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One of the most important skills every musician needs to develop is the ability to listen and recognize all things musical. It seems that some people pick this up naturally but to most of us it can seem very mysterious.
The goal of this series is to help you improve your ear training capabilities by focusing on individual parts at a time.
Ear Training really consists of multiple components: picking out melodies, hearing chord changes (harmony), and even sight singing a written melody. This series will eventually address many of these different aspects but we get started with simple melodies in a single key.
Phase I – C Major Exercises: We start with melodic fragments all taken from a one-octave C scale in first position on the guitar. It would be good to review the scale as well as the chords in a major key as you start this phase.
These scale exercises will be presented playing through them entirely in the first segment, followed by a second one consisting of each exercise played individually with breaks for the student to try to play what they heard.
Then each set of exercises will conclude with a “Check It” segment discussing what you hopefully heard. An attachment with each exercise written out is provided, but I recommend doing as much as you can without consulting the answer sheet.
This phase of the series continues with similar exercises in the key of D Major. The melodies still only use notes from the one-octave D scale in first position but they are a little more diverse than the C Major exercises.
The Key of E extends our scale to two octaves, giving us a wider range of notes to consider and keep track of. We have arpeggios again, along with some bigger jumps among the scale tones.
The Exercises in G Major continue with steps, skips, and arpeggios using almost three octaves that are easily accessible on the guitar. There is a wider range of melodic variations in this section built on the earlier sections in C, D, and E.
We finish up the five common Major keys for guitar with A. This lesson starts with a few scale variations and reviews the chords in the key, then goes into only two Exercises with more harmonic emphasis rather than the melodic exercises in the previous lessons.