Developing Your Ear

Added on by Greg Anderson.
Hey, Greg!
Not really a pianist. But I am planning on studying music. I'm a junior in high school and have played the trumpet for about 8 or so years. Right now I have my sights set on Duquesne University's music school for music technology. In the audition, you have to pass an aural musicianship exam. I'm told I have a good ear, but I just need to develop it. ...How exactly does one do that? What would you say is the best way? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Dear Rachel,

The best way to develop your ear is to learn to identify and sing intervals - in fact, I'll bet that's exactly what they'll test you on. First practice with a friend. Have him or her play a scale at the piano and then play a note against the tonic pitch. Example: your friend plays a D major scale and then plays a "D" with the "A" above it. Your challenge would be to identify the interval (a fifth). Practice this until you can nail it every time. Then switch it around. Have you friend play a scale and ask you to sing an interval above the tonic pitch. Example: your friend plays a D minor scale and then plays the "D" and asks you to sing a minor third above that. Your challenge would be to sing an "F." Eventually you should be able to get rid of the reference scale beforehand and simply be able to identify and sing random intervals.

Best of luck in your audition!