listening / hearing improvement ?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Farmer Giles, Mar 27, 2010.

  1. Farmer Giles

    Farmer Giles Member

    hi all
    for the regionals i was very fortunate to play with a band that had ray farr conducting for some of the rehearsals
    i very quickly realised that my hearing is not good !
    i can spot the obvious tuning issues, but ray could spot much finer ones.
    now for the question ......
    can hearing be "trained" ?
    if so, how ?
    any (helpful) advice would be grately appreciated
    (sorry for the zpelling, bit dwunk at the mo!)
  2. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

  3. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Or, for a more avant garde and also quite fun idea, how about buying a soprano trombone (also often called a slide trumpet)? You can play it with a cornet-size mouthpiece, and playing a slide will give you a much greater appreciation of pitch.
  4. worzel

    worzel Member

    Not for tuning, but great for interval, scale, and chord training:

    Does anyone know of any good ones for tuning and perfect pitch training?
  5. Gorgie boy

    Gorgie boy Member

    Surely perfect pitch is a gift? You either have it or you don't. Relative pitch is another thing though, and I find that you can work at understanding where you are at if your relative pitch is good. I also think you can work to improve your relative pitch.
  6. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

  7. worzel

    worzel Member

    Yeah, I don't think it is exactly all or nothing either. I have fleeting moments of it myself, and am sure most musicians do if they try. Sometimes I can think of a note, like the band tuning note, or the first note of a piece we've practised to death, and then hum it and get it right. A few months ago I was doodling on the piano and arppegiated a particular inversion of a particualr chord (Bb I think) and was suddenly struck with the absolute certainty that those were the exact notes in a song I'd been listening to recently (not that day, though), checked it, and was right.

    I would not claim to have perfect pitch at all, but those rare glimpses, particularly when I am absolutely certain, suggest to me that we all have the potential. If we were bought up in a society that didn't drill us in colour recognition from a very young age I wonder what a rare gift perfect colour might be :)
  8. johnandy

    johnandy New Member

    Talk softly, using your inside voice is also a good exercise for your brain because it is focus on your tone and subtle changes rather than just high volume. This also helps relationships that might be aggravated by high-volume yelling.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2011
  9. worzel

    worzel Member

    Yeah right, thanks for that. "Don't talk at all" is another approach you might try ;)
  10. euphymike

    euphymike Member

    My father, a trombone player spent ages teaching me Relative pitch with a piano! I never player trombone but found it very useful as a double bass player for thirty odd years as a session musician. Somehow I developed perfect pitch as well. Whilst I have a lot of hearing loss through wearing headphones in studios for years I still find tuning issues very painful on the ear! Ps my tinitus is just flat of G#!
  11. I am not sure perfect pitch is that good a thing to have. What can happen is that a lot of music can sound "out of tune" if you have perfect pitch, where as if you dont have it, it wont be a problem. Also I have read that "perfect pitch" can change as you get older, and again, then everything can sound out of tune. As has been said above, the more important thing to develop is a good sense of relative pitch.

    The best exponents of this skill are professional symphonic Timpani players. They are expected to ignore the tuning indices for most of the repertoire, and re-tune by ear alone. No easy task when you have to do it against the noise of a full Orchestra, keep your eyes on the score, count bars rest, keep another eye on the conductor and do all this with your ear half an inch from the playing surface making the quietest possible noise on the timpani!
  12. its_jon

    its_jon Member

    With valve instruments we often get a lazy ear expecting the instrument to do the work.

    In the area I have been helping out over the last years I found it very rare for any players to adjust the smaller slides - or indeed be instructed to do so.

    When I suggested the idea I have been met with responses such as "but that's not the tuning slide" :biggrin:

    Whole bands get tuned up with open tuning... then as soon as someone with a dodgy besson or the inappropriate mouthpiece for them hits a 'compromise' position or slot in the instruments design it all qoes wrong.
    Its a source of constant amusement to see a MD go back to the same player moving the main slide in and out when a tuning issue arises every time a top stave F is played for example.
    For sure, a lot of this is down to stamina and the ability to correct tuning by ear/lip... however, its surprising how many auxiliary slides (if you can call them that) will be seized never to move again in your average band.
  13. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    Yep, they obviously miss that part of the Arban out. (Page 6)

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