EAR TRAINING GAME FOR PIANO STUDENTS
Ear training is important for children’s and adult’s music education.
By ear training or aural skills they learn to identify by ear many basic elements of music like pitches, intervals, melodies, chords and rhythms.
Some students are called talented, some others have the ‘perfect pitch’ and there are some others that are not so good at finding the right pitch or rhythm. With ear training they can level up their skills.
Our students need to trust the process of ear training and not being scared of them. They need to feel capable and that is why you really need to start as simple as you can.
Here is a game for identifying pitches and rhythms that works for every age whether during an online lesson or a one-to-one lesson:
There can be many different variations of the same game depending on the abilities, level and age of the student. During my 25 years of piano teaching experience I came across a few students that couldn’t identify two notes with the same pitch. Yes, some people can’t get the unison right. No need to panic! Work with them from where they are and level them up. That’s what teachers are for!
In this variation the student is sitting with his back to the teacher so he won’t see the teacher. The teacher plays twice a short melody. The student must play on the piano the notes he heard. The first note is given to the student.
EAR TRAINING GAME variation2
CLAP AND PLAY THE RHYTHM
In this game the teacher plays on the piano twice a short rhythm using only one single note. The student should clap and then play the rhythm. The importance here is not to identify the note, but to play the rhythm.
Again, I recommend you start with easy rhythms and then you level up.
When a student plays this game for the first time I give him a one-bar simple rhythm using crotchets and minims (or crotchets and quavers)
As I level up I use two or more bar rhythms and I add quavers, rests, semiquavers, triplets etc
EAR TRAINING GAME variation3
PLAY THE MELODY WITH THE RHYTHM
This variation is what we all want for our students.
It is a combination of the first two variations.
Once we train our students for variations 1 and 2 we should try a combination of both.
I can’t stretch enough that not all students are the same therefore the challenges in the games are different for each student.
For the success of the game you may consider the following:
- The number of notes you are going to use to make a melody.
- Keep your melodies short when you start, two to four notes would be great. Then, when you feel that the student is improving enough, try to play melodies with 5 notes or more.
- The intervals you are going to use.
When the student is playing this game for the first time, I always try unison and 2nd intervals. I try many melodies like this and if the student’s feedback is correct then I move on to 3rd intervals etc. Before I start the game, I play once each interval I am about to use and name it.
The first note is always given. You may also identify the notes you are about to use.
The rhythm of the melodies you are about to use may vary but you should start with simple crotchet beat notes. Having to identify the melody, students need simple rhythms. There is no need to confuse them at the beginning. When you level up you can use any kind of rhythm.
HINTS FOR EAR TRAINING GAME
You may use the three games in one lesson. Here is how:
Focus on specific notes, intervals and rhythms for each student and try the three games as one game.
Once your goal is achieved on game var.1 (ex. Identifying unison and 2nd intervals ascending and descending), and on game var.2 (ex. Two bars rhythm using crotchets and quavers), you try to play game var.3 using unisons, 2nd intervals in crotchets and quavers.
Students will love it! They would feel very proud that they managed to find both pitch and rhythm.
And you would feel proud, as well
FREE EAR GAME PDFs
I have written a series of short tunes that can be used for this ear training game.
If you would like to receive them for FREE write your email below and I will send them to your email box.