Articles, Blog

HOW TO PRACTICE MUSIC WITHOUT YOUR INSTRUMENT (Everyday Ear Training #1)

August 14, 2019


– Okay, take two. Hello, how’s it going? Julian Bradley here from the
Jazz Tutorial YouTube channel. And I just wanted to announce
the beginning of a new video series I’m starting, which is called Everyday Ear Training, and
Everyday Ear Training is about showing you just how much
you can practice music when you’re away from your instrument. So most of the great
musicians of all time, they don’t just practice
music when they’re at their instrument, in fact most
of their practice is done in their everyday life
particularly by ear training, and transcribing music by ear. And I’m gonna be posting this on YouTube. This is gonna be a
different style of video to the normal videos which
I post, and actually this is really good timing for me to
do so, because I’m actually just going on a road trip
across America, going from Southern California all
the way east to Oklahoma. I’m gonna be stopping at some
beautiful places like this right now, I’m in Zion National Park, and I thought this would
be as good a time as any to practice posting some
new type of content. (mellow synthesizer music) Okay, so we’re just about to leave Zion. We’re just about to get
breakfast, but before we do I just wanted to say that I
can hear some music playing, that I can hear Billie Jean. I don’t know if it picks
up on the microphone. But of course I’m transcribing
the bass line to start with. ♫ C, G, B-flat, C ♫ B-flat, G, F, G, C ♫ G, B-flat, C ♫ B-flat, G, F, G So I’m transcribing it as
though it’s in C minor, actually it’s in the Dorian
mode, so it’s C Dorian mode. (“Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson) So that’s my morning
practice out of the way. I’m sure there’ll be many more
opportunities today for me to transcribe songs, usually
I do about 15 songs a day. So that’s it for me, now we’re
gonna go to Salt Lake City. I’ll see you there. (upbeat techno music) So I’m just here at Bryce Canyon. This is a place called Inspiration Point. (upbeat techno music) Now one of my favorite places
to practice ear training is when I’m driving, on the
road, listening to music. This is a perfect opportunity to practice transcribing songs by ear. You don’t need your instrument
to practice transcribing. In fact, it’s better when
you do it away from your instrument, because then you’re focused to actually think and improve your ear rather than relying on your instrument. So that’s the way I like
to practice ear training is away from my instrument. Those are always the places
where the biggest breakthroughs happen, when you don’t have
your instrument right there to give you an instant answer, and
in fact you actually have to use your ear and your brain
to really think it through. So driving, that’s one of my
favorite places to practice ear training and that’s what I’ve
been doing on this road trip. So this has been a typical day for me. I’ve transcribed about 15 songs by ear. I’ll do the same thing tomorrow,
the same thing the next day, that’s my favorite
way to practice music. (mellow synthesizer music) Okay, so I’m just doing some
transcribing at Chipotle. As you can hear, there’s a melody playing. There’s some intervals going on. ♫ G, G, G, G, G, G, G ♫ C, C So I’m transcribing this song
as though it’s in C minor. I don’t actually know what key it’s in. It doesn’t matter what key it’s in. But if I listen to this
as though it’s in C minor, I can hear this riff. Starts on G fifth, goes
down to the root C, and then jumps up an octave
to the root again, which is C. (piano music) And as far as the chords
are concerned, it’s just a C-minor chord being sustained. Okay, so a new song’s come on. It’s in a different key, but
I’m just gonna transcribe it as though it’s in C minor again. (faint radio music) So I’m hearing the major one chord, that must be E-flat major, the one chord of the relative major scale of C minor. So that’s how you transcribe
in C minor every time. If it’s in the major key,
then you just transcribe in E-flat major, which is the
relative major of C minor. (faint radio music) So I can hear the two chords are E-flat major, and C minor. So like the one chord of the major key, and then the one chord of
the relative minor key. So in the bass line you can hear ♫ C, C ♫ E-flat, E-flat ♫ C, C And those two bass notes
would indicate an E-flat major chord, and then a
C-minor chord, because the bass line nearly always
plays the root of the chord. And again, I don’t know what
key this song actually is in. I’m just transcribing it
as though it’s in C minor. For all I know, it could
be any of the 12 keys. It doesn’t matter, but if I
play this at the piano later then I’ll play it in C-minor. (piano music) (mellow techno music) Okay, so I had a good day
today in Salt Lake City. We did some transcribing
at Chipotle for lunch. Transcribed about five songs. Then I listened to some
music while I was driving. Transcribed another eight songs I’d say. And that’s about it for today. It’s getting pretty late so
I’m gonna go join my family for the evening, and I’ll
see you again tomorrow. And if you’d like more
information on ear training, you can go to themusicalear.com. It’s my website. There’s a ton of free information. You can go through my free
video series on ear training which shows you how to
practice ear training the right way, and how not
to practice ear training. You can also sign up for ear
training email tips from me. These will be weekly
emails which challenge you to transcribe songs by ear,
and of course if you’d like to take my complete flagship
course in ear training which is the Musical Ear
course, you can sign up for the wait list at themusicalear.com, and I’ll notify you by email
when I next open enrollment. So that’s it from me. Thanks for watching, and I’ll
see you in the next session of Everyday Ear Training. (mellow techno music) (light jazz piano music)

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57 Comments

  • Reply thebigbang100 October 28, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    Do you think it's useful to practice transcribing in keys other than C or Cm, or maybe to just transcribe everything as relative intervals from the root note?

  • Reply Marco Hernandez October 28, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    Ear training seems very difficult without perfect pitch unless I have my instrument with me. I'm not sure how to begin without my instrument.

  • Reply scottpduncan October 28, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    Great that you're able to make such a trip. Spending any time in New Orleans…I hope!

  • Reply RockStarJazzCat October 28, 2017 at 7:37 pm

    Nice. Lovely series idea!

  • Reply James Prophet October 28, 2017 at 7:38 pm

    You're killing it man, keep going!

  • Reply jurberto October 28, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    I have done this exact thing for about two years now. Only thing different is that I’ve practiced relative pitch a lot also so i try my best to get the key right. Somehow I hear f# easily so i just get the key relating to that. That part is not really necessary at all like you said in the video, but if you can do it then why not i guess. But cant agree more with this training tip, makes your melody playing also better over time especially if you think how the lines are played on your instrument, for me its the guitar and i always visualize the fretboard and think the notes as red dots when transcribing.

  • Reply Lil Crafty Nook October 28, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    Wow!! I can kind of figure the key of a song by humming a line and seeing if it fits the whole song . Definitely not like that!!? Way to go!!

  • Reply Hyperbole Master Kerry October 28, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    I'm sorry, Julian, but this is not working for me. I could see you transcribing, but I never heard any of the melodies you were listening to. For this to work, you either have to get your mike closer or overdub the melody when you make the video.

    I did enjoy the vlog style and joining your travels through the beautiful parks.

  • Reply mikael syndergaard October 28, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    hey julian, whats the music in bakround, something between techno og jazz…like it a lot…..where can you get it…mikael

  • Reply Ashley Elizabeth October 28, 2017 at 9:06 pm

    I just downloaded the functional ear training app, and I LoVe it! I really appreciate all your videos! Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Reply Tito V October 28, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    Looks like you’re in Red Rocks, CO

  • Reply Oscar R October 28, 2017 at 9:32 pm

    Yes. Finally. Thanks for this

  • Reply Estevon October 28, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    Very much enjoying this new video series. Looking forward to the next one. For me the takeaway is your thought process, not a particular song or its transcription.

    PS. Love Bryce Canyon. So stunningly beautiful.

  • Reply LooMinn October 28, 2017 at 10:12 pm

    Cool Julian! Did you see the Great Throne in Zion? Hope you enjoy your time here in the states.

  • Reply Caleb English October 28, 2017 at 11:10 pm

    That was inspiring. I'm going to try to transcribe songs now. Thanks!

  • Reply Jonas Svedas October 28, 2017 at 11:20 pm

    How do you know if what you are transcribing is correct? Sounds like there is no way to check if you are in your car or a cafe. Don't really understand this method.

  • Reply Darshan Sen - The Composer October 29, 2017 at 2:28 am

    I like your suggestion man! Thank you!😊

  • Reply Ambrose Chan October 29, 2017 at 3:06 am

    Julian, thanks so much for taking us along with you on your trip! I like the format of this video. Looking forward to seeing more of this series! Your tips for practicing away from the instrument are really helpful.

  • Reply Nipun Banerjee October 29, 2017 at 3:11 am

    Extremely excited for this series 😀 try to capture the songs you are listening to, would be easier for us to understand
    P.s. love the vlog style video 🙂

  • Reply Mehrad Sharif October 29, 2017 at 4:14 am

    Nice Jullian. This is s very useful method, however, some of the songs in your video were masked in the background noise. So you may need to use a zoom mic or sth similar to record these type of videos. Also, your choise or music is fantastic 🙂 Keep it up

  • Reply Edgar Nyembwa October 29, 2017 at 4:38 am

    I actually do this all the time, except I use numbers to represent chords in the key and scale degrees.

  • Reply Alex Boulos October 29, 2017 at 4:44 am

    Awesome Video !

  • Reply BAwesomeDesign October 29, 2017 at 4:46 am

    Had no idea you were in my city! Would have liked to meet up and so forth. Headed to see the Bad Plus in Boulder, by any chance?

  • Reply Jane Heimbichner October 29, 2017 at 6:07 am

    Awesome. I love that. I’m going to do that too.

  • Reply Kabeer Singh October 29, 2017 at 7:17 am

    Ah! Good stuff.

  • Reply Marge Ball October 29, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    This was very interesting for me because I do not yet have a piano so I have been studying all the videos and trying to imagine what notes the person is playing, so thank you for this type of video.

  • Reply Charlene Charlene October 29, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    Wow buddy!! Love the personalized presentation! You know,since starting your ear training course I've grown slowly over time. Recently though I noticed something mind blowing. I started playing the melody of "The Christmas Song" and my fingers just automatically went to the right notes. With out me even thinking about it!!!! I've been going over it in my head for several days first. Anyway just wanted to share that. Thanks again for everything you're doing. Also,really cool seeing you on your travels 🙂

  • Reply Ritvik Karra October 29, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    I play drums…

  • Reply Paulo Costa October 29, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    I give it a like but because of the soundtrack…:-)

  • Reply Brad Allen October 29, 2017 at 5:46 pm

    This is an excellent idea and learning opportunity for all of us, especially since we ALL usually rely way too much on our instruments to validate our ear. This is difficult for me but absolutely essential to take me to the next level of my musicianship. Love the beautiful scenery too! What a bonus! Big hugs to the Fam!
    Aloha 🤙

  • Reply Dorfman October 29, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    The problem I find with this is that I have no feedback (like the one an instrument gives you) so I dont know if I'm transcribing it right

  • Reply bills48321 October 29, 2017 at 7:46 pm

    I'd like to hear some specifics about what was learned in transcribing songs while in restaurants and driving. Otherwise it seems like you would just be doing what you can already do.

  • Reply Robert Mayhew October 29, 2017 at 8:18 pm

    Thank you Julian. An excellent tutorial once again and a very big thank you for showing us some amazing scenery on your journey . Immediately following your tutorial Aimee gives her Ear training tutorial. Good to see. Don't be concerned about showing us some of the scenery along the way. Aimee even does one of her tutes from her skate board hehe.

  • Reply asward jnocharles October 29, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    GREAT! STAY  SAFE WIZ

  • Reply rodgrego October 29, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    If you don't know the actual key the song you are hearing is in, couldn't you instead use numbers 1 to 7 for the notes, 1 being the root?

  • Reply Сергей К October 29, 2017 at 10:50 pm

    very beautiful places…

  • Reply Kimiru October 30, 2017 at 9:24 am

    these comments must be cancerous, love the video

  • Reply Farah Mohammed October 30, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    Great video…edgy, love the driving techno/EDM beats, and what phenomenal views! Thank you for showing us the nuts and bolts of how you do things….it's comforting to know that there are no shortcuts…that all it takes is practice and perseverance! 🙂

  • Reply T. K. October 30, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    The shots in those rocky places are breath taking.

  • Reply Terry Killeen October 31, 2017 at 8:50 am

    I am worried that whilst I can tell if the chord major or minor I would need to be sat at the piano to find the chord in order to name it C minor or F major etc –am I doing something wrong?
    Terry UK

  • Reply Damian Muirhead November 4, 2017 at 9:27 pm

    Hey Julian, im a bit confused. I thought the point was to transcribe ALL songs in the key of C minor, but in the video you transcribe a song in its relative major key- Eb Major- why? You said this is because the song was in a major key- so are you saying you transcribe minor key songs in C minor, and major key songs in Eb major? I cant understand your reasoning behind transcribing in Eb major when i thought irrespective of the original key everything must be transcribed into C minor. Appreciate your clarification. Thanks

  • Reply Grant Lapointe November 5, 2017 at 12:52 am

    Wow! I totally have done this same thing in my head for the last 2/3 years but I haven’t watched this video until today!

  • Reply Scott Boltz November 5, 2017 at 7:24 am

    I didn't see you writing down any music. When you say "transcribing," do you mean mental memorization AND/OR writing down the music?

  • Reply Neilan Franklin November 5, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    I recognised that you were in Utah from the rock formations

  • Reply Sprenzy November 6, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    hmm but how would you know that it's in c dorian? from your membership I would have just tried to transcribe it in c minor and just figure out the intervals and it's scale degrees

  • Reply Philipp Hermann November 7, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    Hey Julian, thanks for your videos. I've been a longtime subscriber of yours and got lots of useful information out of your videos. I'm wondering what microphone do you use to record your voice? Sounds nice and clear!

  • Reply David Grimaud November 7, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    I recognize that Chipotle. 2100 South in Sugarhouse! I wish I had know you were in town. 🙂

  • Reply taquito burrito December 8, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    Julian, thank you for your formula. I understand it, and I am eager to apply it to my life.

  • Reply s.y. mitchell December 11, 2017 at 11:06 am

    I see your point to practice ear training in an everyday situation. Because the background noises are too loud, I can not hear what you heard. Hope you can make similar video without background noises.

  • Reply Dean Johnson January 7, 2018 at 3:47 am

    of all keys to choose as your base key too transcribe for why did you choose the key cm and eflat major ? is there a reason or did you just randomly choose it?

  • Reply Abhijit Parab January 23, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    Hi Julian, this might sound as a stupid question. I’m a beginner at piano. Why do you transcribe in Cminor and not major?

  • Reply George Winters May 13, 2018 at 1:17 am

    Just started listening to you. Great that you're so good at transcribing in the car but what that's got to do with "how to" is completely beyond me. The actual instructional aspects of this video could have been presented in less than 60 seconds!

  • Reply Sam October 7, 2018 at 4:56 pm

    It was really difficult to control my urge not to check on any instrument whether my intervals are right or wrong.
    But after few weeks of practicing this technique and watching your following videos on EAR TRAINING ,it really helped me to detect the intervals and transcribing it easily without any instrument.Its really interesting and gives you immense pleasure when you figure it out something by ear not by regular means.I shall be always grateful to you for teaching me this thought process .

  • Reply Alex Hills October 8, 2018 at 9:06 am

    Is it worth learning movable solfege? The reason I ask is that the solfege syllables are very short, e.g. "me" (minor 3rd) is shorter than "G flat" (minor third from Eb root).

  • Reply Prabir Patra December 15, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    wow great

  • Reply Bobbly January 26, 2019 at 3:21 pm

    Hi I have difficulty to understand low notes , because I hear more air than the note but If I pitch shift the song one octave higher I can understand the bass notes , do you have any tips to improve perception of low notes ?

  • Reply David May 12, 2019 at 2:32 pm

    Hye Julian. What you are doing with your ear training is use a "Movable Do" when you figuring out the notes. But one thing I don't get, is why don't you keep DO everytime ? I mean you use DO for the minor keys of C minor and C dorian, but you switch to Eb major when transcribing a major tune… I don't really get why. Keeping a DO major would be more relevant as it would highlight the differences between all the modes. It would be more consistent. Can you explain why you do it this way pls ?

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