September 5, 2005

Letter of recommendation

By: Dr. David Ehrke, Professor of Music, University of Nevada, Reno
Congratulations are in order; finally a comprehensive ear-training program that truly suits all of our needs at the University of Nevada, Reno! I have taught the two-year ear-training core curriculum for music majors for more than 20 years and have used a number of computer-assisted classroom teaching aids. I ran two programs simultaneously for a number of years because no individual program "did it all." EarMaster has finally solved that problem.

There are three aspects of the EarMaster School 5.0 program that I find compelling:
  1. The ease of operation for both the student and teacher.
  2. The power and comprehensiveness of the programming.
  3. The flexibility and range of applications.
EarMaster is very user-friendly and the students pick it up immediately. Their comments about EarMaster are universally positive in the mandatory class evaluations completed at the end of every semester. It took very little time to learn how to write my own tutors and lessons, always a worry for professors who have dealt with the difficult learning curves of various music publishing programs. Our audio-visual people had no difficulty setting up the network that now runs nine computers from the one server; quite honestly, I probably could have done it myself using your clear and easy to follow Usersí Guide.

Class size is a huge issue at UNR with approximately 110 majors in our first- and second-year classes. Ideally, we should have teaching assistants working in labs with groups of 10 to 15 students but we just donít have the resources. Iím certain there are many schools at all levels that face those same financial and space limitations. Our nine computers are much like having nine teaching assistants working for me, and they take up very little space!

There is a huge diversity of experience and skill among our entering freshman, which is often the product of their early training as vocalists, percussionists, pianists, and various instrumentalists. This is where EarMaster helps save the day. By loading EarMaster on their personal computers and working in the lab, the less-experienced students are often able to catch up and pass the class with flying colors. The EarMaster Standard Tutor starts at a basic level and virtually eliminates the need to send these less- experienced students back into a fundamentals class. Vocalists with reading and rhythmic deficiencies can focus on the extensive rhythm tutors, while percussionists often focus on the singing tutors that give them feedback on pitch accuracy. The programming is so easy that I actually write tutors for individuals or groups with specific listening problems as they come up in class. High school and community college programs would certainly find EarMaster invaluable for fundamentals classes, basic theory, instrumental classes, vocal classes, and much more.

The addition of the Jazz Tutor was a great idea! We have a big jazz program at UNR, which is the home of the Reno Jazz Festival. Our jazz majors are spending a lot of time in the lab because once they complete the required work for my class, they wind up spending hours on the jazz tutor. They have found it to be very extensive and a must for their basic jazz education. I canít imagine money being better spent than investing in EarMaster. Itís like getting more faculty members and teaching assistants for the price of a license.

Many people might say that a computer cannot replace human beings, but EarMaster certainly comes close in many ways. Given the nature of our discipline and the large amount of practice required, EarMaster is a patient and non-judgmental teacher. I often tell my clarinet and saxophone students to practice as if I were sitting next to them and think about what I would say to them while practicing. That is what EarMaster does for my sight-singing students. Your efforts have made EarMaster an integral part of our program and I canít imagine getting along with out it. Thank you.

About the author

Dr. David Ehrke
Professor of Music,
University of Nevada, Reno

Dr. Ehrke received both the 1986 Outstanding Teacher Award and the 1996 Mousel/Feltner Award for Excellence in Creative Activity at the University of Nevada, Reno, where he is a professor of music. He is a performing artist for the Yamaha corporation.

Dr. Ehrke is principal clarinet with the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra and has been a featured soloist with the Reno Chamber Orchestra and the Reno Philharmonic on both clarinet and saxophone.


Dr. David Ehrke
Professor of Music
Mail Stop 226
University of Nevada, Reno
Reno, Nevada 89557

Kansas State University
"EarMaster does everything we were looking for -- and more. It runs flawlessly on the University network (...) All of our theory teachers designed a tutor for their classes. Without exception they found that the tutor editor was complete and that it was easy to use (...)"

Hanley Jackson
Professor of Music
Kansas State University