Ear training tips
I recently returned to the Violin after a break of 12 years. I played as a child and teen, and while naturally things are quite rusty, I’d describe my level as “ambitious early intermediate”.
The thing I’m most ungappy about currently is my intonation, or better said: my ability to hear my intonation while I play. My teacher assures me that my intonation is actually quite good especially considering my level and how long I didn’t play before half a year ago, but I’m still unhappy with it. The main reason I think is because I naturally hear quite ok, so I can usually tell that something is a little off, but I sometimes (especially if it’s out of tune only a little) can’t tell in which direction. The fact that I constantly compare myself to my older brother who has perfect pitch and nails every note (he also plays violin) probably doesn’t help. I know we shouldn’t compare oursleves but hey, this is some good natured sibling rivalry, so I really need to
So what do you guys do to train your ears? Any specific exercises? Apps? Methods? Anything to learn to hear better is welcome :)
As for apps, I found Intonia to be the most helpful. I would use it for scales and slow playing. Schradieck was helpful with me as well. I felt the same as you after returning from a long break, but after several months and lots of patience I now rarely hit a bad note. It took awhile for me to also get rhythm sorted out.
Ugh yes, I have the worst rythm. It doesn’t bother me as much tho haha. Thank you Timothy, it’s comforting to hear that it might be a returner thing. I’ll check that app. :) And I will look into Schradieck. I keep hearing good things. :)
Adult returner here. My teacher and I are really working on micro-adjustments to my intonation at this point. The best thing I can recommend is to sing scales or sing passages, preferably with a well-tuned piano. Sing it once, play it on the violin, repeat. It forces you to hear your violin differently.
If you’re having big pitch problems, i think the best ear training you can do is to practice with a tuner that has fast response. Play your usual stuff slowloy and watch the tuner carefully but also listen very carefully so that you’re not just relying on visuals.
Here's a great exercise I discovered myself:
Thank you both for your input. I sadly don’t have easy access to a piano, but I’ll try the singing tip whenever I can.
Play scales with the tonic droning on in the background. And Simon Fischer's scales book has a whole series of exercises to build a good concept of intonation. If you do these two things, in a few months I have no doubt you'll improve SIGNIFICANTLY =)