This month's activities highlight a skill that is very valuable, but can be tough to teach. So even if you've never worked on this skill with your students--don't worry! Read on for resources to help give your students an introduction to ear training--specifically, playing melodies by ear!
Today I will be sharing resources that will help you to develop basic melodic ear training skills in your students from the very first lesson!
Same, Up, or Down?
This is the first game I play with my students to work on ear training. In this game, I play students a series of 3 notes, and students decide whether the notes are the same or different. You can make this game progressively harder by having students listen for up and down, steps and skips, and by playing multiple groups of notes in sequence. Click HERE to read more and download your free copy (including instructions and printable flashcards).
Once students are comfortable identifying up, down, steps, and skips, have some fun with these "play-by-ear challenge" worksheets! These worksheets give students the first note of a familiar song and ask them to figure out the next several notes by ear.
To really hone your students' melodic ear training skills, the website MusicTheory.net has great, customizable ear training activities that can be done on their website, or offline by purchasing their app Tenuto (which in my opinion is worth every penny). For example:
- "Keyboard Ear Training": students listen to the given pitch and identify the corresponding key on the keyboard. This is a great exercise for students who have difficulty matching pitches. You can customize this exercise to include as many, or as few, notes as you want.
- "Interval Ear Training": great for helping students who have trouble identifying steps and skips. You can also use this to drill intervals of just about any type for your more advanced students.
The website Musicate (also available as an iPad app) is another great resource for ear training exercises. A few of my favorites:
- "Interval Comparison": listen to two different intervals and decide which is larger. This is a great exercise for students who have difficulty differentiating pitches.
- "Melodic Contour": a more sophisticated version of the "same, up, or down" game mentioned above! Students listen to a series of pitches and determine whether each pitch is higher or lower than the previous one.
- "Melodic Dictation": students listen to a short melody and have to correctly identify the notes they hear on the keyboard. You may customize this exercise to change the number of melody notes as well as the largest interval that is used.
What do you think? Do you teach your students to play melodies by ear? Do you have any favorite ear training resources to share? I would love to hear from you in the comments!