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Discussion Starter #1
Anyone else had this happen?

I'm enrolled in theory and ear training at the college freshman level. As someone who has been playing at an advanced, but untrained, level for years now, it is easy in subject matter yet somehow mentally exhausting.

Most of the wear and tear comes from the amount of dumb repetition it is taking to make very small gains. An example: solfège hand signals. An 18yo kid can use them as a guide to help his ear develop. I have a highly developed ear, so I basically have to learn them to fit into the curriculum, in case I want to take the next level of courses. They're no help, just a requirement, and a distracting one. That makes them a real source of stress.

I come home after just two classes wanting to do anything but play my horn or listen to music - things I usually love. What I'm doing now can't be learned by doing those things, and any connection it has is not yet obvious. Music, for now, is not part of a life well lived. It is a department in a building with no windows, where you go to do pointless, annoying things.
 

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Play some blues.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
OK, I'll do it!

One thing blues is - is real. Right now I have to concentrate intensely on things that are not real. Sol-fas are not real. Note spelling is not real. The keys of 7 flats and 7 sharps are not real.

But blues is real - it's you - or it's nothing.
 

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Play along to some of your favs, it usually inspires.
 

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If it's any consolation, I can barely remember learning those stupid hand signals 30 years ago and I can honestly say that I have never used them even once! I can't even remember how to do all of them anymore! We've all been there and we all survived! I always found that unwinding after classes with something other than music seemed to work best with one exception.....jazz! On the days we had ensemble rehearsal I would be able to unwind while rehearsing. Jazz was sufficiently different from solfeges and the like that it was a relaxing relief!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Just wait for the first amateurish arrangement to play! You'll find that 7 flats are actually quite more managable than 9.
Because 5 flats/5 sharps exist, 7 sharps/7 flats exist only to create needless difficulty. The fact that 7 sharps/7 flats are taught in music school is therefore a tacit endorsement of needless difficulty.
 

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Because 5 flats/5 sharps exist, 7 sharps/7 flats exist only to create needless difficulty. The fact that 7 sharps/7 flats are taught in music school is therefore a tacit endorsement of needless difficulty.
That's why it's called theory, and not practice;)
Actually I've encountered 7 #'s and 7 b's only in musicals.

I never managed to learn solfege, either, and fortunately for me the Kodaly hand signals were not popular back when I studied. I would sing the correct pitch about 95% of the time, and say the wrong syllable about 60% of the time.
 

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Even music professors have to pay the bills.[rolleyes]
 

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Aural training is a means to an end- not the end in itself, as many of it's 'experts' would like you to think.
You already play beautifully Paul........

A lot of Kodaly 'experts' are people whose playing I would not want hear.
 

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Also, Kodaly etc is designed to help people developed their ears- you did that by other means so do you really need the course?
 

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Is there any rationale for using them there?
It usually happens when a key modulates from, say, F# to C#. The logic would be that it's easier (both written and cognitively) to add a sharp than to change from 6 sharps to 5 flats. Similarly, it would be wise to keep flat keys when modulating from Gb to Db.

As for why be in F# or Gb to begin with, just ask a vocalist.:)

Sometimes the key goes up by semitone--F ,F#,G. Most writers, when modulating up, will go to sharp keys, rather than, say, f, gb, g.
 

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Are you learning these hand signals as part of a teachers' education program so that you can help children later to learn solfege, or is part of your university's program to help you learn solfege? If it's the latter, and you can already do solfege without the "help" of the hand signals, you are in a pretty stilted program, sorry to say.

When I took theory in an otherwise very traditional era, we had to do the whole nine yards with solfege if we couldn't sight sing well. However, if we could show that we could sing decently, we could use numbers for the pitches (scale degrees) instead of solfege. And if we could sing without any crutches, we were not obligated to use any of them. And this was in a school who's "legit" music courses were hardly otherwise flexible. I feel for you.

I guess this is one of those situations where you just have to keep this bigger picture in mind and suck it up. Keep the faith, baby!
 

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Are you learning these hand signals as part of a teachers' education program so that you can help children later to learn solfege, or is part of your university's program to help you learn solfege? If it's the latter, and you can already do solfege without the "help" of the hand signals, you are in a pretty stilted program, sorry to say.

When I took theory in an otherwise very traditional era, we had to do the whole nine yards with solfege if we couldn't sight sing well. However, if we could show that we could sing decently, we could use numbers for the pitches (scale degrees) instead of solfege. And if we could sing without any crutches, we were not obligated to use any of them. And this was in a school who's "legit" music courses were hardly otherwise flexible. I feel for you.

I guess this is one of those situations where you just have to keep this bigger picture in mind and suck it up. Keep the faith, baby!
Yep. That's why my prof just told me to sing 'la la'. :)
 

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I'm a college math teacher, and one cardinal rule I follow is that there is always more than one way to learn just about anything. I would never dictate the process to a student if his process got results. If you can sight sing, than that's all you need. If you have a problem sight singing, then maybe you should try their process. When I went to music school they had a mandatory process for sight singing (I won't get into it), but it didn't work for me. I found another system that worked and I got pretty good. You might try another professor. Some are more flexible than others. Oh, and yea, play some blues.
 

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One other thing, the process that worked for me was singing number patterns. The Leiberman sight singing book has a whole bunch of them- going from easy to difficult - that include common modulations, etc. It also has the best rhythmic studies I have ever seen. It's cheap too, about $4 used.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I guess this is one of those situations where you just have to keep this bigger picture in mind and suck it up. Keep the faith, baby!
I never "suck it up" unless the person, or institution, is willing to do some of the same.

I have been told it's OK for me to drop ear training this term - don't even need to test out - but that if I want to continue the course I will still have to use the established techniques with more difficult tonal material.

That's good - the program is sucking it up. But it's still a traditional, accredited program, and that demands learning facts without context and skills without meaning. A very big hurdle for me, as much for my work ethic as my skill set.
 

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I had been a jazzer and R&B player in high school, so when I was exposed to theory in college, it was "Oh, I know that!" We'd just called the names of the cords, not the numbers (I, IV, V).

Solfege, didn't do. 7 sharps? All the time when I used an alto in a guitar-centric rock band.

Just because as a college freshman you can't see the utility of something, doesn't mean that it won't be very useful to you later.

If you are taking an inordinate "amount of dumb repetition... to make very small gainsa', then it's probably because you aren't buying into it.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I am not "a college freshman" as such. I'm in my mid 40s and not at all inclined to graciously take on frustrating busy-work because "it will be useful later." Sorry, Professor, I have to be convinced. I don't have the time, or more important, the energy to waste at my time of life.

I learned long ago, as a failed piano student with a precocious ear, that some part of music education is really based on putting the occasional "natural" musician in his or her place. The people who didn't grow up with an ear are resentful of those who did, and have always been resentful. Their way of leveling the field is to make learning the fundamentals harder and drier than it needs to be, and redefine "true musicianship" as the dedication it takes to suck up all that hard dryness.
 
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