Call and Response Dictations Accelerate Your Ear Training

Call and Response Dictations Accelerate Your Ear Training

By Mattie O'Boyle

Why do Call and Response dictations help you learn music faster?

Well, what is music?

That’s a tricky question, with many different answers, but I believe that any answer must include the word sound. Music has something to do with sound.

So what is sound?

Sounds are produced when an object vibrates; those vibrations cause increases and decreases in air pressure, that humans perceive as sound.

So we can now conceptualize sound as waves that move through the air. Different physical aspects of those waves can be measures objectively; their frequency, amplitude, spectrum and duration.

The frequency gives us pitch, the amplitude gives us volume, the spectrum gives us timbre and the duration gives us length – the perceived space/time the pitch occupies.

Musicians frequently sum up all the above variables into one word – notes. When we play notes consecutively we get melodies and when we play more than one note at the same time we get harmonies – often called chords.

So melodies and harmonies are sound, they a physical phenomenon consisting of the organization of sound waves into what each culture perceives as music. So if we want to play music, that’s where we need to focus, on the sound. Scales, intervals, sheet music and music theory all might be useful concepts for describing different musical systems, but they can not put us directly in touch with the sound – only our ears can do that. So for any ear training system to be as efficient as possible, it must help the learner to focus their attention on perceiving the sound of the notes and chords and then reproducing those sounds accurately.

In other words, the optimal technique for learning to play music is to listen closely to what you are hearing and then listen just as closely to what your are singing or playing. Is it the same? If not make adjustments. To sum up – Call and Response Dictations.

Remember, playing music comes down to listening and reproducing the sounds that you hear. Eventually, you will also be able to listen and play sounds that originate inside of your own mind – which is creating music, composition and improvisation.

As the groovy organist Booker T. Jones said “Time is tight”, so focus your limited practice time on Call and Response Dictations to make the most efficient use of your practice sessions. Always start with simple musical phrases, and once you perfect them slowly add more layers of complexity. Lay a solid foundation and build upon it – in the same the way that most musicians around the globe have been learning to play music for the last 45,000 years or so. Go Old School, focus on Call and Response dictations, and you´ll go further, faster to reach your music goals.

Reel Ear Apps Focus On Call And Response

Call and response dictation is the heart our apps’ design. After you select your variables, and press play, the app creates a random music phrase based on your variables and plays it in time with the metronome.

When the phrase finishes, the metronome will continue and you sing or play back exactly what you heard.

You are actually practicing several skills at once:

establishing and maintaining a constant rhythm

playing what you hear

learning to focus your attention and active listening over sustained periods of time

practicing starting and stopping in time (a critical ability for ensemble playing)

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