Musicians need so many different skills to perfect their craft. For starters, they need self-discipline, good standards, and time management. On top of this, being able to sight read and play by ear are both highly valuable skills to musicians.
Although being able to develop these skills fully will probably take you years of practice, having some basic listening skills are necessary musical skills for college degree completion. Read on to find out how useful ear training exercises can be!
Listen to more music
A great first step towards building your musical skills is to listen to more music. While you’re doing so, consider setting yourself a small test:
Listen to a song via a streaming service, the radio, or any other device. This could be a favorite song or one you’ve never heard of before. Once you’ve listened, switch off the device and see how much of the melody you can remember in your head. Try singing along to this melody, either in your head or out loud.
Congratulations, you’ve just tested your audition! You can build on this skill by playing back any melodies you’ve previously heard on your favorite instrument, or by singing them. The better your audition skills, the more of a melody you’ll probably be able to recall. It’s that simple.
Know the fundamentals of music theory
Music theory helps you to easily identify elements of music when you hear it. Knowing music theory will help you to break down a chord into notes, and hear intervals as well as melodies. You’ll ideally have good relative and absolute pitch, but you might find one easier than the other at the start.
Relative pitch is your ability to identify a melody, and how the notes are relative to each other. Absolute pitch, on the other hand, is your ability to identify notes. There are some simple ways you can practice your appreciation of melody and pitch. For instance:
• Practice interval training: one of the best ways to practice identifying relative pitch is interval training. Find out what key the song is in, and then try to identify the notes in the piece.
• To practice absolute pitch: choose a note that you can identify with ease like middle C. Play this pitch a lot so that you can remember it. Then, practice singing this note without a guide, and see how well you can recall it. After this, you can add this to other pitches, and combine it with your relative pitch training to identify a melody.
When you’re listening to a piece of music, try to identify the chords played, and break down chords into the root note as well as the third and fifth. Record your attempts, and as time goes on, you might find that this is easier and easier.
Investigate and Experiment
Musicianship requires creativity, and what better way to practice your musician skills than to experiment with your learning. Some people find that apps and gamification can help them to learn better.
Learn to produce your own sound
Once you’ve got a good understanding of how a melody is put together, you can start learning how to produce your own sound. Skills like being able to make chords, and relative pitch are really helpful here. You might find that your relative pitch skills grow when you start to write your own music. Being able to write music also requires knowledge of tonality, and your root note, so these are great skills to practice here too.
As a musician, you’ll probably be familiar with sight reading. However, as you might find, a lot of musicians require good ear training exercises as well. This includes being able to hear intervals between notes, pitch, and identifying chords and melodies. Playing alongside other musicians, you’ll be listening out for these basic musical elements all of the time.
Ear training is one of the most fundamental parts of your musicianship. Regardless of which stage you’re at, ear training techniques can help you develop your sense of pitch, melody, and chord progressions. This can help you not only to communicate your musical ideas to other musicians more clearly, but it can also help you to develop your musical ideas. Once you know how to improve your musical skills, the only way is up!