As you learn how to play your instrument, from time to time you will have moments where you recognize a part of another song in what you just played. For example, say you're working on the solo from Sunshine of Your Love by Cream and you recognize something familiar about how Eric Clapton kicks off the solo. Well, check out Blue Moon to see if you can hear the similarity.
Developing your ear, as a musician, takes work. It is a great skill to have for learning songs when you don't have the sheet music or to tread water at an open jam session when the band is playing in a key you've never practiced in your life.
To develop good ears, you first have to make them as much a priority as the development of your playing skills. What I mean by that is you must build time into your practice routine that is dedicated to some form of ear training.
Once you carve out a piece to time for ear training, what's next?
There are several areas you can (and will eventually) focus on when ear training. Interval recognition is a good place to start. The distance between one note and another is called an interval. On your guitar neck, one fret to the next (ex. 3rd fret to 4th fret) is a half step, but we can also call it a minor 2nd interval.
Think about the JAWS theme, dun-DUH, dun-DUH, dun-DUH. That is a minor 2nd interval. Go ahead, try it on your guitar. Play the low E string then the F on the first fret. Repeat. Hear the JAWS theme? Can you see the benefit of knowing how to find one note to the next?
With study, you can identify intervals by their sound. Ever seen Star Wars? The first two notes after the intro are a Perfect 5th apart. How about Star Trek, the original series. The first two notes are a minor 7th apart.
You'll need to work them in descending order as well. Ever heard the Star Spangled Banner? I know you have. The first two notes are a minor 3rd interval. How about the next note? It's a Major 3rd from the second note.
With study, you can then take this aural skill and apply it when learning chord progression, solos, bass lines, etc. It is a necessary skill to have if you want to be the best musician you can be.
If you're in the Panama City Beach area and want to work on developing your ears, email or call and we'll get to work!
Blue Heron Music Studio is located in Panama City Beach, Florida.
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