Re: Aural Training

Subject: Re: Aural Training
From: huwmcgregor (
Date: Sun Aug 21 2005 - 06:29:11 EDT

Indeed I agree the emphasis must be on the constant evaluation of the
students developments, which is of course integral to course of study.
The 'free' improv class I had in mind was not to include traditional
instruments, for the time being anyway. I have found that to help the
students become more aware of EA music they must approach the medium without
the intrusion of their previous musical knowledge. So to aid their
development in this field I thought the improv class's could start with the
idea of using the computer as an instrument (improvising with software etc),
Lo-fi improvisations, to improvising with sound objects. In some strange way
this seems to make the most sense and in doing so this reversed logical
order would be followed by the first EA recordings.

Please don't get me wrong I'm not excluding their previous knowledge and
experience I wish to hone their abilities....then return to their pervious
knowledge for their own assessment. With all the information these students
take in on a daily basis and of course daily distractions, its a case
funnelling down to a point where they can solely concentrate on a singular
item/object. I also hope will instil some useful disciplines on the way.

I agree with Michel on this matter and try to develop on this a little more
We are not simply trying to develop someone's aural skill or listening
skills or composition skill etc etc.... But trying to develop a balance of
all the individual aspects which makes up a musicean/composer/performer
etc....but overall we promote the individual (I'll leave out the 'balanced'
for now!)

With regards to group analysis I mentioned earlier, I think the students
would take to this form of analysis a little easier. It can again begin a
little lucid with points of direction from the tutor. Listening back to
improvisations they have already performed will give them the sense of
ownership and inclusion over the class, I now this is not so much an issue
at higher education but in further education we must take on the odd student
with no ambitions! The class can then begin to break the improvisation down
into its elements in a slightly unusual way. They will hear a sound played
and try to link the sound to an individual within the group. Once the
performer has been identified a question and answer session can continue
with direction and explanations from the tutor. As the classes become more
concise and developed, they will become more familiar with all aspects of
analysis along with their vocabulary, visual, and listening. With the aid of
sonograms and analysis tools I sure the student will be encapsulated.

I have often found that after improvising and then returning to the
recordings, the overall structure and inclusive elements are not what I
remembered them to be. As I have gone from the scenario of performing to the
point of listening I seem to be pulling on different perceptions from
concentrating on my sound object/instrument within a group to listening to
an overall performance.

>eliot wrote:
>>hearing and rapid conceptualization

I like this term, and I agree it's how we as providers can evaluate these
skills in terms of EA Aural and listening skills that counts.
I think I'm going to have three main evaluations over the year. An initial
assessment. A mid-year assessment and an end of year assessment. Though I
will put in a few others to help navigate and develop the course of study.
There would be an evaluation of three works yet to be identified
(suggestions gratefully received).
I have found that getting the students to evaluate each others works is an
extremely valuable way of assessment, feedback and aural development.

In terms of listening I would like to now if there are teaching material
available to test students with regards to listening in EA terms. One method
I thought was to produce a CD with varying tasks. To include the

Identifying Pitch

With the additional

Mixing and editing
Acoustic analysis

It would obviously be a series of tests but would be a precise method of
individual assessment. If it's out there let me now otherwise I will devise
my own.

On 20/8/05 11:20 pm, "Eliot Handelman" <> wrote:

> huwmcgregor wrote:
>> I am also trying to think of intuitive ways of introducing aural and
>> listening skills to my students at further education level. One possibility
>> of development I thought possible was by free Improvisation, thus developing
>> their ears within a real situation. This will help to speed up their
>> intuitive reactions to listening. Then to develop this further I thought a
>> group analysis which would involve both aural and listening skills. By
>> listening back to their own creation they will have already gained the
>> 'previous knowledge that might help them to push that little bit further.
>> Thoughts on this would be appreciated!
>> huw
> If you're going to be serious about this then you have to work out a
> rigorous way of evaluating
> the effectiveness of different approaches. One sure thing is to test
> students before and after. This hinges on
> a test that captures essential qualities of hearing contributive of
> skill. How do you do this, kevin?
> Maybe this group can help sort out some of those qualities.
> I've spent a long time teaching myself and this is what I've learned.
> For me, hearing and rapid conceptualization
> -- a nicer word than "categorization" -- go hand in hand. As in chess,
> the master recognizes as much as
> possible and uses thinking only at critical moments. So I find that the
> best way to improve hearing is to
> study music in as great detail as possible, not vaguely or a-b-a-ish.
> This is a strong aspect of Kevin's approach,
> and I concur that hearing (like all perception) is an act of active
> analysis . And I think that's what the ear-trainer
> has to basically teach.
> You mention group analysis. How?
> -- eliot

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