Solfa, Piano Improv, Intervals and Practicing Smarter | Easy Ear Training

Spring is just around the corner, and soon our ears will be filled with birdsong. In the spirit of using everyday sounds to train your ear: can you tell a bird from a human just by listening? Hopefully so! But computers struggle.

That’s why researchers from Queen Mary, University of London have created this fun game to help them train their algorithms to distinguish bird sounds from human sounds. Help them out just by spending a few minutes playing the game!


Moving on from birds, we have some exciting articles for you this week. Tutorials on solfa, piano improvisation and spelling intervals, alongside interesting discussions on criticism and how to practise smarter. Also, don’t miss our interview with innovative songwriter Marc with a C.

Practice Smart


“Life is short and isn’t meant to be wasted on bad practice. So make the most of your valuable time by practising smarter.”

Wise words from this weeks Musical U blogpost. Don’t miss this article for 6 tips on how to get more out of every practice session.

Piano Improv

5 steps to piano improvisation-sm

If you are a pianist you are probably used to others having a very high expectation of your playing. Often people will expect you to sit at any piano and improvise spontaneously. As part of our series on improvisation we have created a simple 5 step process to piano improvisation, that you can work through to learn to improvise easily and confidently on piano.

Whether you are a complete beginner to improvisation or are looking to build on the skills you already have, you will find some useful guidance in this article to take your improv to the next level.

Solfa and Pentatonic Improvisation

Pentatonic improvisation sm

Solfa can be used in many different ways to improve your musical ear. In our current series, Solfa and the Score, we are walking you through the process of of internalising the solfa syllables to help you sight-sing and transcribe music you hear onto a score. This week’s tutorial is all about using the powerful pentatonic scale and the solfa syllables to improvise. Work through these improvisation exercises and you’ll be surprised how easily you can effortlessly relate the solfa syllables to notes on the score.

Unicorns Get More Bacon


I bet that got your attention! You are probably now wondering what unicorns or bacon have to do with music. “Unicorns get more bacon” is the intriguing title of the new Marc with a C album which was released this week.

If you’d like to find out more about Marc’s songwriting process and what inspires such innovative lyrics check out this interview. You might pick some up some handy tips and tricks for your own songwriting.

Constructive and Destructive Criticism

Constructive and destructive critisicism-sm

Criticism is rife in the world of music. We have all experienced and even served some out at some point in our musical lives. Depending on how it is delivered it can either make or break musicians. This week on the Musical U blog, community conductor Stewart discusses constructive and destructive criticism and the positive community that Musical U offers its members.

Spelling Intervals

How to spell intervals sm

Intervals are the building blocks of music and an excellent place to start your musical ear training. Interval ear training can be divided into two areas. One is learning to recognise the different intervals, which is covered in detail in our ultimate guide to interval ear training. The other is learning to “spell” intervals, this means knowing the corresponding notes on your instrument or the score. This can be a boring process, but we have collected together some tips and shortcuts to help you in How to Spell Intervals.

Whatever your musical goals, I hope that our resources are helping you achieve them in an enjoyable way. To keep up to date with all the latest articles don’t forget to Like the Easy Ear Training and Musical U Facebook pages.

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