The 'Other' Aural

 

Other Aural

 

If you’re currently having music lessons and working towards your exams you’re probably aware of the Aural Tests. Chances are if you’re not working towards exams you’ve probably also heard of them, and hopefully done some.

 

But…

 

Did you know … there’s Other Aural.

 

Working out your ears and your brains can only ever make you a stronger, more rounded player.

 

So here’s our guide to Other Aural tests that you can get students to do or to practise yourself:

 

1. Dictation

 

Start by writing down small rhythm patterns – just using crotchets and quavers is the best starting place.

Add some rests and them more complicated rhythms

When you’re happy with rhythms then try writing down a simple melody. Always notate the rhythm first and then you can add the notes. (It’s much more complicated trying to do two things at once!)

 

2. Sight singing

 

This comes in at a later stage of the music exams, for some exam boards it’s grade four. But sight singing is a great way to help your brain connect what sound it should hear when it sees it on the page. I know most people hate having to sing, but remember it’s not about being ‘good’ at it. Pitching and holding a note are just a good indication of if your brain can ‘hear’ the notes before you do something to make them.

 

3. Memory Games

 

A bit like the game Bop It – start with a short phrase to copy (either by singing or playing it back) then gradually extend it each time. See if you can copy a full four bars of music!

 

4. Copying and figuring out

 

Can you hear a piece of music and play it back? Usually in exams I advise students to sing the melodies back as its easier, but could you actually play it back?

 

Start with songs you know. Can you play the chorus to a song you really like?

 

5. Transposition by ear

 

Can you hear a simple melody and then play the correct patter but starting on a different note! (mwah ha ha!!)

 

6. Chords

 

Can you listen to some chords and know what the next chord is if you’re told what the first one is? Seeing how far away it is and knowing where it’s progressed to. This is a brilliant skill to work on in particular if you play jazz pieces.

 

Do you have any more listening exercises that you enjoy being challenged with? Drop a comment below to make a suggestion :)

 

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