When to progress

Hey Friends!

I’m new to IFR and have loved reading through the forum and seeing how supportive everyone is.

Currently, I’m playing piano and singing (started as a pandemic hobby to buy a piano and still going strong hahah) I also have a couple of ukuleles kicking around, soprano and baritone

I’ve read a lot of the book and am doing the activities (perfect for my learning style and beliefs about music) and also purchased the Ear Training for Musical Creativity course which I’ve done all the videos and exercises for over the last month or so. I am good at singing back the melodies and not bad at feel the numbers (not perfect though) and wondering if I should stick with it before starting the next ear training course while still continuing to go back and re-do.

Any thoughts on when is a good time to venture forward or calm down and really get everything mastered?

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In my experience, IFR encourages you to do what educators call “spiral learning”. You move forward while cycling back at the same time to learn the older stuff at a deeper level.

David Reed explains in one of the videos that you’re never really done with an exercise. And at some point you’re doing all the IFR exercises at deeper and deeper levels.

How fast you move forward is up to you. But in a sense there is no forward. It’s a big circle.

I wish you the same kind of experience with IFR I have had. It changed my relationship to music.


Hi @Martha,

My answer to that is essentially the same as the one that @hender99 has already written.

With IFR it’s not a case of ‘either / or’, it’s an on going, growing, ‘both / and’. :slight_smile:

I’ve been through most of the IFR courses & materials. My regular practice involves a gradually changing blend of meterials & approaches all those plus stuff from the IFR book (which is what they are all based on, after all).

It’s certainly good not to move on too fast with things like ear training. It’s several years now since I first did ‘Ear Training for Musical Creativity’ & I’ve been right through the course material several times, but my ‘comfort zone’ is still some way from week 10! IN my regular FtN/StN ear training sessions (~30m 4-5 times a week) I use a set of playlists of FtN & StN tracks.

This morning’s set was

FtN_1_17 (notes 71,2,34,5 - week 7)
FtN_1_19 (songlike - notes 5,6,71 - week 8)
FtN_1_20 (notes 5,6,71,2,3 - week 9)
FtN_1_21 (notes 5,6,71,2,3 - week 9)
StN1_M5_20 (notes 1,2,34,5,6,71 - week 10)

That combination is because I’m now pretty comfortable with FtN weeks 7 & 8, getting there with week 9 (at least to the extent of having reached the point where I have dropped the StN tracks in favour of more FtN), and not really ready for FtN with week 10 (I only include a week 10 FtN track one day a week at present).

In instrument practice I might be using ‘7 Worlds’ or ‘Pure Harmony Essentials’ jam tracks (usually on random play), but I might also use StN (e.g. I’m using that as an aid to learning the fretboard on a new instrument I have that has a tuning I’m not familiar with - the moderately paced, semi-random, but always musical, combinations of notes fit the task very well).

So move onward when you feel ready, but you’re not really leaving anything behind when you do because it’s all one big (sound) picture seen form different angles

Ditto. :smiley:

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@Martha Hi Martha, and welcome to the group! Both @hender99 and @DavidW wrote such exceptionally good advice that I couldn’t say it any better myself. So I just wanted to chime in to welcome you to our community and to thank you for posing the question. And many thanks to both Allan and David for their wisdom and kindness to fellow musicians.

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Thank so you so much everyone for taking the time to reply. I love the idea of spiral learning, of forging on while circling back, brilliant.