I consider David Lucas Burge to be the guru of all ear training.
Already famous for his Perfect Pitch method, Burge later created his Relative Pitch Ear Training SuperCourse for those who wanted a total ear for music.
What a lucid thinker Burge is! The simplicity of his wisdom is really the hallmark of his courses.
There's really no other who teaches so clearly and makes ear training so fun.
Burge is the first person ever to say that "Relative Pitch is the mind's understanding of what the ear hears." Easy ... and brilliant!
The average teacher would have told you that Relative Pitch is all about learning music intervals, chords, and all facets of a professional ear for music. Burge agrees totally, but he takes you much further than this.
For example, and for the very first time in music education, Burge clearly explains how Perfect Pitch and Relative Pitch are two completely distinct levels of musical awareness. He shows how one cannot replace the other, and why both are required for a complete musical ear.
He illustrates it like this: The way most people listen to music is like watching a black and white TV - one that is also out of focus. Gaining Relative Pitch is like bringing that fuzzy picture into sharp focus so you can see what's really happening. Gaining Perfect Pitch is like adding the rich color experience to the black and white picture.
Burge means that most people don't really have a clue what's going on in the music. They just hear a bunch of tones and get only a general impression.
But with Relative Pitch, you can see clearly what is going on in the music - how the chords are structured, how they progress harmonically, and how the music flows.
When you add the experience of Perfect Pitch, then you know the exact tones that are playing. Combined with Relative Pitch, you then enjoy the complete artistic perception of music.
No music teacher has ever explained these concepts so personally and so deeply as Burge.
(See Burge's web site to understand more on how Perfect Pitch and Relative Pitch work together.)
For music students everywhere, Burge has beautifully answered the question of "why should I even bother to learn this stuff in the first place?"
He says that "if you are a performer, you can only perform as well as your ear can hear."
Or "if you are a composer, your ear can only think up and compose what it can comprehend."
And even "as a listener, you can only enjoy as much as your ear can hear."
Burge says that because music is a hearing art, anything we do to improve our ears will automatically improve our capacities as musicians.
These reasons are more than compelling ones, they express a wisdom and joy of music as a profound art of listening.
With lucid reasonings and reassurances, Burge gently encourages you to go for it and gain the "complete ear tune-up" that he will put you through on his Relative Pitch Ear Training SuperCourse, a whopping 41 audio CDs.
As contrasted with the experience of many music students, Burge believes that ear training should not be a case of "ear straining" or "fear training," but should instead be a fun challenge that anyone can master.
The purpose of his drills and exercises is to probe the inner depths and layers of music. His drills invite you to probe deeper than just the melody line and enter into the harmonies within. With greater knowledge, you gain a deeper appreciation and skill in music. How true it is that "everything in music is completely and utterly dependent on how well your ear hears."
I find it amazing that this course requires no note reading ... the only requirement is to listen.
Burge explains well the importance of proper musical spelling. Using musical language intelligently and with authority demonstrates a thorough comprehension and mastery of its grammar.
Burge's teachings go far beyond the scope of academia to encompass a wide range of musical backgrounds and tastes. His students range from pop to jazz to classical.
Whatever your skill level at present, you'll cure any ear weaknesses with Burge's step-by-step approach to Relative Pitch ear training.
Yes, it's a lot of CDs. But when you finish listening to these, you'll never experience music in the same way again.