ARE YOU MAKING THIS EAR TRAINING MISTAKE? (don’t use interval songs)

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EPIC MOMENTS: 0:10 Ignore the normal interval advice

1:11 Musical Association works for exams, but not real music

2:15 Putting musical association to the test (piano montage)

3:43 The ‘Stepping-Stone Method’ (what I use instead)

5:15 My 4 most common stepping-stone patterns

7:21 The 6 intervals that most music is built of

9:18 How to identify bigger intervals

9:59 How to identify descending intervals

11:11 How to learn your intervals this week

12:04 Free ear training resources

LESSONS NOTES / CLARIFICATION: Let me clarify the message of this lesson: 1. ‘Musical Association’ does not work when transcribing normal music, because it’s very hard to recall melody B while listening to melody A.

(Musical Association only works for 2 notes played in isolation – as in some ear training exams) – and so you shouldn’t waste time memorizing famous melodies for intervals.

2. You should focus on singing the 6 ‘Priority Intervals’ first:

Half-step, whole-step, min 3, maj 3, 4th and 5th.

I’m not saying ‘only learn these’ – my hope is that once you’ve learned these 6 to begin with, that you’ll become hooked, and you’ll go on to learn all 12 intervals by ear. But if you’re new to ear training, and you find intervals daunting – then focus on the 6 Priority Intervals because these will give you the biggest benefit.

3. The Stepping-Stone Method: This is what I use whenever I need to double-check an interval. You don’t have to use this method – but it’s what I’ve always used, I’ve had a lot of success with it and I’ve also noticed other professional musicians use this (when I’ve heard them hum a minor 3rd + whole-step to find the 4th for example).

For most intervals I’m confident that I know the answer – so I don’t need to use the stepping-stone often. But sometimes I need to check an interval that I’m not sure of – in which case I’ll break up the interval into two smaller intervals, and add them together – and I can quickly tell if my answer is correct (it takes me 1-2 seconds). Again, the end goal is to learn the sound of intervals on their own – but in the meantime, while you learn, I’m offering you the stepping-stone method to check your accuracy.

– The truth about intervals. How’s it running guys? Julian Bradley here. Therefore welcomed another chapter of Everyday Ear Training.

So in this chapter I just want to debunk the most commonly held misconception myth when it is necessary to ear civilize. That myth is regarding intervals. A plenty of teaches will tell you that you have to learn all 12 intervals to play music by ear and they’ll likewise tell you that to learn intervals by ear, you were supposed to associate every single interval with a different music than when you’re listening to the music.

You have to recall Happy Birthday or The Bridal March or all of these unrelated melodies to play music by ear.( “Happy Birthday”)( “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”)( “The Bridal March”) So the truth is no one who plays music by ear utilizes this method. I don’t use the method used. I never did use this method. None of my friends who play music by ear utilize the method used. Yet, the method used gets taught and it gets echoed and it gets passed on and it just endures no similarity to how playing music by ear actually runs.( upbeat instrumental music) So the musical association refers to this method of using nursery rhyme and the Happy Birthday theme to remember intervals. Now this method works for one thing only and that is for extending a very basic ear educate exam where an examiner will play a mention on the piano( plays tone) and they’ll ask you to sing a fourth.

You can record the Bridal March music.( hums music) Or perhaps they do it the other way round. They play a fourth and they ask you what interval it is and you try out the different intervals that you’ve learned.( hums Bridal March) Happy Birthday, does it match , no. The Bridal March theme, does it match, yes. So they are able to figure out that it’s a fourth that route and yes it will help you pass a very basic ear train exam.

However, it’s a very different thing to play-act a single interval in isolation outside any musical context, simply a single interval on its own. That it is a very different thing to actually listening to real music like this.( plays different musics on piano) And when you’re listening to real music, it’s very hard to conjure up in your brain the clangs of these melodies to think of Happy Birthday, to think of Greensleeves, to think of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. It’s very hard to do and it’s unnatural to do and it actually spoils the listening suffer if you’re trying to army yourself out of the piece of music that you’re listening to and trying to recall Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

So to summarize, I don’t think musical association operates. I have never met a professional musician who sings nursery rhyme to recall intervals. And the method that I have noticed professional musicians use is the Stepping-Stone Method. That’s what I use.( upbeat instrumental music) So the method that I use to identify intervals by ear is what I call The Stepping-Stone Method. So whoever said that you only have to use the two tones of the interval to figure out the interval. Why not get a bit resourceful and creative and just sing a road between those two mentions. So instead of singing da-da da-da da-dah-da da-da-da, and in such a case I realize that I’m singing up a minor triad and I know that the interval interval of a minor chord is a fifth. So I’m singing up a minor third and then a major third. And I can add those two together and I can calculate that this interval is a fifth.( hums while playing notes) Or I could have chosen a different interval route. I could’ve sung a major chord.( hummings while playing chord) Or I could’ve use multiple notes.( hums while playing mentions) And I could’ve utilized all sorts of different interval courses to establish my lane to the bigger interval.

( hums while playing mentions) I mean I could even simply sing up the scale.( sings the scale)( upbeat music) So here are some common stepping-stone routes that I use every day when I’m transcribing. Half step and whole step, there isn’t a stepping stone, these are just the smallest two intervals. And I suggest that you only read these. I would suggest that you don’t even bother trying to use Happy Birthday or just focus on learning the sound of the whole step and discovering the tone of the half stair. I just practised singing the half step which is probably the smaller interval you can sing.( sings interval) Or for me, the smaller interval I can imagine is the half pace. So if I sing up the smallest interval I can imagine, it results in singing a half step. And then for the whole step, I’ll simply sing up a tone and anytime I tell myself to merely sing up a note, it ever comes out as a whole step.( sings tune) And the whole step is likely the most natural of all intervals to sing. We’ve been singing whole steps for as long as we’ve been singing.

( sings) But for the minor third, I will sing a whole step and a half step.( sings) Next up the major third, I will sing two whole steps.( sings) For the fourth, I will sing a minor third and a whole step.( sings melody) And then for the fifth, I will sing a minor triad.( sings music) And really, that summarizes up everything I do when I identify intervals.( upbeat music) So first of all, let me simplify intervals. First of all, you don’t have to learn all 12 intervals by ear. The truth is that most tunes only use six intervals. I mean for example when was the last occasion you heard a melody that played a major seventh? Or a minor seventh? Or even a major sixth? Or a minor sixth? It’s very rare to hear these bigger intervals. And in fact, most melodies never hop beyond a fifth in a single leap.

So usually this is going to be the most difficult interval that you hear in a tune and that basically leaves us with the intervals of fifth and smaller omitting the tritone. Because this interval is also very rarely used. And yes there are a few songs which do use the tritone. There’s the West Side Story theme which made a feature of the tritone. But apart from a handful of anthems which do use the tritone, it is very rare to hear the tritone in a melody and again the reason is that it’s very hard for humans to sing and ultimately compose as one musicians to be able to sing their music back. That’s how songs get popular.

So for that reason, most composers avoid applying the bigger intervals and the tritone. And that leaves us with merely six intervals which are the half stair. The whole step. The minor third. The major third. And then the fourth. And the fifth. And to play most music by ear, you simply have to learn the tone of these six intervals.( upbeat music) And the truth is that when you master these smaller intervals, you can actually use these intervals to identify the bigger intervals because you merely sing a combination of the smaller intervals. So for a minor sixth, you can get creative, sing up a fifth or sing up a minor chord. Da da dah da. And then add a half pace( sings ). Same for the major sixth( sings ). Just add a whole step. For a minor seventh, you could just sing up a minor seven chord( sings ). And the same moves for any interval.( upbeat music) Now you might be wondering well okay, that’s for ascending intervals.

Do I likewise have to learn these six intervals descending as well? Well in the long run, I do suggest that you hear intervals descending as well because it will help with your improvisation and whether it wishes to compose, it helps that it was possible to sing descending intervals. Now you can use the Stepping-Stone Method for descending intervals as well like this.( sings interval) However, when it comes to merely transcribing sungs by ear, you actually don’t have to identify descending intervals. Because if you do hear a descending interval like this for example( plays tones ), well you are able to turn these two tones backwards and sing them the other way around so you go like this( sings and plays notes ).

And then I can figure out that it’s a fourth. So if you don’t want to identify descending intervals, well you don’t actually have to. You can always merely do this trick of thinking of them backwards the other space so that you figure it out as an ascending interval instead.( upbeat music) So homework assignment, the coming week I want you to focus on one interval a day and I want you to practice singing these intervals away from your instrument and to decide on a time of day that you’re going to do this, a ritual. Could be every time you park your vehicle, expend 30 seconds singing. Could be when you launder your hands. Could be when you brush your teeth.

These can be the places that you practice singing intervals. You don’t have to practice it for long, merely 30 seconds is fine. But then to do that several times throughout the day. So that’s it for this occurrence of Everyday Ear Training. I hope this one is contributing to. If you have a question about ear instruct, please post it in the comments below. Your questions are going to feed the next video and the next video. So let me know your questions below and if you enjoyed this video, I’d truly appreciate a thumbs up. So that’s it for this one and I’ll see you next time. And if you’d like more information on ear educate, you can go to It’s my website. There’s a ton of free information. You can go through my free video series on ear qualify which shows you how to practice ear teaching the right way and how not to practice ear training. You can also sign up for ear teach email tips-off from me. These will be weekly emails which challenge you to transcribe songs by ear.

And of course if you’d like to take my complete flagship track in ear civilizing which is the Musical Ear course, they are able to sign up for the wait list at and I’ll notify you by email when I next open enrollment. So that’s it for me, thank you for having see, and I’ll see you in the next session of Everyday Ear Training ..

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