All the chapters in this text have speed drills to reinforce some of the components relating to the specific topics covered within the chapter. These exercises are supplementary to the regular assignments that students may complete, and are intended to help the student solidify his or her ability to quickly and accurately identify certain basic elements.
There are five rounds of drills for each chapter component, each round comprising three speed levels: “regular,” “fast,” and “lightning.” For all the drills, students hear several intervals, scales, triads, or seventh chords one time, and try to identify each accurately from that single hearing.
At “regular” speed levels, students have ample time to process each example and use whatever method they need for its identification—referential melody associations, scale degree patterns, implied harmonic progression, and so forth.
At the “fast” level the same methodology can still apply, but the student must be quick to make the associations.
At the “lightning” level, the listener must simply respond to each sound using his or her instinct, since there is not enough time between hearings to make reliably the necessary associations for identification. This is a challenging exercise to be sure, but one which strongly fosters the development of the student’s ear.
The listener1 should approach these exercises in one of the following three ways:
- As you work through each chapter, do the exercises for all three levels in each round. Do two or three rounds at a time, and mix up their order to create variety. Check to see if your accuracy diminishes at faster speed levels.2
- Begin with the Level 1 exercises in each round for a specific component. Once you feel comfortable with this level, do the Level 2 exercises in the same way, and then progress to those in Level 3.
- As you work through successive chapters, go back to earlier speed drills and choose either the “fast” or “lightning” level to reinforce each component as you move through progressively more difficult material.
Be sure to read the requirements for each drill so you know how to respond as quickly and accurately as possible.
Audio Files for Speed Drills
1 We say “listener” here to be all-inclusive. If you are an instructor, you might also benefit from being able to complete these drills. They are a challenge for anyone who wishes to tackle them.
2 Many students find that they are more accurate with some components at faster levels, when they have to rely on instinct. This is because they do not have time to “re-hear” an event and second-guess themselves.