Wednesday, September 17, 2014

An Excerpt from Matt Glaser's Ear Training for Instrumentalists

This week I've been listening to Matt Glaser's Ear Training for Instrumentalists in the car while driving.  Disc Three of this 6-CD Homespun Tapes "audiobook" is where it really gets interesting.  Glaser starts that disc by taking a short phrase and playing it in all twelve keys, while traveling in 4ths, pausing between each key so that you can play it back with him.  First he plays the phrase in C, then F, then Bb, then Eb, then G#, then C#, then F#, then B, then E, then A, then D, then G.  Very cool.

When I got home last night I gave this a shot on mandolin and it sure is an ear and finger buster!  I had to use some extra brain power to get through it, although some of it came surprisingly easy.  The phrase is do - la - sol, la - sol - mi, sol - mi - re, do.  Numerically, this is 1 - 6 - 5, 6 - 5 - 3, 5 - 3 - 2, 8.  Listen to the audio sample below and then try this out for yourself!

Matt Glaser
Matt Glaser is the Artistic Director of the American Roots Program at Berklee College of Music, so yeah he knows his stuff and this is a really well thought out teaching of Ear Training.  It is a few years old (published in 1999?), but the information it contains is of course timeless.  As you might expect, the ear training study overlaps with theory and improvisation.  Since it's mostly audio, with only a few printed pages in the booklet, the six disc set is a nice mix of the intellectual and the intuitive.  

There are many great tips along the way, including what Matt calls "internal hearing", and I haven't even gotten to the last two CDs yet.  This is definitely one of the better music practice book/CD sets I've come across.  What a novel concept - a music instruction book that is actually almost 100% audio!  

At $60 suggested retail, it's a little expensive, but there are some used copies on Amazon for under $25.  Well worth it, considering the content within is as valuable as several lessons with an instructor.  You can also download the audio from Homespun Tapes.  

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