Boards.ie uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Click here to find out more x
Post Reply  
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
11-03-2019, 13:49   #1
Leo Fatkar
Banned
 
Leo Fatkar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 33
Can learning scales decrease one's aural ability?

It's piano that I'm learning. If often feel many student are blue in the face from practicing scales, and don't feel any better. Too many teachers are only concerned about speed and technique. I feel what happens with learning scales is that you become so used to playing certain notes, that as soon as you hear a note from outside of such a scale, you instead end up playing a note in the scale that's usually right next to the actual note you heard.

Sometimes when I slow down melodies and try to play them by ear, this can happen. When an unexpected note is heard, there's a very weak voice in my head guiding me towards it. But unfortunately the voice of habit in my head, is a lot stronger, and guides me towards the next note in the scale. The problem with this, is that even if you develop your ear and both voices in your head are equally as strong, it's still confusing because your brain is being given two different messages. Always what happens me, is tha it's only as soon as I hit the wrong note that I realise how obvious the mistake I made was.

In other words, if I play fast I'll sometimes get the wrong notes. Sometimes I get them wrong even if they are in the scale... because I'm so used to the pentatonic scales and basic arpeggio patterns. I've a very good ability to play all the correct notes when I play what I hear very slowly. I feel that my muscular memory ability is way way ahead of my aural ability. It makes me wonder if in many ways it would be easier to learn piano as a blind person in certain respects.

In a way, shouldn't an aspiring musician be trained to the sound of intervals before learning any scales. I also think that as soon as someone is introduced to a scale, their ear should be challenged with melodies from that scale. With myself, when I started with guitar teacher, it was always a case learning scales of by heart and then practicing guitar solos by tab. I think it might have had something to do with how he just had fantastic ability to get any melody by hear, and therefore he took it for granted that anyone would have this ability. When I tried to ask him to do ear training, he would only do a little bit, but would mostly deflect and avoid from it.

Is this issue dealt with in music teaching? I'm surely not the first person to mention it. The other issue that I never seem to hear mentioned, is how misleading melodies can be to a beginner. For example, if I hear a melody that's based on a minor chord it could trick me into thinking a major 2nd interval is a minor 3rd. And sometimes in jazz music, a major third interval can be made sound so dissonant that I often think it might be a tritone. I guess it's just a matter of getting used to it. And if anyone's interested, some intervals that I typically mix up would be: tritones with minor sixths, 4ths with 5ths, 5ths with major 6ths, and major 6ths with major 7ths. But I only mix up these intervals when they are disguised within a melody, otherwise I can hear them clear as day.

It's hard to find melodies that follow unpredictable key changes that are very challenging, but that's what I think I need to immerse myself in to improve. At the moment I'm trying 'Fugace' by James Galway.

So does anyone else feel this way? Or is it just me?!

Thanks for reading

Last edited by Leo Fatkar; 11-03-2019 at 13:57.
Leo Fatkar is offline  
Advertisement
12-03-2019, 14:26   #2
KeithTS
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 633
I think you're over thinking a lot of this stuff.

If you're learning scales, you aren't forced to simply play up and down that scale.
It's useful to do so and you'll benefit from the muscle memory and so on from doing this but, you should also be testing yourself by listening to the intervals and learning what they sound like. Play the scale in different orders, across different octaves and so on. Play and enjoy finding out how things sound!

You seem to have a good grasp of a weak point of your playing. So practice that.
You don't need a piano teacher to sit with you and tell you to learn the sound of each interval. If you don;t know it, and you want to, practice it.

A certain amount of responsibility should be on the student to identify what they need and dive into it and learn it.
A teacher can guide you, show you technique and where you may need improvement but your teacher can't know what's in your head so talk to them about it and they can point you towards exercises or pieces that will help you.

"if I hear a melody that's based on a minor chord it could trick me into thinking a major 2nd interval is a minor 3rd", the piece isn't tricking you, your ears are and you'll get better at picking these things out as you practice and improve.
KeithTS is offline  
13-03-2019, 14:11   #3
Leo Fatkar
Banned
 
Leo Fatkar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by KeithTS View Post
I think you're over thinking a lot of this stuff.

If you're learning scales, you aren't forced to simply play up and down that scale.
It's useful to do so and you'll benefit from the muscle memory and so on from doing this but, you should also be testing yourself by listening to the intervals and learning what they sound like. Play the scale in different orders, across different octaves and so on. Play and enjoy finding out how things sound!

You seem to have a good grasp of a weak point of your playing. So practice that.
You don't need a piano teacher to sit with you and tell you to learn the sound of each interval. If you don;t know it, and you want to, practice it.

A certain amount of responsibility should be on the student to identify what they need and dive into it and learn it.
A teacher can guide you, show you technique and where you may need improvement but your teacher can't know what's in your head so talk to them about it and they can point you towards exercises or pieces that will help you.

"if I hear a melody that's based on a minor chord it could trick me into thinking a major 2nd interval is a minor 3rd", the piece isn't tricking you, your ears are and you'll get better at picking these things out as you practice and improve.
Thanks
Leo Fatkar is offline  
17-06-2019, 12:02   #4
Problem Of Motivation
Banned
 
Problem Of Motivation's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 381
Quote:
Originally Posted by KeithTS View Post
I think you're over thinking a lot of this stuff.
If you spend years practicing something and not improving, it's time to start questioning. The advice you will then get, is "you need practice".
Quote:
Originally Posted by KeithTS View Post
"if I hear a melody that's based on a minor chord, it can trick me into thinking that a major 2nd interval is a minor 3rd"

the piece isn't tricking you, your ears are and you'll get better at picking these things out as you practice and improve.
Never the less, it's an interesting point.
Problem Of Motivation is offline  
Post Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Remove Text Formatting
Bold
Italic
Underline

Insert Image
Wrap [QUOTE] tags around selected text
 
Decrease Size
Increase Size
Please sign up or log in to join the discussion

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search



Share Tweet