Hello everyone, it’s that time of year when ear training finally takes a front seat at the exam prep list, since we’ve been procrastinating developing this skill in favor of hammering through different repertoire lists!
Despite how many times I nag students to make this a regular part of their practice, it never fails to snowball in spring before June exam season. Music and the ear are really tight; when we train this skill regularly and quickly, we make tremendous progress. It’s really worth plugging away at slowly but steadily.
But human nature–ergo procrastination–gets in the way and we are always stuck working this skill out at the last minute!
When I can’t identify an interval instantly, I’ve always counted the number of pitches between notes to determine it’s size by quickly singing a scale mentally; I’ve never found the abstraction of a song to be helpful, but everyone is different. They certainly work!
I think one of the reasons I never found songs to be helpful is because, as a first generation Italian-Canadian whose first language is Italian, the song list used when I was a young piano student in the 1980s had no connection to me. For a descending fifth, I was to use the song “Feelings”. For a third and fifth above, the syllables “Mich-ael Roe”. I didn’t know either of these songs.
Fortunately today with the internet there are many places we can find interval song generators – you can read through a list, pick the song that you actually recognize, and the the web-based app builds you an interval cheat sheet! Here is my favorite short & simply one: I hope you like it!
Good luck on your exam prep. But, for Pete’s Sake, PLEASE log in to the RCM each practice period for FIVE MINUTES to practice intervals and playback!!