3rd week progress, a little late

I was supposed to post last week, but I procrastinated a little too much. Fortunately, I didn’t slack off on the ear training.

I’ve found the major/mnor second training to proceed well. I have not mastered it yet: I think the benchmark of mastery I am looking for is to be able to get 100% for at least a week straight, but I have managed to get into the 90’s. I decided to try adding in thirds, as track my perofrmance on a mix of seconds and thirds. I started this part way through the last couple weeks, but for this I am starting with only 50 attempts instead of 100, as my performance is still too slow and inconsistent for 100 attempts.

Data:

  • 9/9
    • 81%, 7m 24s
  • 9/10
    • 76%, 6m 54s
  • 9/11
    • 83%, 5m 52s
  • 9/12
    • Seconds: 82%, 5m 30s
    • Seconds + Thirds: 50%, 5m 6s
  • 9/13
    • Seconds: 83%, 5m 11s
    • Seconds + Thirds: 39%, 5m 36s
  • 9/14
    • Seconds: 89%, 5m 3s
    • Seconds + Thirds:  N/A
  • 9/15
    • Seconds: 85%, 5m 1s
    • Seconds + Thirds: 28%, 4m 43s
  • 9/16
    • Seconds: 90%, 5m 4s
    • Seconds + Thirds: 40%, 4m 29s
  • 9/17
    • Seconds: 90%, 4m 49s
    • Seconds + Thirds: 48%, 4m 55s
  • 9/18
    • Seconds: 88%, 5m 24s
    • Seconds + Thirds: 38%, 5m 55s
  • 9/19
    • Seconds: 94%, 5m 55s
    • Seconds + Thirds: 60%, 7m 41s
  • 9/20
    • Seconds: 84%, 6m 24s
    • Seconds + Thirds: 40%, 8m 53s
  • 9/21
    • Seconds: 85%, 5m 24s
    • Seconds + Thirds: 38%, 7m 31s
  • 9/22 – N/A
  • 9/23
    • Seconds: 93%, 4m 24s
    • Seconds + Thirds: 52%, 5m 11s

 

So progress is still happening. Today I had my best score vs time rating on seconds so far. Seconds and Thirds are still very inconsistent, my brain is still learning how to hear those, I’ll keep that up and see what happens

Observations
  • As I’ve improved, the degree to which wrong answers affect me has decreased. In the past, getting one wrong had a tendency to lead to more wrong ones, which lead to getting many wrong in the latter half of the attempts. I’ve at maintaining the same performance through the sessions.
  • The need for warming up has decreased. I don’t need as much practice to get into condition to get high success rates. It does still help, especially with getting faster times.
  • I’ve found that on questions where my conscious mind is leading me astray, I’ll have an unconscious impulse to choose the other answer, which always turns out to be correct. This tells my that I am learning to do this intuitively without conscious thought, which is great for doing it faster, and achieving natural performance.
  • I still don’t find it to help me much when listening to music, but I do feel that I have a better sense of the space. I think at some point I need to add something to my practice that tests this in terms of the tasks I actually want to accomplish, but I can wait a bit longer to do that. Maybe until I can handl intervals up to 5ths, but we’ll see.

Overall, I find it is still working, though I think I need to practice a bit more. Practice time seems to have fallen off a bit, but in theory my daily 15 minutes should be sufficient and anything else is extra. I will continue down this path for now.

First Week Results

So I’ve been consistent in my training for this week, and I appear to be making progress gradually. Each day I’ve done 100 questions for major/minor second. Basically, the app plays an interval, and I have to tap the key for the second node on the apps keyboard. In this case, I know that it will be minor or major second.

I am currently using the 100 major/minor second as my benchmark, though I will change that as I improve and progress. I do other practice too, this one is just how I do the benchmarks. Here are the statistics:

  • 8/31
    • 58%, 7m 28s
  • 9/1
    • 57%, 13m 7s
  • 9/2
    • 66%, 9m 55s
  • 9/3
    • 72%, 9m 38s
  • 9/4
    • 73%, 17m, 21s
  • 9/5
    • 65%, 6m, 1s
  • 9/6
    • 69%, 7m 26s
  • 9/7
    • 63%, 7m 43s
  • 9/8
    • 79%, 9m 44

I think in the future I’ll put this in a table. Anyway, I think this shows pretty good progress, definitely an upward trend in my accuracy, though some days aren’t as good. Also I find there can be some variation depending on how much I’ve warmed up, when I do it first thing, I tend to have some issues that get better after some practice. I think I’ll try to warm up a first in general.

Another metric worth looking at is how the time changes. Success for this endeavor isn’t just being correct, it is being correct as fast as possible. I think it is clear why that is important in a musical context. Overall I’ve noticed higher accuracy in less time, but I am currently prioritizing corrrectness. Once I can always get it correct given some time, then I can focus on speed. I believe in training correct behavior to increase in speed rather than training incorrect behavior to be done fast.

I’ve also done some thinking and research, and I think there are some relevant insights. There are in general 2 ways to recognizing intervals:

1) Hear the particular characteristics of that interval. For example, you can recognize the dissonance of a minor second. Part way through the week, I had an insight on the way that really sounds, and I think that improved my accuracy. I find it is one of the tools I rely on when I am not sure about a note.

2) Hear how much space there is between the notes. This is in general a better way, as it is much more flexible in variable musical contexts where the characteristics of an interval may become muddled. I have definitely noticed progress in this respect with major and minor seconds, though I find certain notes throw me off. My practice with other intervals though shows me that there is a lot further for me to go in this respect. I find it pretty difficult to estimate the space with them. Hopefully this is something I will see improve.

I’ve also found practicing the intervals with my instrument to be pretty helpful. I find that sometimes when I am confused by an interval, comparing it to my aural memory of it from the instrument gets me to the correct answer. I am still doing pitch matching with my instrument and voice, and some interval prediction with my voice. It is likely this is helping, though I don’t have a good sense of the degree.

Summary

Overall, I am really pleased with the progress. What I also really like though is recording the results on the blog. I didn’t realize how much I progressed until I did this. I think it will be pretty interesting to use this a log of progress that I can go back and review. I also think it is valuable to record my thoughts each week. This time I covered more than a week, but in the future I hope to consistently do 1 week between posts.

 

Blog Inception

Hello everyone,

This is the beginning of an experiment, of blogging and ear training. A bit of background, I started violin as an adult, and one of the challenges I have is learning by ear.

One of my goals, learn songs by ear and play covers on the violin, and post these on Youtube. But this requires a trained ear, and mine is far from it. I don’t have the benefit of being one of those Suzuki kids.

I do think though that the skills I need most to do this are learning, given daily practice. I am starting off with learning to recognize intervals, using an ear training app. So far I tend to perform between 50-70% on determining major second from minor second, which really isn’t very good. My process will be to train for 15 minutes every morning when I get up, and occasionally when I have free time throughout the day. I also try to sing scales as I play them on violin; I think being able to predict the next note in a scale with your voice is a pretty decent way to practice it.

The other part of the experiment is the blog, which I have not done before. I plan to post regularly, with my stats for the week, and some thoughts about how it went and how I should proceed. I think the process I follow for ear training will evolve continuously, and it will be interesting to see how that goes.