Ukulele Campfire 2018

Welcome to our 2018 Ukulele Campfire!

Ear Training Exercises

No matter what your level or what song you’re working on, try at least one of these exercises each time you practice to deepen your listening skills in music:

  1. Just listen. Don’t underestimate the power of simply listening to music, and seeing what you notice.  When you’re done, turn the music off and see what of the song you can still hear in your head? What parts are most memorable?
  2. Listen for the rhythm. Can you feel the basic beat of the song? How about the big beats, that make you sway back and forth? How does the melody fit in with the rhythm? When you’re done, turn the music off – can you keep the beat going as you sing the song to yourself?
  3. Listen for chord changes. Once you get to know the song pretty well and can anticipate the melody, pay attention to the chord changes, or the harmony. What changes in harmony coincide with changes in the melody, or certain lyrics? How does the rhythm help you keep track of the chord pattern? When you’re done, turn the music off – can you hear not just the melody but now also a bit of the harmony? What pieces of the song are tied together as you hear it in your head?

Song #1: Amazing Grace (Key of C)

  • Practice Track
  • The chord pattern for this waltz time song is divided into four chunks of four measures each (16 3-beat groups altogether). Listen for the following common patterns:
    • Circle pattern: over the course of four measures, chords move to something new each measure until the last measure, when you come back to the original chord
    • Musical Question: Typically at the end of the first phrase of a two-phrase pattern, listen for a chord that doesn’t resolve the phrase but almost creates anticipation for whatever the next part of the song is.
    • Musical Answer / Sandwich: To resolve the Musical Question, a chord pattern will typically end on the home chord of the song, feeling a bit like a Musical Answer. Often, this comes in the form of a sandwich: Home Chord – Question Chord – Home Chord.

Song#2: MTA Song (Key of D)

  • Practice Track
  • The chord pattern for this standard time song is divided into two chunks of four measures each (8  4-beat groups altogether). Listen for the following common patterns:
    • Alternating (Door Hinge) pattern: over the course of four measures, you’ll start on the home chord, go out to one chord, and then have to pass back through the home chord to get to a different chord.
    • Musical Question: Typically at the end of the first phrase of a two-phrase pattern, listen for a chord that doesn’t resolve the phrase but almost creates anticipation for whatever the next part of the song is.
    • Musical Answer / Sandwich: To resolve the Musical Question, a chord pattern will typically end on the home chord of the song, feeling a bit like a Musical Answer. Often, this comes in the form of a sandwich: Home Chord – Question Chord – Home Chord.

Song #3: Michael Row the Boat Ashore (Key of G)

  • Practice Track
  • The chord pattern for this standard time song is divided into two chunks of four measures each (8  4-beat groups altogether). Listen for the following common patterns:
    • Melody-driven chord change: All chord changes are built around melody,  but sometimes there are moments when the melody goes particularly high or low and seems to push a chord change more obviously than other times.
    • Circle pattern: over the course of four measures, chords move to something new each measure until the last measure, when you come back to the original chord

Song #4: Three Little Birds (Key of A)

  • Practice Track
  • The chord pattern for this standard time song is divided into a Chorus Pattern (two chunks of four slow measures; 8 4-beat groups altogether) and a Verse Pattern (four chunks of four measures each (16 4-beat groups altogether). Listen for the following common patterns:
    • Melody-driven chord change: All chord changes are built around melody,  but sometimes there are moments when the melody goes particularly high or low and seems to push a chord change more obviously than other times.
    • Circle pattern: over the course of four measures, chords move to something new each measure until the last measure, when you come back to the original chord
    • Musical Question: Typically at the end of the first phrase of a two-phrase pattern, listen for a chord that doesn’t resolve the phrase but almost creates anticipation for whatever the next part of the song is.
    • Musical Answer / Sandwich: To resolve the Musical Question, a chord pattern will typically end on the home chord of the song, feeling a bit like a Musical Answer. Often, this comes in the form of a sandwich: Home Chord – Question Chord – Home Chord.

Song #5: Where Have All the Flowers Gone? (Key of G)

  • Practice Track
  • This song is written out for you in your song packet with the Chord Number System (I, IV, V7, vi). Use your Chord Family Reference Sheet to practice following the chord pattern in different keys.
  • Once you get familiar with the song, listen for the bigger relationships between these chords – they will sound the same no matter what key you play in, so it helps to be able to recognize those typical chord patterns we mentioned above: Circle, Alternating, Musical Question & Answer, Melody-Driven … which ones are at work in this song?

Song #6: Leavin’ on a Jetplane (Key of C)

  • Practice Track
  • This song is written out for you in your song packet with the Chord Number System (I, IV, V7, vi). Use your Chord Family Reference Sheet to practice following the chord pattern in different keys.
  • Once you get familiar with the song, listen for the bigger relationships between these chords – they will sound the same no matter what key you play in, so it helps to be able to recognize those typical chord patterns we mentioned above: Circle, Alternating, Musical Question & Answer, Melody-Driven … which ones are at work in this song?