Ear training experiment

Hey everyone,
Two days a week an intern from my job stays at our home. She plays guitar too, like me. We are going to try an interesting experiment. Every time she’s at our house, we’ll take fifteen minutes for a simple ‘call-and-response’ exercise. We’ll sit back to back and play a simple backing track. Then we’ll take turns playing a simple melody that the other one has to repeat back. We start very simple, just four quarters notes, using only note 1 and 2 of the major scale. If we manage that without problems, we’ll make it a bit more complicated: adding another note, or a slightly longer melody or a rhythm that’s a bit more varied.
It’s like the ‘singing the numbers’ ear training that IfR offers, but without the numbers, just the sounds.

What do you think, will this help? I’ll keep you posted. The intern has no prior experience in ear training :slight_smile:


Hi Michiel. I think it’s a great idea in itself to share what you are doing. It’s also good real time ear training practice. Thanks for posting and sharing what you’re up to. I am a returnee to the IFR method. I’m currently enrolled in the IFR 10 Week ear training course, just into the 10th week now. I look forward to seeing what you post and I’ll get something up here myself when the time is right.


I think it will be a very fun and educational exercise. It would be really nice if you can record a short video showing us how that works out :slight_smile:

I think I recall hearing that sort of thing suggested somewhere or other? Well worth trying I’m sure. Looking forward to hearing how it goes.

Thanks for the positive feedback :slight_smile: I’ll keep you guys posted. She’s wasn’t over this week so didn’t have a change to check it out, but we sure will.

Just tried this exercise on my own using GarageBand. I just recorded a very simple backing track (just me strumming a single chord) and added a drummer. On top of that I played some simple two-note licks using just note 1 and 2 and stopped playing for the same amount of time. After i finished recording, I played it back and tried to repeat my simple licks in the silent spots between the licks.
I quickly found out it’s a lot harder than I thought. I couldn’t play back anything but the simplest of licks. Despite being pretty good at singing the numbers in the first harmonic environment :slight_smile: But there’s no singer here who sings the note names, so that makes it harder i guess.

However, I take it as just a signal I need more practice. For now i’ll stick to playing just quarter notes, for a max number of four notes. I’ve my math is right, that gives a total of sixteen possible melodies :slight_smile: I’m off to practice again, I’ll give an update after my practice session how it worked out and might even post a little mp3 for you to hear what it sounds like.

best of luck!


Ok guys, here is a recording of a small part of my practice session. It’s by no means perfect :slight_smile: but we are all here to learn right?
You’ll hear me play the licks twice. The first time it is me improvising the licks, second time is me trying to repeat by I ear what I played a couple of minutes before.
Let me know what you think!


That’s great! I’d love to try, do you still have the recording, the one without you playing back the licks so I can give it a try? :smiley:

No, I don’t, but that doesn’t matter. I’ll create another one for myself for sure, so I’ll share it here. Not sure when I get to it, so it might be a couple of days. :slight_smile: Help me remember if I forget :wink:

1 Like

Ok guys, it’s been quite a while but here is the promised track. Didn’t have to change to use it myself (the missis wants some attention now :wink: ) but i’m curious to hear what you guys think.
This is in the key of G and uses only note 1 and 2 in the melody.

Thanks, @Michiel_Koers. I just did the exercise. I think it was quite fun. Thank you.

nice to hear :slight_smile:

Thanks for the ‘worked example’. Interesting idea.

I’m wrestling with the sing the numbers/ear training material.

My better half is a shape note/sacred harp singer. It’s interesting to see how different paths lead to similar goals.