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Ear Training Using Familiar Songs

You might have seen how artists teach students to draw a bird using familiar basic shapes.  The head can be drawn from using a simple circle and a triangle, the body can be an oval, and so on. This method helps the artist focus on the main shapes of the animal, person or scene they are trying to draw without getting overwhelmed with the details.  The same concept applies with learning songs.  Although a melody or bass line can seem difficult to discern when listening, it’s helpful to simplify the line and learn to apply some familiar and basic melodies we already have in our heads.  A Melody is simply a series of notes that move in pitch and rhythm to create a pleasing musical phrase.

However, just as every image is made up of familiar shapes, melodies are made up of familiar note, or pitch intervals.

An interval is the distance between 2 notes.  As I show in this video, we number each note in the major scale and show how intervals between the 1 and 5 (a 5th) is used in Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, but also many other songs.

When we recognize this 5th interval in Twinkle, Twinkle and can sing it or reproduce it on our instrument, then we will begin to hear and identify it when used in other songs.

The idea is to be able to do this with as many intervals as you can identify and reproduce.  In this video I talk about

2:00 – The 5th interval (with a 6th added) in Twinkle Twinkle.

5:00 – How to apply the melody of Twinkle Twinkle to Bethel’s Lion and the Lamb

7:35 – The 4th as in the first 2 notes of Amazing Grace (a-ma) , or Here Comes the Bride,

9:30 – Major 3rd using It’s A Small World, Swing Low Sweet Chariot

14:32 – Minor 3rd using Hey Jude

Finally, this process will ONLY be learned by working with it regularly.  Our ears will never be “trained” to identify and apply these basic intervals if we don’t work at it.  All that the videos on YouTube can do is inform and teach.  However the practice and hard work must be done by each of us.  Be patient and stay with it.  You’ll get it!