What is Aural Training? – Why do music students need it?

Aural or Ear Training is a fundamental skill strongly recommended by the Music Chamber for every musician whether an early beginner or a professional. It helps them know for sure what notes they are hearing and whether the rhythm or pitch is correct and how they can improve it.

In simpler terms, aural or ear training is like building a bridge between the language of music and the sounds that are designated by that language. The more we train our ear to recognize this connection, the better we get at playing music, because we learn to understand what we play and to anticipate musical structures.

In addition to taking Music Theory lesson, Aural training is essential for student who will be taking the music exams because this is also an important part of the exam. Aural training is a mandatory course in virtually all music schools around the world. It covers pitches, intervals, chords, scales and modes, chord progressions and cadences and rhythm.

What are the benefits of ear training?
• Transcribe melodies and chords by ear
• Improve your rhythmic skills
• Improve your singing skills
• Improve your intonation
• Improve your ability to tune your instrument
• Improve your musicality
• Interact with other musicians more easily
• Compose music faster
• Sing on pitch

Teachers at the Music Chamber observe that aural training also improves our students’ sight-reading skills which together account for 39 marks out of the total 100 marks to pass the ABRSM exams. We notice that students who are strong in aural training and sight-reading usually score Distinction in the exams. The reason is not only the high score in these two subjects — 14 for aural and 21 for sight-reading – but because it improves the musicianship of our students, allowing them to better understanding and deliver the music pieces, which in total account for 90 marks.

ABRSM Aural Training Book

The aural training exams is done on the piano and covers all instruments – all piano teachers at the Music Chamber are qualified to teach this material. Of course, individual lessons are preferable because they are more focused and tailored to each student’s needs and capabilities. But group lessons can be lots of fun and more economical for the families. The volumes come in three groups covering Grades 1-3, 4-5 and 6-8, along with CD recordings of all practice exercises, and examples in two or more parts, presented by an ABRSM examiner.

We have found that it is much easier and more practical to divide our students into three different groups rather than put them all in one group. This is allows students to learn from each other.

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