Unorthodox Instructionals Part 4: Change The Way You Hear Music
This fourth post from Tom Kenrick’s blog about unique books that many bassists would not have considered for study shares two books that helped him with ear training, which coincidentally, seems to be an important element in the Coursera online class I’ve been taking. In this post, Tom relates how, after suffering from tendonitis and having to cut down his physical practice time, “For roughly 18 months the vast majority of my practising revolved around ear training exercises and transcriptions.” He worked through Ron Gorow’s Hearing and Writing Music and then, more recently, Ran Blake’s Primacy Of The Ear. Working through the first book gave him mastery over hearing and transcribing intervals, which of course is vital to accurately conveying music. The second one provided him with a process or methodology with what to do with the material he had worked on in the first book.
Both of these sound very useful to me – I’m especially intrigued by what the 2nd book might offer, and I think I understand the benefits of the first one, both to hearing and to transcription. As an aside, I grabbed a copy of The Advancing Guitarist, based on Tom’s recommendation, and read through a bit of the beginning while waiting to grab the wife and her friend from yoga class last week. Its utterly fascinating. In the first 23 pages, he discussed things about mastery over single strings, argued about harmony, melody and counterpoint, and gave practice hints that really awed me. He’s like the Tesla of guitar, but spoken by Dr. House, M.D. I’ve been going through bits of it here and there, and after my Coursera thing is over, reviewing it in more detail is one of the top things on my list to do – so, thanks Tom for the fantastic recommendation!
So far we’ve looked at unorthodox methods for bass players to sharpen their grasp of harmony, develop a more secure technique and master written rhythms. This post deals with an aspect of playing (and practising) that many bass players often neglect: ear training.
Whereas previous posts in this series have focused on a single book, this installment deals with two excellent books on the art of aural perception that I feel have helped me get my ears in shape.
How I Learned To Transcribe
In 2009 I began to have problems with tendonitis In my left elbow which meant that I had to scale back my playing and practice time dramatically. I was determined not to let my musicianship take a hit and so looked for ways that I could improve my playing without using my bass – transcription seemed like the obvious choice.
For roughly 18…
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