One of the big “killers” of 1st year music students is the ever un-popular (with the students) Solfeggio courses. Solfeggio or SOLFEGE is a teaching technique where we use syllables such as DO, RE, ME, etc. to sharpen ones ability to hear and determine what notes or chords are being heard when we listen to music (Many math enthusiasts spend a whole lot of time with equations to show the harmonic relations of scales, chords, and tunings and we do it by ear almost instantly…the mathematical side of music is nothing short of spectacular!).
For MANY reasons, a number of students and musicians are taught to perform music (in some cases amazingly well) and never have spent the time to develop their abilities with regard to note, interval, line, and chord identification -USING THEIR EARS! Sadly, for many talented and up-and-coming music majors (or minors) their first exposure to Solfeggio is when they arrive their freshman year for music study. A good portion of these students struggle to get through their Solfeggio classes (or Theory/Solfeggio integrated courses) and in some cases decide not to pursue the degree because of their perceived difficulty with the subject matter.
Fortunately, there are many great free and fee based software programs available to help in this area and I encourage you to seek out and find them. You have already started your journey by reading this post and also may check the archives here for other software in this category.
Today, I’m going to tell you about the Function Ear Trainer -made available in both a basic and advanced version at Alain Benbassat’s home site. They are both freeware and run on either the Windows or Linux platforms (Mac folks you’ll have to use a PC emulator -sorry).
These software programs are simple and highly functional…. you are given multiple choices with regard to a starting “reference cadence” and have options to select the key, octave range, and notes that you would like to be tested with. It’s a great primer to learning to use your ear for note intervals and increase your aural abilities. The advanced ear trainer tests you with two notes following the cadence and further sharpens your note discrimination abilities while you practice with it.
I highly recommend this program and others like it for all music students and musicians alike. If you are looking for the next step in your ear training quest, check this article by me about the GNU licensed software product, Solfege. Good luck and Good training!