Improving ear training
By Vidas Pinkevicius (get free updates of new posts here)
One of our subscribers was wondering whether or not my Melodic Dictation Master Course Level 1 is a good fit for her.
These types of dictations are being taught at National Ciurlionis School of Arts in Vilnius, Lithuania where I teach.
Right from the start, from Grade 1 students start writing short 2 or 4 measure phrases. The teacher would play the melody several times quite slowly and the student would write it down without looking at the keyboard.
The treble A is given with the tonic chord of it's key. If you know the circle of fifths, you can discover how many accidentals does this major or minor key have.
So basically is a process of notating on paper what you hear.
Later we make the melodies longer - 8 measures.
Different keys, different meter signatures.
In Grade 6 we add a a second voice.
In Grade 7 we add simple chromaticisms.
In Grade 8 the second voice moves to the bass clef.
In Grade 9 we have modulations and temporary tonicisations during the dictation.
In Grade 10 we start 3 part dictation.
In Grade 11 the dictation further complicates and in Grade 12 it's like a small polyphonic composition in 3 parts, maybe like an exposition of the fugue.
Usually the dictation is played as many times as there are measures plus a couple more times to edit it.
I have to point out that dictation is only 1/5 of the activities our school does in ear training.
The other 4 are:
1. Singing 1 part or Two part or Three-part melodies (one voice is sung and the rest are played.
2. Sight-reading one one-part melody.
3. Singing elements of musical language: tetrachords, scales, modes, intervals, chords, and chord progressions.
4. Listening and writing down the above elements of musical language.
In the 9th grade we start music theory and in Grade 10 - Harmony.
In the end the student becomes a complete musician because they can understand music that they see, hear and play on a deep level. Some of them go on to create and improvise music of their own instead of just performing what others have written.
Hope this helps to decide if this course would work for you.
[Thanks to Dolly]
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
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