New musicality video:
Being able to name notes you hear can seem like a magical ability, and when you meet someone with “perfect pitch” it can be impressive and inspiring. But perfect pitch is not necessarily the road to take, if you want to learn those skills yourself… https://www.musical-u.com/learn/about-perfect-pitch
Today we’re going to be talking about perfect pitch. This is something that came up in my recent interview with Steve Myers from Theta Music Trainer, when we were talking about how he got started with ear training and learned to play by ear and improvise.
We didn’t talk much about it but there was one huge and important point: Although he studied some perfect pitch training, it was not the way he actually found success in his ear training. So I wanted to unpack that a bit because it’s a road a lot of musicians go down and, as I’ll explain in this episode, it’s a very misguided one due to some big common misunderstandings about perfect pitch.
Okay, this is a bit of a hot topic, and it can be quite a contentious one.
So I’m just going to lay it out.
Here’s the two-line summary of this episode:
– Can you learn perfect pitch? Yes.
– Should you try to learn perfect pitch? NO!
Here’s the slightly longer version: Can you learn perfect pitch? Yes, but it’s incredibly slow and even if you work hard at it, it’s seriously unlikely you’ll actually get good enough for it to be useful to you.
And there is a much easier way to get all the wonderful skills you’re hoping perfect pitch would bring you.
This show, The Musicality Podcast, is a lot about trying to demystify the process of becoming more musical.
To help you to see that even really inspiring and impressive musicians weren’t blessed with an effortless gift.
They worked hard to learn those skills – and that means you can too.
Perfect pitch is a great case in point, because the idea that you need perfect pitch to be an amazing musician, or that you need to be born with it to stand a chance – and also the idea that learning this magical talent is the only way to become a great musician. These are myths and delusions that hold musicians back from achieving all they could.
So if you’ve ever wondered about perfect pitch yourself, I hope that this episode will help to show you a better way.
We’re going to talk about:
– What exactly is perfect pitch
– Why people want perfect pitch
– Can you learn perfect pitch
– What is the alternative to perfect pitch
– And why that alternative is so much better.
Links and Resources
Interview with Steve Myers: https://www.musical-u.com/learn/making-ear-training-a-game-with-steve-myers/
People can often sing songs from memory in the right key: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1467-9280.03432
Learning some degree of perfect pitch is possible as an adult: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0010027715000621
How to learn a “reference pitch”: https://www.musical-u.com/learn/surviving-ear-training-101-the-reference-pitch/
Learn more about relative pitch with intervals or solfa: https://www.musical-u.com/learn/topic/ear-training/intervals/
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