Inner Hearing Training
The great musicians whom stood before us were very much about developing our musical imagination. Consequently, we were encouraged to do a LOT of listening and analysis.
And we did!
Many years later during my time as a faculty member at Berklee College of Music, I came to tell aspiring musicians that Inner Hearing means to hear internally, to accurately perceive music in your mind. That is to say, to use your musical imagination with precision.
What Does Inner Hearing Mean?
Think about this: Have you ever heard a phrase or melody, but couldn’t memorize or internalize the sound well enough to sing it or even find it on your instrument?
This experience is like looking through a camera lens that isn’t quite in focus. You can see that there is something in front of you, but you can’t make it out well enough to describe it to someone else or even to yourself. Developing your inner hearing is like using the right lens to see accurately.
However with music you are working to internally hear the ideas in your head with precision. You want to be able to sing the melody or phrase, play it on your instrument or even write it down.
How Do I Learn To Write What I Hear In My Head?
With Performance Ear Training, you learn to write what you hear in your head by using patterns to exercise your musical imagination. Just as you can do a physical workout to have a more defined six-pack, you can exercise your inner-ear to hear with more definition, more detail. In life, we depend upon patterns to get through our daily lives. Without them, we’d literally be lost. In the same way, patterns perform a similar function for us in music. Through patterns, we learn what to expect and therefore learn to hear difference with greater accuracy.
WITH TIME and regular practice, you will gain the ability to hear internally with precision, sing written melodies more accurately and play and learn music with greater ease.
How Can Inner Hearing Help With Playing The Notes I Hear In My Mind?
In a similar manner, you develop the ability to play what you imagine through working with patterns and doing transcription activities in small bites. Canned video lessons cannot beat the live lessons of Performance Ear Training where you are challenged in real time and receive immediate feedback. For most of these sessions you will work within a given range of notes or chords as your ears and theory knowledge will be challenged all along the way. In addition, you will have access to weekly lessons notes for each class that form the basis of your homework for the next lesson
Can Everyone Develop Inner Hearing?
Everyone has imagination. Performance Ear Training helps you to develop your musical aural perception.
What My Students and Colleagues Say
Mr. Mixon is a highly accomplished performer, composer and arranger, and a devoted teacher/clinician and administrator with broad experience on an international level.
Donovan was an exciting addition to our camp curriculum. I was amazed at how easily he was to adapt to not only different age ranges but levels of ability. From first day beginners to advanced players, Donovan took command of his students' attention in a very subtle way. They respected and liked him. I felt lucky to observe him in the classroom and found his vast knowledge of music curriculum astounding.
I was first introduced to Donovan Mixon in my home town Ferrara, Italy when I was a young student trying to leam everything he could about music and improvisation. At that time Donovan was teaching and performing extensively in my country. Hearing him play his compositions really inspired me to pursue my own style both as a composer and a performer.
Naturally I was pleased to learn of Mr. Mixon's credentials and accomplishments at our first meeting at Kennedy-King College. However his personal history: dedication to music, jazz, education, and world travels made an even greater impression upon me. After only a cursory perusal of his background and references I was chagrined at the cold reality of budget restrictions that precluded my ability to bring him on board in our music department immediately.
At Berklee Donovan was regarded as a hard working successful academic and teacher among his peers and the student population. His service to the college in both the department of ear-training and ensembles were seen as very important contributions to curriculum design and systems of evaluation and are still in use today.
Performance Ear Training offers a trustworthy and elegant self study map.(It) has my unequivocal endorsement.
I recommend Donovan Mixon’s Performance Ear Training to all professional drummers. It works! Our most important duty is supporting the band and the key to that is “listening”. Performance Ear Training taught me the importance of that.
It really sharpened my hearing and understanding of pitch relationships - pitch in general. I find myself much better able to direct my students to harmonic patterns and get them thinking about the underlying chord structures of what they are playing. What you get out of it is ‘refinement’.
As for the P.E.T .: it changed my life !!! I was able to sharpen my ear, improve my approach to the instrument, tackle harmonic turns without knowing the songs. Thanks Don for all this!
This class has improved my literacy with jazz and music in general. It has really helped me to listen a lot better.
I recommend this method to the serious student who wants to move from point “A” to point “B” in a logical progression of activities for the development of “hearing” on the instrument.
As a drummer, I’ve always envied the ability to instantly recognize harmonies, melodies, tension... If it weren’t for Mr. Mixon’s course, harmony would be like math class since I don’t play other instruments. His system helps me hear the harmonic concepts we worked on in the class.
It really works! The course is incredible in that now I'm able to hear the relationships between notes, chords, and keys - where I am in a key center. I imagine in an improvisational context, can map out what others are doing and respond deliberately.