An aspiring jazz trumpet player's blog about jazz improvisation and ear training.

January 14, 2004 Ear Training 0 Comments

Happy birthday - ear and imrov

iwasdoingallright - audio clip - my first ear training audio post.

Actually, this is really a combination of ear training and improvisation. While recording it, I felt a pure "simple song" ear training recording would be pretty dull, so I decided to add some improvisation after playing the melody. As I type this, however, it's occurring to me that I could make the "simple song" recordings a little more interesting by playing the melody in a handful of random keys.


As mentioned in the title to this post, I'm playing "Happy Birthday." I played it a bit up-tempo, in this recording, but you should play your ear training tunes at whatever tempo feels comfortable. As your accuracy improves, increase the tempo.

There are a couple of places where I briefly pause while playing the melody. My ears and brain still take some time to figure out where to go next. Even on a tune like this, which I've played several times in every key, I can still get tripped up when going fast or when I play with the rhythm (adding swing).


I chose to play this in the trumpet's key of G (starting note is D). When working on simple song exercises, I recommend playing things in familiar/easy keys first (C, F, G). As you build accuracy and confidence, experiment with less frequented keys.

Honestly, when I do these, I rarely think about the key before I begin. I just pick a random starting note. While I play the tune, the key usually becomes obvious based on the notes I've been playing.

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