From Concept to Eye and Ear

Musicianship skills rest upon a foundation of music theory fundamentals. This includes knowledge of notes, scales, intervals, chords, key signatures, solfeggio (or scale degree names), and scale-tone chords (Roman numeral analysis). Musicianship involves knowing these elements when you hear them, see them, and play them.


Can you play music after hearing it? Do you read music? Can you read music and imagine its sound before playing it? Can you write out the music that you imagine before you play it? Are you getting the full benefit of knowing music fundamentals by ear, by eye, and on your instrument?


You may tend to play by ear or lean more toward reading music. MusicGoals provides practice tools that separate hearing, reading, playing, and understanding elements of music theory. MusicGoals can improve weaknesses and develop a balance of musicianship skills.


There are four ways of knowing music fundamentals.


  1. Understand the concepts - know the terms such as note names or chord spellings.

  2. Play the Instrument - know how to produce the element on an instrument.

  3. Recognize each element when sight-reading.

  4. Play by ear - memorize the sound such as a scale, interval, or chord.


This is not a simple four step process. In fact you may know any one of these without the others. For example, you may recognize a melody without understanding the notes, how to play it, or how it is written. You may be able to read a melody and play it and not know how it will sound until you hear it. If you play by ear you may have very little understanding of notation.


Gaining mastery in all four ways of knowing music fundamentals means gaining fluency. It means taking less time to learn new music. It means being able to memorize a new piece much sooner. These skill are critical for improvisation and composition. They also help with accuracy and intonation.