Ear Training for Singers and Songwriters
What you'll learn
- Tools for hearing and reading major and minor intervals, as well as developing a better sense of rhythm
- An introduction to simple chords on the piano that can be used to aid you in training your ear for harmony, as well as reading music notation
- How to sing and harmonize using the "Solfege" system (do re mi), as well as singing exercises on notes and numbers
- How to find harmonies with your voice which will ultimately lead you to many more options for melodies if you are interested in song writing or composing.
- No experience necessary, but a basic knowledge of music is a bonus
- Be open to making mistakes!
I've composed a series of pieces, one for each interval starting with a 2nd and going all the way to an octave, as well as some exercises and warmups to begin training your ear for harmony. Listen to the videos and try the exercises with me. Then practice with the backing tracks at your own pace. The more you sing and listen to these pieces, the quicker you will develop a memory for each interval. The idea is to sing some of the exercises for a few minutes everyday, and eventually you will begin to develop a memory for the sounds of the intervals (and the various rhythms). Training your ear doesn't happen over night, but with a little effort you will get better and better at hearing and reproducing the intervals. This will aid you in sight reading better, as well as figuring out the melodies you hear on the radio (and in your head as a songwriter). With a little practice and perseverance, you will soon be able to start identifying the intervals in those melodies, as well as the corresponding chords.
"Intervals" truly are the building blocks of melody and harmony, and once you can begin to understand their unique qualities and hear them internally, finding chords and harmonies will come more easily to you. This course is designed to get you seeing, hearing and singing intervals (the spaces between notes in the tunes we love) and then learn how they relate to chords and work together to create unforgettable songs and melodies.
Learn how the scale and intervals work in a step by step process designed to get you internalizing pitch and harmony even when you are not singing or playing! Learn what bass clef chords look and sound like on the piano as well, and if you have a keyboard, try to play along on some of the pieces!
Disclaimer: for those of you who may have studied solfege, I have taught both "movable" and "fixed" solfege for 20+ years, but I prefer to teach with movable solfege for this series as it helps to develop a memory for patterns in melody and harmony no matter the key if you know that song from The Sound Of Music, "Do a Deer", that's based on the "solfege" scale).
I've included pdfs of the sheet music which can be downloaded and printed out to further aid your note reading skills. There are also many backing tracks for independent practice. Let's start training your ear and developing your innate musical gifts! And as always, if you try the course and are confused in any way, please reach out to me with your questions and concerns.
Who this course is for:
- Singers and songwriters who want to learn more about how intervals and harmony works
- Music enthusiasts who want a deeper understanding of basic music theory
- Music students who would like to develop their understanding of harmony and practice hearing intervals
- Instrumentalists who are interested in developing their ear for intervals and harmony
- Anyone who would like to learn how to play chords on the piano
- Students who wish to practice sight reading
Sarah Bonsignore is a South African born American musician and recording artist living in Nashville, TN. She earned her Bachelors Degree in piano and vocal performance in South Africa before moving to New York to pursue her Masters Degree in opera.
Sarah was on the faculty of two prestigious schools in New York, the Hackley School and the Trinity School, for almost twenty years. She taught piano, voice, musical theater, songwriting and AP music theory, advised students, directed chapel music and multiple a capella groups, arranged shows and concerts, and led international trips. Sarah also taught eurhythmics and early childhood classes when her children were toddlers, and trained in the Dalcroze method at the Lucy Moses School and Diller Quaille School of Music in Manhattan.
A highlight of her career was playing for Nelson Mandela's inauguration ball in her hometown of Durban. Sarah was also thrilled to play on South African radio and TV as both a pianist and singer, and she landed the first of many US sync placements for TV in 2019. Sarah has also conducted and performed as a soloist at Carnegie Hall.
When her husband was transferred to Music City, Sarah decided to leave her beloved teaching position to write and produce music (and raise her children) full time. The pandemic changed her plans a little, and she began making practice videos for her three boys to keep them on track with their music while they were quarantining. This led to the idea of starting her own music school, SingPlayStudios in Nashville, which she opened (virtually) in August of 2020. She already has sign ups from four continents and hopes to start a global choir in 2022.
Sarah's piano repertoire and method books "20 Beautiful piano Solos" books 1 and 2, "Songs for a Rainy Day" and "Home is Where the Heart is" books 1, 2 and 3 (a chord based approach to learning piano) were published in 2021 and are now available on Amazon and at her website. Her third full album, "Future Memories", was released in August of 2020, and her holiday EP "Wonderland" was released in December, 2020.
Sarah has received many awards for her music both as a classical performer, and as a writer. She was most recently a finalist in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest with her co-writers Becca Schack and Jonathan Ray Case. Sarah is currently teaching piano, singing, ear training and music theory classes for Williamson County, as well as globally in her online studios for SingPlayStudios. Creativity is in our DNA, and it makes the world a better place. Singing, playing an instrument and creating music is healing on so many levels, and Sarah believes it's never too late to give yourself the gift of music.