Commitment to Ear Training

Commitment to Ear Training

I’m taking Lissa Schneckenburger’s Learning By Ear course on Peghead Nation, and one of the first homework assignments is get a practice journal, write your commitment to ear training on the first page, and to schedule 5-10 minutes of ear training a day.

This blog has been taking over as my practice journal, although I do still take lots of notes in my paper notebook, just like always. So this is my declaration of an ongoing commitment to ear training.


There was a time when, given a tonal reference, I could give you the name of any note. It was an important skill as a jazz pianist, and one that I was very proud of. But I have severe hearing loss – I rely on hearing aids, without which I am functionally deaf. With hearing aids and hearing loss, I find that I am having to completely retrain my ability to tell pitches apart. With my near digital ears, I had a difficult time distinguishing a fifth from a third, and a minor seventh from a minor third. My brain didn’t know what to do with a second.

I have had to relearn to tell the difference between pitches, and an important part of that effort has been the Functional Pitch Trainer, which I have been using now for several months, and which I am really liking. The picture on this post is a screenshot after I completed the first two levels with 100% for the very first time. I have gotten 100% on each one of them more than once, but this was my first time getting them both together.

In a lot of ways the whole thing (ear training), has more of a feeling of rehab or physical therapy this time around than it did when I was in school.

Harpist Reviews a Guitar

I love this video by harpist Emily Hopkins, who reviews an electric guitar, tuner, and multi-effects pedal for entry-level instrument maker, Donner (and who is absolutely adorable), even though she appears to know very little of guitar.

YouTube player

How I Take My Notes

An example notebook page (1 of 2)
An example notebook page (2 of 2)

See the same example pages, but with annotations:

An annotated example notebook page (1 of 2)

Something about that first page.

An annotated example notebook page (1 of 2)

print(‘Hello, World!’)

print(‘Hello, World!’)

The Turtlshel Project is back, yet again, for another go at serving up a mix of nerdy, sciency, weird, and wonderful information from my brain and from around the Web. This site has gone through so many iterations, and so many varied topics of focus in the little more than 20 years since I first registered the domain. So, here we go again.