Having great ears is an important asset for a jazz musician or any kind of musician to have. That’s why working on ear training fundamentals is so important. Working on fundamentals such as intervals, chord and chord progression recognition helps train our ears to a deeper level.

I’ve gone over interval recognition before in a previous lesson, and if you aren’t familiar with recognizing the sounds of intervals both ascending and descending, I would encourage you to take or interval recognition test.

Today’s lesson goes a little bit deeper. This is what I would consider step 2 for really getting your intervals unlocked. This is just a small taste of a new Ear Training Course we are working on, which will be coming out in the Fall of 2017.

It’s one thing to be able to recognize the sound of intervals, but it’s another thing to be able to sing them. The act of producing an interval from a reference note (the first note played) ensures that you truly have those sounds in your ear.

Singing, whistling, humming, whatever allows you to produce sound is a powerful connecting tool for your ear.

You may have heard it said before “If you can sing it, you can play it.” Well, perhaps you heard that and brushed it off because, really? You’ve tried singing a musical line before and when you got to your instrument it didn’t automatically translate. And that’s true, that’s another step altogether in ear training. That’s half of the battle. But the most important half is hearing. And if you can sing it that means you can hear it.

So let’s put you to practice! Again, you will want a decent foundation in recognizing intervals before you sing them.

A classic ear training exercise is to be prompted to sing a particular interval, play a reference note, sing the interval and then play the second note to check if you were correct.

So I’ve made tracks for all ascending intervals (higher in pitch from the reference note). Descending intervals are important as well, but for now, we will focus on ascending.

How it works:
Under the headings for the given intervals, there are audio players. When you press play you will hear a reference note. Your job is to sing the interval ascending from that reference note. You will have some space to sing, whistle or hum the interval, and you will hold out that pitch until you hear the second note played. If you matched the pitch that means you are correct! If not, you need some practice. If you need more time to produce the interval, just press pause on the player.

Time to practice! Let’s do this.

Unison

Listen to the reference note, sing and hold the given interval until you hear the second note played. Did you get it right?

Minor 2nd

Listen to the reference note, sing and hold the given interval until you hear the second note played. Did you get it right?

Major 2nd

Listen to the reference note, sing and hold the given interval until you hear the second note played. Did you get it right?

Minor 3rd

Listen to the reference note, sing and hold the given interval until you hear the second note played. Did you get it right?

Major 3rd

Listen to the reference note, sing and hold the given interval until you hear the second note played. Did you get it right?

Perfect 4th

Listen to the reference note, sing and hold the given interval until you hear the second note played. Did you get it right?

Tritone

Listen to the reference note, sing and hold the given interval until you hear the second note played. Did you get it right?

Perfect 5th

Listen to the reference note, sing and hold the given interval until you hear the second note played. Did you get it right?

Minor 6th

Listen to the reference note, sing and hold the given interval until you hear the second note played. Did you get it right?

Major 6th

Listen to the reference note, sing and hold the given interval until you hear the second note played. Did you get it right?

Minor 7th

Listen to the reference note, sing and hold the given interval until you hear the second note played. Did you get it right?

Major 7th

Listen to the reference note, sing and hold the given interval until you hear the second note played. Did you get it right?

Octave

Listen to the reference note, sing and hold the given interval until you hear the second note played. Did you get it right?

How did you do? It can be difficult to sing intervals and it takes some practice. Be sure to share how you did in the comments below!

30 Days to Better Jazz Playing

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