Contextual Ear Training – Bruce Arnold

Product info: [288 MP3s, 1 PDF]. File size: 50.76 MB. Digital download. The combination of both courses gives a student a listening and singing regimen of …

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Bruce Arnold – Contextual Ear Training


Contextual Ear Training is one of our most popular Ear Training Singing Books.

If you are just getting started with the Bruce Arnold System of Ear Training, then Contextual Ear Training is an indispensable companion course that we cannot recommend highly enough. Contextual Ear Training is usually done with its sister course Ear Training One Note Complete. The combination of both courses gives a student a listening and singing regimen of exercises that will totally transform your ability to hear music. These two courses have been used by thousands of musicians to transform their ear training skills. Both courses are not based on interval training or the distance between notes but upon the sound of each pitch within a key center. Through the consist use of these exercises you will memorize the sound of all 12 pitches within a key center. If you are having troubles along the way Mr. Arnold gives free and unlimited email support to customers that purchase his books. There is also an extensive FAQ build into this website and well as multiple blogs where Mr. Arnold talks about many music subjects. You are not out on your own once you start this ear training process and you are encouraged to check in and check in often to make sure you are not doing any of the exercises incorrectly.

Physical or Digital Download?

We are often asked which is better for doing the ear training exercises the physical book with CDs or the Digital Downloads. If you have a smart phone like an iPhone or a tablet that will play MP3s then the digital download should be your preferred choice. MP3s can be played on your desktop computer or any MP3 player like a cell phone. This allows you to do these exercises anywhere which is important. One of the first things Mr. Arnold recommends is doing these exercises multiple times a day and what better device to use that a portable phone. Got 5 minutes at the office as you wait for client. Listen to 5 or 6 examples. This type of approach will have you improving at a remarkable rate. Check in with Mr. Arnold after purchase and tell him about your everyday schedule and he will work with you to design the best approach. Digital downloads give you more options so that is what we highly recommend in most instances.

If you are just becoming aware of the this idea of “hearing within a key center” let’s look at a little history of ear training for musicians

The “Interval” method of Ear Training has been taught in music schools for literally hundreds of years and rarely been questioned. This method is based on singing the distance between each note with no regard to a key center. The problem with this approach is pretty simple. It just doesn’t work when you are trying to sing a melody. Some of the most common problems with singing by interval is:

  • You can sing an interval but are totally lost when you try to apply it to real music.
  • You have a tendency to sing sharp or flat
  • Not being able to find the first note of melody when you start singing a song.
  • You try to think the distance between each note as you try to sing or listen and get lost.
  • Inability to maintain your own part when singing with in groups or choirs

If you are experiencing any of these problems then you need to get Contextual Ear Training and start working towards hear music based by “key center.”

Why doesn’t interval training work?

If you are trying to sing each note as it flows by in music, there is no way that you can calculate the distance between each note even at a very slow tempo much less the usual speed that notes flow by in real time. The only way to instantly know what notes are being played is to ingrain in your mind the sound of each note within a key center so that you know the sounds you are singing in the same way that you see the color blue and know it’s blue. Read more about the pitfalls of interval training here.

Our minds can’t process interval relationships at the speed needed to sing notes accurately.

You can sit in a classroom and do sing a Major 6th when a teacher ask you to but if you are trying to do this in time as you are singing real music the problem gets worse and worse the more complicated the music becomes. In the real world, when music is being played in real time, as a musician, your mind just cannot calculate the intervals and analyze what you need to know in order to react properly right away. This isn’t about intellectual ability, it’s about the reality of TIME. So how do musician identify the sounds they are singing instantaneously?

Key Center is the “KEY”

Here’s how they do it: They use the “key center” of a song and internalize the sound of all 12 notes within that key center. Quite simply when they sing the 3rd they are not thinking that the note is four half steps above the root or in relation to any other note –they are recognizing the sound of a 3rd because they have memorized that sound within a “key center.”

Contextual Ear Training teaches you the “Key Center” process.

By working with the audio files in the Contextual Ear Training over time, you gain the ability to sing the sound of all 12 notes with a “key center.” For some students this will be a quick and painless rebooting of the way they hear sound; for others it can be a frustrating path with many possible pitfalls.

Ear Training is a two pronged process.

You need to work on singing notes and internalize what they sound like in a “key center” but you also need to identifying sound as you hear them from an external source.

With this in mind we have created a whole series of books that develop these two aspects of ear training. They basically boil down to listening exercises and singing exercises. For someone just starting our method we recommend: Contextual Ear Training and Ear Training One Note Complete. or Ear Training One Note Vocal Version

Contextual Ear Training and Ear Training One Note Complete together make a great ear training program.

Listening exercises found in Ear Training One Note Complete teach you to identify the sounds from external sources such as another band member or a song that you are hearing on your MP3 player. Singing exercises found in Contextual Ear Training help you identify the sounds you hear inside you when you are singing, improvising or composing. You need both sides of ear training to become a great musician. The good news is they complement each other so the more you work on one, the more it will the help the other.

Bruce Arnold is here to help you through the process.

Some students can fly through this ear training with no problem. But many musicians have problems and need personal help. Luckily Mr. Arnold offers email support for students as they work through this process. So rest assured as you enter this ear training method that you are not alone, and you can get expert help if you run into problems.

Helping musician for almost two decades!

This method has been helping musicians for almost 20 years now. It’s one of the best selling methods Ear Training systems on the market. Simply put: It is successful because it works! BUT the secret weapon is Bruce Arnold. He is only an email way to help you. If you are a beginning or an advanced student seeking to perfect their skills, you can call on Bruce to help you through this process.

Contextual Ear Training – Bruce Arnold is digital download at

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