View Full Version : Singing - is it a good start?

06-18-2005, 04:30 PM
It is only now that I've specifically targeted training my ear through exercises, such as singing scales, trying to come up with a melody in my head and playing it almost simultaneously on the guitar (which I try to do while playing over backing tracks). However, for the most part, my ear training comes from singing. I can correctly sing pop tunes as soon as I hear them using falsetto, and with a bit of time and practice can sing them in my actual singing voice, although this has its limits (*cough* Celine Dion songs *coughs*). Often, after hearing a pop tune I really like, I go over to my guitar and try to play the melody, however at this point it's still trial and error and my connection with the fretboard is not at the level yet where I can mimic something as soon as I hear it (like I can with my falsetto voice).

So my question is this - I do a lot of singing, and although it's not likely that I'd ever get hired as a lead vocalist, I can do respectable backing vocals and my ear is trained enough to know when I hit a wrong note with my voice (and also on the guitar), so is singing by itself enough ear training for the long run for someone who wants to play jazz/fusion? As I said, it doesn't take me long to memorize a pop tune although remembering all the notes in a shred solo is another matter. But I can easily pickup an acoustic guitar and entertain a campfire crowd with in-key renditions of acoustic ballads like those by Bryan Adams or Cat Stevens. If it's not enough, what else should I add?

06-18-2005, 04:41 PM
Oh, and I just wanted to add, if the chord progression gets transposed to another key, I can easily transpose the vocal melody to that key without thinking about it (although singing it with my actual singing voice in some keys is another matter). However, I can't transpose without hearing the progression first, I know some people can hit the right note right off the bat without hearing the new key, but I can't do that. That's pretty much the extent of my musical ear's capability right now.

Los Boleros
06-18-2005, 04:56 PM
Singing is a great way to help improve your ear. However, singing alone may not get you where you ultimately want to go. You need excercices that help you to corralate what you can sing to what you can play or to help you visualize the chord tones. Singing and playing the guitar as you said is a great improvement over just singing. Sing your scales and patterns as you play them, Sing your riffs as you play them. sing vocal melodies as you play them. This is great stuff. There is another type of visualisation you can work on also, Sing you scale and such but sing out the number from the scale that you are singing. such as, if a scale is 1-7 and 8 is the octave, then a kool riff might be 5,5,5,4,5,3,1. Sing and play that. It will help you to see the chord tones and add another dimention to your visualisations.

06-18-2005, 09:58 PM
If you want to get your ear working hard, start doing studying solfege. It will test you and give you a great deal of insite into where you ears are limited.

check out the art of hearing by Thom Mason, it's an awesome book and should be apart of every musicians library. Don't be put of by the comments about jazz, in fact this should encourage you as Jazz, Jazz being melocially more complex than the majority of popular music.


I've worked through it and it made a massive difference to my ear. The end result is being able to see a lead sheet or chord progression and hear it in your head, even complex progressions with a lot of key changes. the synopsis on the web page does not over do what you can get out of this book it is an amazing book. By the way i have no connection with Thom Mason, i was just lucky enough to come across his first book a number of years ago and then brought the updated version, both were money very well spent


07-07-2005, 11:06 AM
The website doesn't have any copies of 'The Art of Hearing' left and it looks pretty difficult to find anywhere else. Can anyone suggest any other good books?