CPTP108: Ear Training That's Actually Fun with Kristin Jensen - Creative Music Education

CPTP108: Ear Training That’s Actually Fun with Kristin Jensen

By Tim Topham | Aural

Oct 13


Ear training can be dull. But it definitely doesn’t have to be.

Kirstin Jensen is here to tell us about some super fun and effective aural activities you can do with your students in just a few minutes of lesson time. These ideas will even get your youngest most wiggly students excited to work on ear training.

When it comes to ear training, a little goes a long way. Kirstin has seen a marked difference in musicality between her students that have done ear training from the start – and those that haven’t.

So what are you waiting for? Jump in and listen to Kirstin’s great aural tips, your students will thank you.


If you’d like to download a PDF transcript of this episode, please click below.

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In this episode, you’ll learn

  • Why ear training is even better in group lessons
  • How to build up your confidence with aural
  • Creative ideas for making ear training fun and interactive
  • Activities for rhythmic dictation (with cheering!)
  • How ear training improves students’ playing in general
  • Why Kristin includes compositions and improvisations in every recital

Links Mentioned

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Thank you for Tuning In!

There are a lot of podcasts you could be tuning into today, and I’m grateful that you’ve chosen mine.

Whether you’re at the gym, on the bike or in the car, I know that you and your students will get lots out of what you learn in the long run.

Just make sure you try out some of the ideas before they get lost in the business of your next lessons!

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Which of these aural activities have you tried?

Do you ever jump too far ahead too soon like I do? Or perhaps you’ve been scared off from lack of confidence in your own skills?


About the Author

Best-known for his blogging and teaching, Tim is also a well-respected presenter, performer and accompanist based in Melbourne, Australia. You can check him out on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

  • Diane Cross says:

    I have always played by ear from childhood, and was belittled for that skill as my reading was quite painfully slow. Its clear to me that some children are already very gifted at playing by ear. For those children I emphasize it even more, as they are the ones who will probably join bands and play or create their own music at a professional level in later years. But the others can be guided to hear the intervals by connecting the sounds to specific well known songs that they recognize. By doing so they too can learn how to pick out a basic melody and then recreate it on the piano. That skill can give a lot of pleasure, even if it is only a few pieces they ever try. (Happy Birthday is a good one for working out melody) Being able to hear or sing a song in tune is necessary, as the student learns how to match the notes they are playing to the sound in their head. So I do a lot of singing with students too. They will eventually be able to let go of the music books and work out their favourite pieces by ear if these skills are developed, in a natural way. I also found that they are often then enthusiastic about creating their own original pieces. Quite a few of my teens have created some great original songs and compositions, to sing and play for their school concerts. One of my original teenage students has just completed his Masters in Composition for Musical Theatre and is well on his way to a professional career. He is grateful for the encouragement and nurturing of his creative skills I gave him in his earlier piano lessons. It is a very satisfying reward for me. Another current student can just sit and play beautiful ambient improvisations that are peaceful and calming with an ease that is impressive for a teenage boy. I truly believe the creative way of teaching music is the most beneficial for students, and am still looking for more and more ideas as the years pass. Its a wonderful journey.

    • Tim Topham says:

      Thanks Di – so lovely to hear about your approach and the success that it’s been having. It’s just such an important skill to nurture (hence these podcasts). Would love to hear you student’s improvisations – do you have any YouTube videos to link to?

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