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14.3.3. Making an Aural Skills Program

Aural skills training - like eating - requires a regular, daily commitment of various kinds of input. As far as food is concerned, you should eat at least three meals a day, with a large portion of fruits and vegetables, and a good balance of meats and alternatives, grains, and other kinds of foods. Ear training also requires diverse inputs at various times throughout the day.
There is no solution that will work for everybody. You will need to choose and modify the time of day, number and length of sessions, and content to suit your needs. The following suggestion can be considered a starting point.
  • Training for 30 minutes daily, in three 10-minute segments.
  • Segment 1
    • When you wake up, before breakfast.
    • Warm up your voice and body (good activity anyway - not part of the ten minutes!)
    • Sing and perfect some excerpts from a book designed for sight-singing.
  • Segment 2
    • After lunch, before getting back to work.
    • Listen to some music, then try to transcribe it.
    • To make the task more manageable, take a small portion of music, and focus on one aspect: melody, harmony, or rhythm.
    • You can test correctness either by using a piano (or fixed pitch reference), or comparing with a published score, if available.
  • Segment 3
    • Some time after supper.
    • Use GNU Solfege to test your ability to perceive musical rudiments.
    • Spend only a few minutes on a few different kinds of exercises.
Three ten-minute segments is not a lot of time, and indeed it may take additional time to plan and to find and set up materials. Even so, the point is that training your aural skills does not have to take an inordinate amount of time or effort. What's important is that your effort is consistent and well-planned.