For as long as I can remember, I have had an unusually high motivation to do well in school. Maybe it’s because I’m the oldest child? Maybe it’s because I always want to accomplish bigger and better things? Who really knows. The point is that I have always been able to put my mind to a task and make it happen.
I always wait until the night before a test to study, and that tactic has never failed me. However, no matter how good I am at memorizing and remembering miniscule details, I have met my match. Ear training is a new beast and has taught me how to ask for help.
Ear training is full of intervals, melodies, rhythm, sight signing, and plenty of other daunting tasks that almost all college musicians endure. It’s a bonding experience of struggles and finding solace in small victories. Unless you have perfect pitch, ear training is a learning curve.
To be successful in the class, you have to hear and identify different musical elements correctly. The struggle for me is that it is draining because so much focus and attention is needed to not miss anything. I’m the world’s slowest test taker, but in this class, you may only have three chances to hear something before you have to move on.
Adapting to Overcome
Once I realized this was going to be difficult for me, I started using my resources. When I was unsure, I asked for help. I’ve taken advantage of studying extra and trying to incorporate my weak points into everyday life. I’m sure this has been driving my roommates crazy. To work on my intervals, I’ve been humming throughout each day since September.
The biggest takeaway in this class for me has been mindset. When I study for long hours and then don’t perform as hoped on tests or quizzes, I can’t let that get me down. I can know that I tried my absolute hardest because I asked for help and did much more than the bare minimum. Keeping a positive attitude is everything because of how easy it is to psych yourself out. On a handful of occasions, I have second guessed myself into incorrect answers when I should have trusted my gut.
Embracing the Experience
Asking for help is amazing. I know it can be scary to admit that you aren’t an expert in something in a world where others can be quick to judge. However, asking to be informed is one of the best things you can learn to do for yourself. This helps you grow your confidence and grow as a person.
Nobody is perfect, so we shouldn’t act like we are. Especially in the music world full of perfect pitch snobs, you can feel like you are put down for not understanding. By changing the culture to be accepting and welcoming of questions creates a more open learning environment. While I was originally not excited for this class at all, it has been one of the greatest learning experiences of my college career.