Aural test is one of the component in ABRSM piano exam which is compulsory for all candidate. It contributes to 18 marks in the exam which is equivalent to 12% of the total 150 marks. So why is aural test included in piano exam? What is aural skill and why is it so important to develop musicianship?
Definition of “Aural” from Merriam-Webster: relating to the ear or sense of hearing
Yes, aural skill is something related to hearing. As a music student, hearing music is equally important as creating music with your instrument. During the music lessons, music theories are learnt. We’ve learnt about notes, rhythm, intervals, chords, cadence, scales and many more. But when you hear a piece of music, can you identify all those elements without looking at the sheet music? Developing aural skills enable you to do it.
With proper ear training, a musician should acquired the ability to recognize the notes and rhythms he hears. He should be able to reproduce the music by clapping, singing or playing back with an instrument. He should also has the ability to identify the intervals between two notes, cadences at the end of a phrase and modulation in a piece of music. In addition, he has the ability to describe all the musical features and characters of a piece of music by just listening to it. Another important element of aural skill is sight singing. This is an ability to sing a piece of music that you never hear before by just reading the notes on the sheet music.
hear what you see and see what you hear… performance reveals whether the instrumentalist understands what he is playing
Many music students think that aural skill is the hardest skill to learn in music because lots of training and practices are required. Most of them learn it only for the purpose of passing the exam. However, we should not neglect the importance of aural skill in developing the overall musicality and musicianship. Thus, aural skill and ear training should be ideally incorporated into the music lessons starting from the very beginning. The training should not be started few months before the exam is approaching. There are many books and apps that you can use to improve your aural skills.
What do you think of the importance of developing aural skill in music student? Let me know by leaving your comment below.