Extended exercises for SINGING THE NUMBERS

Very nice, Mireia. I might start doing this. Thank you!

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These are great suggestions.
I’ve just finished the Sing the Numbers 1 course and really enjoyed working through it.

For my practice routine, I created a video version of each lesson with an image of the map from each so that I can follow along as I sing with Mireia.
I then created a full set of subtitles to go along with the video (which I can switch on or off) to display each sequence just before its spoken. I then sing it first and hear it back, confirming that i got it right.
Lastly, I made a second set of the audio tracks and replaced Mireias voice with piano to create a matching set of “feel the numbers” tracks, along with a second set of subtitles to show the number sequence just after I sing it - again to confirm I get it right.
I combined them all into one video track for each lesson so I can switch between hearing the numbers or piano and seeing subs either before or after they are sung/played (or not at all).
It worked really well and was a big key in my progress I think (along with practicing 3 times a day!)

Having completed the singing portion of the course, I will now go back and work through the lessons with just the piano audio so I can try to more accurately associate the sound of the notes to the map.

Thanks for a great course Mireia.

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Welcome to the Forum @Paul

Wow! That’s very impressive. I thought I was pretty organised with my sets of playlists, but you’ve gone even further. :smiley:

A pleasing reward for all your preparation & hard work, I hope. Thanks for describing your approach. :smiley:

I’ll tag @MireiaClua & @ImproviseForReal (David Reed) on this in case either would like to comment.

@paul. What a nice, creative approach. You clearly have better tools than I do… I wouldn’t know how to do that.

These days I’m doing my ear training like this. I’m a piano player. Each day I do my technical exercises like scales, arpeggios etc in a different key. For ear training, I very slowly play some variation of 1, 4, and 5 chords in left hand, and slowly sing an improv melody (sung as numbers of that key) over that, playing along with my right hand. Right hand has to play just after the sung note. Working good so far.I plan to branch out into more fancy chord progressions at some point.

Thanks for the welcome @DavidW

I’ve been a lurker for a while after finding out about IFR.
It seems like a great little community - I’m glad to be here.

Maybe I went a bit over the top lol, but it definitely worked for me! :slight_smile:

Hi @Paul, thanks for sharing these fantastic innovations. Being able to create your own practice tools is an important part of your autonomy as a musician, so I love your example of taking personal responsibility for creating the things you would enjoy having. We do include “Feel the Numbers” tracks in our video course Ear Training for Musical Creativity, but we never even thought of your ingenious system for adding captions beforehand to turn the “Sing the Numbers” tracks into “Feel the Numbers” exercises. Even beyond the specific value of this solution, your ability to clearly see the problem and imagine potential solutions to it reveals a clear understanding of the skills we want to develop. Just having that clear understanding of the goal is 90% of achieving it, so I was very happy to see this discussion. Thanks @DavidW for tagging me! - David

@hender99 That sounds like a solid routine for practice.
I’m a guitar player myself, but have neglected getting an instrument involved very much at this stage.
It has just been easier to find the extra time for practice when I don’t need to have a guitar.
Now I feel I have a good grip on the first harmonic environment (singing the numbers wise), I definitely want to incorporate adding “playing the map” into the mix too.
Thank you for your initial post which was what gave me the idea to do the videos in the first place!

Hi @ImproviseForReal , my pleasure.
I think I read Mireia post somewhere regarding the FTN tracks that the act of actually creating them yourself can really help in the whole learning process. I think I really felt that, having to create the piano parts to match the vocal and to sync them up along withe the captions required multiple run throughs, which I’m sure helped to embed the sounds into my brain!
After making seemingly little progress for a long time now, its exciting to have found IFR and to feel that I am making some headway now.
Thank you David

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@Paul The other thing I do is take to the piano my “written down paper rendering of the Sing the Numbers melodies” and just try to sing several of the short phrases in the key of the day. (I point to the notes on the piano as I sing the numbers, and occasionally press down to keep myself in tune). Getting better at this after several weeks. I guess it really does just require practice, if its the right kind of practice.

@hender99 That’s a good idea. I did do a similar exercise initially by singing the number over of the jam tracks in random keys.
The reason I went with creating subtitles over just having it written down (which I did do initially) was that if I wanted to stop and go back, I would lose my place in the list of numbers too easily. It’s also very easy to repeat a section in a video on a loop, if you want to concentrate on a small group of numbers.

I think using the various techniques outlined in this thread with the STN lessons definitely helps (well, it did me at least) to fast track my progress with them.

Do you use STN 2 and 3?
I’m hesitant to move onto STN 2 too soon, for fear of confusing myself on what I have already learned in the first harmonic environment.

@Paul . While I own STN2&3 I am not yet an active user of them. I think you know in your bones when it’s time to move on and time to stay put.

I admit that I have a bad habit of rushing ahead in order to check off a box and say “finished that one”. I think I learned that in grad school where you couldn’t survive the pace if you didn’t do most things superficially. But now I’m retired and have all the time in the world to go deep.

I’ve had STN2 & STN3 since they came out, but STN1 is very much still my main resoiurce (combined with the FTN tracks from 'Ear Traning for Musical Creativity").

I do have all of STN3 and a selection from STN2 on my ‘IFR MIx Tape’, a mixed suite of IFR tracks that I have on an old 1MB ‘Creative Zen’ mp3 player that’s so small & old I can take anywhere & not be too bothered about.

The Mix Tape contains all of STN1, environments 1, 5 & 6 of STN2, all of STN3 and a host of IFR ‘progressions’ (e.g. jam track sets like Pure Harmony Essentials, but also jam tracks from various IFR courses, just one key for each example). The tracks are set into an almost-but-not-quite random sequence (I tweaked the file names with prefixes to get the sequence I was after. My aim was mainly to interleave STNs & progressions).

The whole amounts to several hours of things to listen to, so even though the sequence is the same each time there’s limited opportunity to ‘learn’ which progression follow which. At least that’s been the experience so far. If I felt I was able to cheat on the progressions from remembering the sequence I’d mess it about again.

Since I often use the Mix Tape in places where I can’t look at the very small LCD screen (e.g. while driving) I’ve found the STN2 tracks are better for being preceded by short audio file which ‘says’ what’s about to be played, e.g. “STN2, environment 1, meditative, 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1”. I don’t do an equivalent for any of the other tracks.

As a standalone STN3 is a nice one to have playing on headphones while I’m gardening. Depending on circumstances you can either listen ‘properly’ or just sing along on auto-pilot :slight_smile:

I’m sure it’s been mentioned before, but I’ll point out that the FTN tracks are somewhat parallel to STN, but not exactly so and whilst the equivalent tracks are similar in character (same backing, same key) they don’t follow exactly the same tone sequences as the equivalent STNs.

Here’s my equivaence table

1 > 1
2 > 2
3 > 3
4 > 5
5 > 6
6 > n/a
7 > 9
8 > 10
9 > 11
10 > 12
11 > 13
12 > 14
13 > 15
14 > 16
15 > 17
16 > 19
17 > 20
18 > 21
19 > 22
20 > 23
21 > n/a
22 > n/a
23 > n/a

I don’t think that FTN tracks 4, 6a, 7, 8 & 18 have direct STN equivalents?

6a is my name for a special drone based ‘extra’ track at 1.2.34. level that was part of the course. I’m not sure it had a number originally?

Yeah, I think I’ll just stick with STN1 initially (and my own additions) for now and look at STN2 a little down the track. I do have STN3, but am yet to delve into that…

Sounds like a very thorough prcatice routine you have there David!
I’m lucky in that I work for myself at home, so my routine has been to practice for at least 1/2hr a session on the STN tracks before I start work, at lunchtime and after I finish in the afternoon.

I didnt realize that the FTN tracks were a “full set” in themselves.
I’d imagined that there was just a handful of examples - very cool.

It may sound odd but I don’t really think of the Mix Tape as a practice routine!

It’s a resource I can turn to any time I’m alone & doing something that allows a bit of spare brain for some thoughtful listening as a way of making best use of time, e.g. driving, gardening, DIY,…

For my ‘formal’ practice routines I have playlists that mix of Stn & FtN tracks appropriate to the level I’m working on. StN only for levels I’m approaching. ‘Matched’ StN & FtN pairs for the level that’s getting concentrated attention, and FtN only for levels I’ve become comfortable with.

At any one time I’ll have a set of 5 such playlists, each a similar but different selection, & each around 25 minutes long, plus an extra track ‘in case’. They get used while I’m doing my 10km on an exercise bike 4-5 times a week.

For a long time as the final part of my vocal warm up (some lip & tongue trills) before I start using those playlists I’ve done a little acapella scale singing. Just recently I added a 3m drone (different key each day) to the start of these playlists (as an addition to the ‘25m plus’ main sequence), and now use that as a backing for my scales. I also have a tuner available to check myself on those scales! The drones I use were provided as part of the Ear Training for Musical Creativity course.

At the weekend I sometimes use one or other of the current playlists for some ear / instrument co-ordination practice, i.e. ‘Play the Notes’.

They are an integral part of the Ear Training for Musical Creativity course (& only availbale through taking that course).

@paul I’ll tell you the exercise that has really improved my ability to hear the scale notes. Pick any note, say E. Call it the 1 of the major scale, and build the major scale with your voice going up, and then down, from the starting note. Then call that E the 2 of the major scale, and go down to 1 and then up to 1. Then call it 3. Then 4. etc.

Play along with the piano to keep on track.

I found this very hard at first, then much much easier.

I know what you mean. I look forward to doing my 1/2hr sessions of STN and quite enjoyed it!
You’ve given me some great ideas going forward too, maybe even the Ear Training Course eventually.
Thanks David!