on a keyboard to "see" the intervals.
...
Oh yeah, one more thing . . . . Figure out the "key" of different songs by "humming" along with it. Find the note that sounds like "home". I know, it sounds funny but it will help you tune your brain.
The first sentence above is huge. Listen to something. Even one note. Stop the recording and sing the note. If you can't do that then you need to work on that a lot. Play notes on the sax or piano and sing them one note at a time. ... If you are not sure if you are singing the right note then that is also a sign you have to practice this more.
...
Once you can sing the correct note relatively close to pitch, then try finding it on your sax. You do this by playing a note and then searching for the note you sang. Is the note you sang higher or lower than the note you played, etc...
Really excellent advice. I've been doing this and it's helped me in many ways. Plus, it's fun!
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2009
Joined
·
5,465 Posts
I think daily long tones has helped my ears out alot. I do lots of ear training on sax. (licks or melodies in many keys) and next to no ear training on flute. but my daily long tones (on flute) have married the muscle memory to a specific note and my fingers know a note even if I don't know the key and can't "think " of it So the short answer to your question is memorozed something daily. Maybe a simple melody or a lick in many keys but tying it to a sound and a muscle movement is key K
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2009
Joined
·
5,465 Posts
Also, all the ear training I do is sax specific. I did ear training on piano in college but you want the immediacy of hear note /play note. so going through the additional step of recognizing that its a fifth (or whatever interval) and then fingering it on the sax to me needs to be linked. Piano ear traing is good study but I need the muscle movement of actually playing the note. for me K
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
287 Posts
I feel like my ears are my biggest weak area/blind spot in my playing right now. It takes me forever to learn anything by ear and I'm pretty hopeless at a lot of ear training exercises. I can do intervals at an okay level but I feel like I'm very bad at the whole ear thing compared to the rest of my ability. What do you guys like to do to work on your ears?
You might enjoy this online tool. The melody setting is helpful. Choose the number of notes that you want in the melody and play the same. Try not to look at the starting tone and play all the tones in the example. https://www.iwasdoingallright.com/tools/ear_training/online/#top
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
716 Posts
Get a digital piano and play and sing in pure major and pure minor tunings. I think this really helps, as it is more natural than tempered scales.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,337 Posts
Put on some music you like and figure out how to play along with it. First, you tune your horn to it. Next, you figure out the melody. Then you harmonize. Then you add your own voice and fill in spaces.
+1
That's how you make music.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
457 Posts
+1 for Grumps and Darrell

I put on music I DON'T know and play along with it (various Pandora 'new jazz' stations on shuffle). Improvise over the changes cold without knowing where they're going. Try to get the melody down before the end of the song. Pandora has a replay feature for most songs so you can do it again

Standards are pretty easy, because they tend to go to the same places and you can usually anticipate where something is going to go even if you don't know the tune (hence the old adage "hum a few bars and I'll fake it"). Modern stuff is more challenging, especially Robert Glasper, Alfa Mist, etc. Lots of non-standard progressions, multiple modulations within a measure, etc. Anticipating changes in new modern stuff doesn't work so well, so you have to really listen and feel your way through. It's actually pretty fun.

My ears and fingers are MUCH faster than my brain. In fact, the less I think about it, the better it is. You have to be present in the moment and move with the music almost like interpretive dancing;not thinking about where you're putting your foot, it just goes where it needs to be. If you try to think about what chord/key/scale/mode etc you're in, and then think of what to play, you're already behind.

That's the best, most useful from a 'playing-with-people' type of ear training for me. And it's fun!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,223 Posts
I've found transcribing to be the most helpful thing, and long tones too.
Have recently come across this site which has been fantastic as well: https://tonedear.com/ - haven't been using it long and am already seeing improvement. It's structured so well and extremely easy to use.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,300 Posts
I have a few apps on my phone that I found on the AppStore — the one I use the most is called “RelativePitch ”......nice to have it always with you on the phone
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,300 Posts
Just downloaded Politonus — don’t understand it yet really.....but I love how each app approaches the subject in a different way
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top