Dictation - Beginner too easy, Intermediate too hard!

I just want to give feedback here. When I clicked “support” it directed me here and said one of the things I could do in this forum was provide feedback, but there is no category to choose for “feedback” so I left this post uncategorized. That’s my first piece of feedback: if you are interested in feedback, create a category for feedback! :smile:

Second piece of feedback: A tenet of game theory is to make goals difficult but achievable, and as you ramp up the difficulty the player improves in small increments. You should also provide very quick feedback so that the user’s brain can learn to adjust. However I find a large jump in difficulty between the Beginner and Intermediate levels of the Dictation exercise. I routinely score 100’s on the beginner and in the teens and twenties on intermediate. I think the main reason is that there is no option to hear my input on the intermediate exercises, the way there is on the beginner ones.

I am terrible at recognizing the chords in the progression, so I am left to guess. So there is no immediate feedback as I try things out and zero in on the correct answer, giving my brain a chance to learn. I can only guess, submit, and see my horrible score. But then since I can’t re-do the exercise immediately or try another one until the next day, I have no opportunity for quick feedback to help me learn what I am mis-hearing. I’ve done it religiously every day for the past week and I feel I am no better at the intermediate exercises.

I think if you would just enable a play button to let me hear what I am inputting (like for the beginner exercises), it would give me the immediate feedback I need to get better at this.

Or… is there some research that shows this really is the best way to learn (24 hours between guess/failure)? It is just disheartening that I am not improving at all so far.

@kevinpauli thanks for the great feedback. I agree that the leap in difficulty is pretty large. Doing ear training “right” is something that we’re very interested in for the future (it’s one of our next big projects) so know that we do plan on improving/adding to it.

I think one issue is that when you can hear the chords, it’s pretty easy to get 100% if you are willing to try different possibilities over and over again until you hit the right one. In that sense, you may think you are getting 100% but aren’t really!

It is true that in music schools, dictations tests like this are often taken silently without audio feedback, but I agree that we could probably keep the training wheels on for longer than we do.

A larger question is how to smooth out the jump (or apparent jump) in difficulty at whatever point we do decide to turn off the sound.

Certainly open to suggestions.


Thanks for the response!

Maybe you could have a level between beginner and intermediate, where you turn off the sound but it’s still “nursery rhyme” songs and you don’t yet add chords.

Another idea would be to let us do more than one challenge per day. Maybe like 5 per day.

I’ll play around in HookPad some more, and keep studying the song examples from the HookTheory ebook (which is wonderful by the way) over again, and trust that it will sink in eventually. Your tools are really top notch and a great resource, keep up the great work!

Personally I don’t find the the leap that hard. My tip is: Don’t listen for chords, but for tension and release. Listen to it a few times and try to find a cadence (V -> I). From there, the rest of the progression is easier to recognise if you understand functional harmony. If you have an easier time listening for the melody, do that first and let the notes give you hints as to what the chord would be.

What I also do is analysing songs I like in my DAW. You can slow down the tempo and loop small sections.

(EDIT) Also, ignore the timer!

Good luck!