Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Beginner Lesson #3 - How to Tune your Senses for Echolocation - Exercise #1

Illustration of phase shift. The horizontal ax...Image via WikipediaIf I haven't already said this, echolocation is not an ability that you're born with; something you either have or don't have, it is a skill that can be learned. Any hearing person can learn it if they are willing.

Your hearing senses will need to be sensitized in order to start tuning into hearing the different subtleties related to echolocation. These include phase shift, reverb, stereo effects, equalization, panning and more. These are all subtleties that musicians train themselves to be aware of, and you can do the same with the intention of using them to improve your echolocation skills.

Sensitization Exercise #1: Listening intently to music

If you listen to a lot of music, this is a good way to begin sensitizing, however, start listening more intently. Try to pick out every different instrument in a particular song. Begin noticing subtleties such as:
  1. Which speaker is each instrument coming from? Or is it coming from both? This is called "panning", and often times songs will "pan" one guitar further to the left speaker and another guitar further to the right. This is done to give the effect that the guitars are in two different places on a stage. Once you've started to pick up on this effect, you should be able to point directly to where each instrument appears to be coming from, which should be somewhere in between the two speakers depending on how much it is panned one way or the other.
  2. Determine how "far away" each instrument (including vocals) appears. This is basically accomplished by the recording company by adding more or less echo to the signal. If a longer echo (or reverb) is added to an instrument it will give it the effect of being in a large room and possibly far away. If a short echo (or delay) is added, it will give the effect of having very nearby walls and will be closer and more intimate. Generally vocal tracks have more delay added so that the singer seems closer and more pronounced to the listener.
  3. Compare songs. Listen to how different songs compare to each other and how different recording companies like to mix songs.
Doing all of the above will help you to get started in sensitizing your ears to echolocation. This first exercise is something you can do on your own, but exercise #2, you will probably need a partner for.

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Free 10-Minute Audio Lesson: Learn the Echolocation Click

Learn echolocation clicks with a free audio lesson
Learning how to click is one of the first steps to becoming an effective echoloator. This lesson provides clicking samples of a variety of different clicks and descriptions of when they might be most useful. This lesson has been used by O&M instructors all over the world.

Despite popular belief, it's easy to make your clicking quite subtle or unnoticeable even in quiet settings. There are many different clicks for different situations. I explain all of these in great detail and give examples of where, why and when they can and should be used.

Get your free lesson now:

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