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34

It's absolutely possible, based on personal experience. I was essentially tone-deaf before starting interval training, and now have no problem recognizing notes and playing songs by ear. It provides a major advantage because you only need to figure out one note of the song. The next note can always be identified if you can recognize its interval from the ...


20

An exercise that I was taught, have seen many times, and also have used with others. It can be done anywhere. Instead of tapping my fingers, I do this exercise. Place your hand on the table (or whatever surface) as though you were resting your fingers on the keys. "Play" the sequence 1-3-5-2-4, repeating it over and over. Things to work on are your ...


19

Unnecessary effort is inefficient. Unnecessary tension is damaging both to your technique and to your body. Play as slowly as necessary until you can relax your pinky. I guarantee you can play one note a minute with a relaxed pinky. Then slowly increase speed. If there's one thing that proper practice is good for, it's breaking bad habits. But, like anything ...


18

Perfect Pitch has some different Definitions: There are different levels of perfect pitch and absolute pitch. They are all about being able to either identify or generate (i.e. sing) notes without a recent reference. People's ability range from being able to guess right some of the time, to instantly telling you which note is not being played when someone ...


18

I would first try to focus on your timing and nothing else. If you can play in time that way, it's probably just a matter of practice to nail down your time and get away from the loose rhythm. If you still have trouble, cut out everything except you and the metronome. You don't want extra beats or notes to interfere with that you're doing. If you can't ...


17

There are several schools of piano teaching. I have been raised in the idea that almost all technical training should be done with a specific piece of composed music as a target, not in isolation, and should be defined by the teacher after observation of a student's playing. It does not take long to write down a little exercice on a sheet of paper. The art ...


15

Just a wild guess, but have you checked your input/output latency? Anything over 10ms is likely to noticeably interfere with your timing.


15

I am not an expert in human physiology, but I believe the constraint you describe is completely normal. I think it has something to do with a shared tendon? Needless to say, my hands behave the same way. You should be able to lift the fourth finger higher if you raise the pinky at the same time, yes? What I do know about human physiology is that each joint ...


14

Here's how I did it. Your mileage may vary. I had a junior high band director who would often tune the band by having each player in a section play a B-flat and telling them whether they were flat or sharp based on the electronic tuner at the front of the room. I made a bit of a game for myself by trying to guess (to myself) whether people were sharp or ...


13

Here are three exercises I use with students: Lip-buzzing through a phrase of a song (i.e. one long lipbuzz - as you need to engage your support to lip-buzz). If you can't lip-buzz, then rolling an 'r' also have the same effect. Slow breath in for three beats, then make a sizzling sound out for 10 beats (and then gradually extend this during practice to 15, ...


12

I recommend to practice listening. Take a piece of music with a polyphonic structure or many instruments and the notes and try to listen to a particular instrument. Start with simple pieces, for example a choral piece where you already know the bass quite well and you can switch between listening to the soprano and the bass or a piece with voice ...


11

There's no such thing as finger independence(read finger equality most of the time). All our fingers are different, and they're all connected too! For instance, would you ever expect any of your fingers to match your thumb in strength? Or take your index finger and press it to your palm. Your other fingers will move as well. The key to evenness and ...


10

A few years ago I carried a tuning fork for a whole winter, and did notice improvement. The first week or so I would just bump the tuning fork and listen to the A. Then I started to try to guess before listening. Having the tuning fork with you all the time, you can practice whenever and as often as you want. It takes only a couple of seconds. I believe ...


10

The best training I can think of is to use arpeggios starting with simple two/three string swept arpeggios and build up from there. Here are Some practical examples: A Minor 2 - 3 string arpeggio shapes $1.12 $1.8 $2.10 $1.8 $1.12 | $1.12 $1.8 $2.10 $3.9 $2.10 $1.8 $1.12 A Major 2 - 3 string arpeggio shapes $1.12 $1.9 $2.10 $1.9 $1.12 | ...


10

I am not an expert in anatomy, but I believe this is because the picky and ring finger are connected to each other by the superficial ulnar nerve, whereas the remaining fingers are connected by branches of the deep ulnar nerve. The good news is, despite the fact that your pinky and ring finger seem less independent, this is not permanent. It's normal for ...


10

I don't know what style of music you're coming from, but there are a couple of books aimed more at classical guitarists, and they would require reading music. One that I use a lot is "Pumping Nylon", by Scott Tennant. I know, the title sounds really cheesy, but some of the exercises will DESTROY your left hand. There are some really great finger independence ...


9

Something my teacher regularly had me do with difficult sections was to play it all stacatto. Slow it down and focus on perfect timing while you do this, then gradually increase the tempo. Don't increase it further than you can play while still keeping the timing perfect. Do this every practice session until your speed is relatively close to the speed you ...


9

I think the key is muscle memory. The only way to improve this is by specific repetitive movements. In your question you state: "quick interchanging between my 2 and 3rd finger." Presumably there is a song you are working on that requires this, so the part you are having trouble with, do that move over and over again until you no longer have a problem doing ...


9

Not really an exercise, though you could make this into an exercise: When you need to play certain notes louder than others when playing several notes simultaneously within one hand, make sure that you lift the finger that needs to play louder higher above the keys than the other fingers. When you then play the chord so that all the fingers strike the keys ...


8

One "game" is to get a piece of paper and place it against a wall. You then have to keep it up for as long as possible using only your breath. Without any support, you just can't keep it there. If you make this competitive - against other singers, or just against the clock - it could be a way to encourage improving support.


8

I would like to answer this question by quoting a musician I met online. I forget who it was, so I apologize for it. But that person developed carpal tunnel from hammering away using similar excersises. However, what he said afterward will stay with me forever. He said, "These excersises really work in helping you develop better playing skills. Just use ...


8

Training to play by ear starts with 2 of your senses: Feeling and obviously Hearing. Most people underestimate their ability to Play By Ear. Practically ALL THE TIME, everybody would rate themselves very low in their scores until I show them their TRUE scores whenever I conduct a TALENT EVALUATION on them. It would be good to assess the strength of your ...


8

I recommend Fernando Sor's studies for guitar as transcribed by Andres Segovia. These studies are both highly instructive as well as beautiful works unto themselves. Given your familiarity with Andres Segovia, the music of Fernando Sor (a major influence on Segovia's development as a musician/composer) would be a logical next step. See http://en.wikipedia....


8

If you were my student, I would have you begin by working on your basic sound. I am presuming that you are playing alto saxophone and have already found suitable equipment (instrument, mouthpiece, and reeds, along with other needed accessories) and are able to get a sound generally. Start by playing only the mouthpiece (with reed, of course). Make sure ...


8

I think that this is a very common problem, especially when you don't sing harmony very often or are just getting started (I know it was hard for me to get used to!) Here are a few tips that helped me out alot Practice the part by yourself. Especially if the part you are singing is not the melody / the commonly heard line, it's very important to be ...


8

Hand strength is important in the violin, but so is fine motor control. Why not develop both? Practicing etudes by Kreutzer (42 Studies) and Paganini (24 Caprices, Op. 1) should strengthen your fingers enough to play almost anything. Try chord and trill exercises for a serious finger workout. Here is a graded list of etudes. Archived version of above ...


8

This may be overkill, but I gained a great deal of insight into my own posture from The Thinking Body by Mabel E. Todd. The basic idea is that the body resists gravity in the same manner that a building does: by distributing the weight along lines of compression and suspension. For the most part the front of your body is suspended from the frame of the ...


8

This is a bad habit. Essentially, you need to reprogram your mind to stop tensing when what you really want is focus. The instinct to tense is extremely common, and, unfortunately, very difficult to override. luser droog gave a fantastic explanation of how to build proper posture. You should take his advice, and constantly check to see if you're following ...


8

Get a good teacher, it can really make a huge difference. Practice difficult passages slowly (surprise!) and concentrate on relaxation. Often when I get tense, it's because I play faster than I think (like, my thoughts come after my hands). So, when you practice (slowly), try to think ahead, and when you speed up, try to keep it so that your thoughts are ...


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