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Aural Trainer guidance and support

Aural TrainerThis page provides dedicated guidance and technical support for Aural Trainer users. Assistance with the main functions of Aural Trainer is provided and common queries and technical problems are addressed, including a simple guide to operating the app, tips for specific exercises and answers to frequently asked questions.

If you cannot find the assistance you need here, please get in touch using the contact form at the bottom of the page, making sure to include all of the details requested.

If you have not yet downloaded Aural Trainer and would like to find out more about the app, return to the main page.

General guidance

Refer to the following sections for instructions on operating the Aural Trainer app and brief summaries of how best to approach each exercise.

Interface guide

Navigation

Menu

Go back to the previous menu.

Back

Prepare

Try some preparatory tasks to help you practise and improve.

Prepare

Start

Begin an exercise once you’ve read the introduction text and are ready to go.

Start

Stop

Stop the audio playback.

Stop

Skip

Finish listening to the extract if you’re ready to give an answer (for example, if you’re trying the same question again).

Skip

Next

Move on to the following part of the exercise.

Next

Help

Re-read the introduction to help you with the exercise. You can return to the question you’ve already started.

Help

Back

Return to the question you’re answering.

Back

Review

Listen to your answer and reflect on how you’ve done.

Review

Try Another

Start a different question in the same exercise.

Try Another

Try Again

Restart the same question in the exercise.

Try Again

Feedback Functions

Some tests provide different feedback tools for self-assessment:

Grade 1-3 Echoes

Hear the phrase followed by your echo.

Echoes

Hear the phrase followed by your echo and the phrase together.

Echoes

Grade 1-5 Melodic Repetition

Hear the melody followed by your response.

Melodic Repetition

Grade 6-8 Melodic Repetition

Hear all parts followed by your response.

Melodic Repetition

Hear the individual part followed by your response.

Melodic Repetition

Grade 6-8 Sight-singing

Hear yourself with the accompaniment.

Sight-singing

Hear yourself with the correct response.

Sight-singing

Grade 8 Musical Features

Hear the extract with an exemplar text answer.

Musical Features

Hear your recorded response with an exemplar text answer.

Musical Features

Help and tips

We offer some useful advice below to enable you to make best use of each element of Aural Trainer.

Rhythm and Pulse

Take a moment before starting and watch the instructions carefully during the exercise. The switch to either rhythm or pulse is displayed two bars before you need to change your response.

Pulse and Metre

Start tapping within two bars of the piece starting to have a chance of getting all the beats correct. You can tap anywhere on the screen but try to stay on the same spot on the screen. Don't leap about too much.

Echoes and Melodic Repetition

Echoes and Melodic Repetition are not auto-assessed, but the exercises provide excellent tools to help self-assessment using a combination of useful feedback mechanisms.

Come in promptly to keep in time. In Echoes, the gap between the phrases is exactly the right length if you start and sing each phrase in time.

Differences

Press the blue button as soon as you hear the change. The extracts are very short so you need to press this very quickly to confirm you heard the change in the correct place.

At Grade 2 and Grade 3 practise with the preparatory tasks Change in pitch and Change in rhythm for a while, before moving on to Differences so that you can get used to the response buttons.

Sight-singing (Grades 1-5)

Sing confidently into the microphone of your device to ensure better pitch detection. Using headphones with a built-in microphone will reduce ambient noise and increase pitch detection reliability.

You can sing the notes at any octave but the app needs to identify which octave by analysing the first note you sing. If this first note is not recognised as a pitch (e.g. some background noise was recorded instead of a pitch) the remaining notes will not be detected.

The tuner is quite sensitive. Remember that if you disagree with the tuner (auto assessment) use the self-assessment tools to check for yourself. We are continuing to develop the quality of the Sight-singing tuner.

Use the preparatory tasks to warm up and approach the practice exercise.

Sight-singing (Grades 6-8)

At Grades 6-8 Sight-singing uses audio recording and synchronisation to let you hear yourself back with the accompaniment or with the correct response. Keep in time with the accompaniment when you sing so that you are able to review your pitch and rhythm more clearly.

Musical Features

The text phrases presented are not exhaustive and some are quite subjective. Over time you will begin to notice patterns in the description of different musical features. They are just suggestions – in an exam you may use any description that is appropriate.

Don't worry about trying questions again. The app is a trainer and is designed to encourage repeat attempts to help you develop your aural skills. It is not an exam application. If you are finding Musical Features difficult try listening to the extract once before attempting to respond to the features.

Rhythmic Repetition

This is often a difficult exercise. The metronome click is there to help the app track the timing of your tapped response. Remember there is no metronome click in the exam.

FAQs

Is there a version available for Android devices?

We cannot, at this stage, confirm for definite when an Android release might be available or provide any further information about potential compatibility for specific devices.

Is there a version available for desktop and laptop computers?

Aural Trainer was built specifically as a mobile app. The design of the application and its exercises is founded on use of mobile and touch-screen technology, both of which enable the patterns of use and types of interaction required for this particular mode of learning. In many cases, mobile and tablet apps are unique strands of technology that are quite distinct from desktop and laptop software.

In Differences sometimes a note gets longer but the application tells me the change was to a dotted rhythm. Why?

When identifying a change in rhythm the change to and from dotted rhythms can be a little ambiguous. For example, making an even rhythm dotted involves lengthening a note but also shortening another. The response expected by Aural Trainer is the one that best matches the ‘feel’ of the change in line with expected responses to be given in an exam.

I am sure I sang all the notes right in Sight-singing but the app thinks I got some/all of them wrong. Why?

There are a few possible reasons for Sight-singing misreading your sung notes.

You can sing the notes at any octave but the app needs to identify which octave by analysing the first note you sing. If this first note is not recognised as a pitch (e.g. some background noise was recorded instead of a pitch) the remaining notes will not be detected.

‘Leaping’ octaves can lead to incorrect feedback from the sight-singing exercises.

Ambient noise can affect the recording of any note. To reduce ambient noise problems:

  • Try to reduce noise in the room to a minimum.
  • Sing confidently into the microphone of your device to ensure better pitch detection.
  • Using headphones with a built-in microphone will reduce ambient noise and increase pitch detection reliability.

Can I share Aural Trainer via Family Sharing?

Apple makes it possible to share some types of purchases with members of your family via Family Sharing such as apps, music and films. However, it is not possible to share in-app purchases via Family Sharing.

If you wish to share Aural Trainer via Family Sharing, you must purchase the full version of the app directly from the App Store. It is not possible to share the in-app upgrade of Aural Trainer Lite because it is an in-app purchase. Find out more about Family Sharing.

Contact us

If you require technical support with Aural Trainer please refer to the FAQs above first to check whether your query is answered under this section. If you still require assistance with a problem, or if you have any suggestions for improvements or developments, please contact our Aural Trainer support team by completing the following form.

Known issues

Updated: July 2016

1. Users with bluetooth speakers or bluetooth headphones may find that the app loses connection with these devices during or between exercises. Aural Trainer does not currently support audio playback via bluetooth speakers or bluetooth headphones. We are currently investigating the viability of supporting bluetooth playback but, due to the complex audio processes used within the app, we cannot guarantee whether or when this might be available.

2. We recently released an update to Aural Trainer 1-5 (Lite and Full versions) which has caused issues with a number of exercises crashing on some devices. We have identified the cause of this issue and hope to release a fix for this within the next 48 hours.








 

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