Gaye Tolan Hatfield is a professor in Berklee College of Music’s Ear Training Department. She has also taught in the Harmony, Voice, and Ensemble departments. She co-wrote and teaches the Berklee Online courses Ear Training 2 and Music Foundations.

In this video series, Gaye will teach you ear training concepts that she teaches in her courses.

Conducting in 6/8

In this video, Gaye introduces you to conducting in the 6/8 time signature. She explains that the 6/8 pattern is used for slower tempo music, where there are six eighth notes to a bar. She shows you the pattern to a metronome click, and also explains that the pattern can be used as a basis for more complex time signatures such as 7/4 or 5/8.

Singing the Root

In the next video, Gaye introduces you to some beginner ear training techniques to help you identify chord progressions.


She explains that picking simple three-chord or four-chord songs and singing the root note of each chord as it passes can help develop your ear to recognize chord progressions. She uses the song “Under the Boardwalk” by the Drifters as an example of this, singing the root notes in solfege as she plays the song.

Identifying the I, IV, V

In the final video, Gaye introduces you to some additional beginner ear training techniques to help you identify melodic patterns. She details how to pick out chords like the I, IV, and V by listening for a dominant cadence and/or a subdominant cadence, the latter of which is known as a plagal cadence. In addition, she points to a few songs like “Here Comes the Bride,” “Louie Louie,” and “Wild Thing,” which are helpful benchmarks for identifying chords in a progression.