Welcome to part 3 of this series of lessons on using singing to train your ears. So far we’ve covered why singing is the number one tool for ear training and 3 reasons why there’s no need to be afraid of singing, even if you sound like a strangled cat.
In this lesson I’ll give you an exercise you can use to learn to sing in tune if you find it difficult.
You may have been told that you’re tone-deaf and you may have believed that that’s just the way you’re made. Luckily I can tell you that simply isn’t the case! If you can’t sing in tune it means one simple thing: you don’t know what it sounds like when you match a note with your voice.
Curing your tone-deafness is simply a matter of learning what that sounds like. And the exercise below will do just that. If you start with this exercise today you should be able to pitch individual notes and even simple melodies within a couple of weeks. Then you’re ready to move on and use singing to train your ears in any way you’d like!
This exercise is simple. It’s all about getting feedback so you know that you’re singing the same note that you’re hearing.There are two ways to get that feedback.
Either with a friend or with a tuner.
With a friend
Find a friend that can comfortably sing in tune. There are two steps to this exercise.
Step 1: Sing a note. Then get your friend to sing the same note. Listen to the way that it sounds when you are both singing the same note, and try to remember the way that the two notes resonate together.
Step 2: Get your friend to sing a note. Then try to match it. Try to find the sound you heard earlier, when your friend copied the note that you sang. Get them to tell you whether you need to go higher or lower until you hit the correct note.
With a Tuner
Play a note on a piano, guitar, or any other instrument.
Try to sing that note.
Use a tuner to check that you’re singing the correct note. If you don’t have one, you can download a tuner app onto your smartphone very cheaply and easily.
Shift the pitch of the note you’re singing until you are singing the correct note.
Now hold the note, and listen to the way that the note you’re singing sounds in relation to the note you have played.
Repeat the whole process with another note. Pick one that’s nearby to make it easier.
You can practice either with a friend or a tuner (or both). Regardless of which method you use, you should find that with a little bit of time practicing like this, you’ll be able to sing a note that you hear accurately.
When you’re getting started the key is doing this regularly. Every day or even twice a day for a couple of days will get the ball rolling. As soon as you start to become familiar with the sound of your voice matching a note that you’ve heard you can get rid of your friend (who needs em anyway right?) or the tuner and start trying to sing simple melodies.
As soon as you feel confident that you can sing even a few notes in tune you’ll get a lot out of doing some ear training. Training your ears will improve your singing further, make it easier to work out music by ear and make everything you do as a musician easier.
Click here to find out more about how ear training will simply transform your playing and how you can succeed with it as quickly as possible.
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