I'm Leonardo Caminati: The Creator of the 'Use Your Ear' Method.
Welcome to a page that chronicles my musical evolution. Dive deep into my journey as a musician, charting the highs and lows, the lessons and the triumphs. Additionally, discover the origins of the 'Use Your Ear' method, uncovering the passion and research that brought this transformative approach to life for thousands of musicians.
Turning Struggle into Symphony: The Story Behind My Musical Evolution
A Chaotic and Obsessive Beginning
From the dawn of my teenage years, I found myself in the grip of a musical obsession. The raw edge of punk rock, the introspective beats of grunge, and the intense vibes of early 2000s metal created a symphony in my mind. A cacophony of genres, from the rhythmic ecstasy of EDM to the aggressive metal riffs of bands like System of a Down, provided a backdrop to my formative years.
MySpace was the playground for many, including myself, just before the rise of YouTube. Music wasn't just a fleeting hobby. It felt like a calling. Influenced by a close friend's profound guitar skills, I took my first steps into this world between the ages of 14 and 15. The guitar was not just an instrument but a real commitment to greatness.
However, music's path was a winding one, full of doubts and challenges. By 19, I found myself standing at life's crossroads, grappling with the question: "Should I follow my passion for music or pursue a stable career in biotech engineering?" My prowess on the guitar was undeniable. My fingers could dance across the frets quite well but there was a chink in my armor—my musical ear was lacking.
My Own Musical Struggles and a Surprising Path
For few, music is an experience—a feeling. They hear a song, and their brains effortlessly process the chords, the notes, the scales. But for me, recognizing tunes by ear was an arduous process, so much so that I heavily relied on Guitar Pro, a software that allowed me to learn via interactive tabs. Such a challenge made the prospect of competing in the professional music world daunting. How could I ever hope to match those naturally endowed with an impeccable musical ear?
Yet, destiny, with its peculiar sense of humor, presented an unexpected solution. It was 2009, and the music home studio revolution had just begun. No longer were recording and production the exclusive domain of professional studios. With a moderate investment, anyone could set up a home studio. This realization catalyzed my shift towards audio engineering. My analytical mind, combined with my musical inclination, made this pivot feel not just right but destined.
From Milan's Studios to the Stage
Enrolling at the SAE Institute in Milan became my game-changer. The state-of-the-art studios, fitted with high-end equipment, became my sanctuaries. The rigorous program demanded not only theoretical knowledge but practical application. There were exams where I'd be solely responsible for running intricate studio setups. These sessions, coupled with interactions with like-minded peers, enriched my learning. My passion for synthesizers ignited, thanks to an inspiring professor, further widening my musical horizon.
But the universe wasn't done with its surprises. An unexpected opportunity to work as an audio engineer for live shows materialized. This opened a treasure trove of experiences, working with bands and understanding the intricate dynamics of live performances. Simultaneously, my association with the local music scene made me realize something profound—I was no less skilled than many active professional musicians.
Fueled by this newfound confidence, I embarked on a rigorous training regimen at a well renowned Guitar Academy in Milan. Here, the curriculum was intense, demanding precision, discipline, and unwavering commitment. It was during this phase that a band, for whom I had previously worked as a front of house engineer, offered me a role as their lead guitarist. And just like that, my musical journey as a professional truly began.
Touring and Transcribing: A Dual Musical Challenge
While touring with the band, performing more than 130 shows per year and travelling all over Italy, my audio engineering background became an asset. I wasn't just another musician—I brought with me the expertise to produce high-quality backing tracks and lead soundchecks. This ensured that our live performances matched the sound we had imagined.
However, a lingering desire remained—to hone my musical ear. Despite numerous attempts with interval-based exercises, success eluded me. Yet, being surrounded by musicians with impeccable listening skills intensified my longing for that elusive ability.
When a unique opportunity—producing sound-alike tracks for a premium website came knocking, it was both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it was a chance to be more active as a professional music producer. On the other, it was a challenge that demanded extreme attention to detail. Every note, chord, and sound needed to mirror the original song. Initially, transcribing songs involved meticulously matching pitches note by note and chord by chord. It felt like assembling a complex jigsaw puzzle, where every transcription was a monumental challenge.
The Birth of a Method: A Turning Point
I was stuck, grappling with a challenge that seemed insurmountable. In that very moment of uncertainty, I didn't realize that this challenge would become the catalyst for my breakthrough. As Steve Jobs wisely said, "You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward." It's true! Life's puzzles become clear only when we look back, not as we forge ahead.
Drawing lessons from this challenge, over time, and with tenacity, I was able to craft a unique ear training method. A method that made music no longer feel like isolated notes— It felt like echoing a sentence one hears, easy, complete and holistic.
After a long and dedicated journey, I developed the "Use Your Ear" method. It wasn't an easy process—it took years, but now over 2,000 eager students are benefiting from it. My career as a musician and music producer has taken many turns. I've produced music for a variety of settings, from emerging artists and small labels to mainstream Italian TV shows. And now, the moment I've worked for a long time: my first album is almost ready. Throughout it all, I've had the honor of working with some of the best in Italian music, securing my own little spot in the industry.
This transformative journey was a testament to passion, persistence, and the belief that limitations can be turned into opportunities.
The Birth of the 'Use Your Ear' Method
Hitting the Wall
A few years ago, amidst the vibrant energy of Italian music scenes and the hustle of playing over 130 shows annually, I hit a wall. No, it wasn't about managing my busy schedule, producing music for national television, or collaborating with independent artists. It was something more personal, something that felt like a pebble in my shoe on the path to achieving my dream - ear training.
I dedicated a decade to the interval method, a period brimming with hope yet devoid of the success I desperately sought. To my astonishment, some of my exceptionally skilled bandmates, naturally adept at playing by ear, had never employed this method. They navigated melodies, rhythms, and harmonies with a grace that eluded me. Intriguingly, they couldn't even articulate the "how" behind their intuitive ability. All they assured me was that they didn't focus on intervals and had never practiced interval exercises before.
It was during those years of dedication that I recall watching these adept musicians, the very ones I deeply admired, with a singular thought echoing in my mind: "I want to be like them.” Their proficiency in ear training allowed them to recognize melodies and chords, improvise, and compose with the same ease and intuition as breathing or speaking—a natural fluidity I deeply craved.
Elite Musical Tribes & The Significance of Ear Training
Such skills would have opened a myriad of opportunities for me early on. Musicians with an acute ear are undoubtedly given precedence, viewed as reliable, and they form their own elite musical 'tribes'. You can't join their "party" if your musical aptitude isn't on par with theirs. Amongst the elite, excellence isn't just expected—it's the norm. Misinterpreting a chord or missing some notes is more than a mere oversight; it's a cardinal sin that won't go unnoticed. Initially, such mistakes may earn you ridicule or teasing, but if you keep making them, the natural reaction of the elite is to gradually, yet inevitably, push you to the sidelines.
The stigma attached to not having a keen ear is not without reason. Without it, collaborations become a struggle, filled with roadblocks, endless corrections, and a stark lack of spontaneity. Performance easily degrades into a mere mechanical act, devoid of genuine emotional resonance. At its worst, without proper intonation and precision, it devolves into a jarring cacophony. Thus, music becomes tedious, if not outright displeasing, to both performer and listener. Recognizing this, I saw the immense value of ear training, and its absence was a looming, undeniable obstacle in my journey.
A Desperate Dive Into Science
Driven by this desperation, I delved deep into the vast realm of scientific research on pitch and harmony perception. I pored over dozens and dozens of scientific papers. The depth of knowledge and understanding I uncovered was nothing short of enlightening. I meticulously integrated their findings into my ear training regimen, crafting exercises and concepts tailored to enhance my development. Over time, I identified which techniques were effective and which were not. The transformative results I experienced were evident — I was standing before a game-changing approach.
With my newfound insights, I felt compelled to share this with others. I began teaching my findings to a select few, refining the method with each interaction.
Teaching Students and Their Sudden Transformation
I opened my doors to students trapped in struggles, frustration, and roadblocks, many of whom had felt the bitter sting of inadequacy due to their struggles with traditional ear training methods. They came to me, their faces etched with the pain of being told by conservatory professors that they lacked the natural talent for a musical ear, their dreams hanging by a thread. These students, once lost in a maze of ineffective techniques, found themselves in a transformative space where breakthroughs and consistent, noticeable progress were not just possible, but inevitable. Initially, neither they nor I knew that would be the case.
It was a revelation to see students who had previously scored a disheartening 0/10 in their ear training exams skyrocket to 9.5/10 within just three weeks of training with me, all under the scrutiny of the same professor who had once deemed them untalented. Their transformation was not just in their musical abilities, but in their entire demeanor – they evolved from individuals teetering on the edge of giving up on their musical dreams to confident musicians fully engaged in the pursuit of their aspirations.
Unexpected and Immediate Benefits
All their anxiety-driven questions just melted away. No longer did my students ask questions like "Why am I not improving?", "Why does this guy have it much easier than me?", "Why can’t I sing on pitch?", "Is this how great musicians accomplish this task?", "Can you even develop musicality?", “Why is this so difficult?”, “Why am I so slow at recognizing melodies and chords? Why can’t I do that by ear alone?” They said it used to feel like they were stuck in a completely dark room, trying to find the door out. And then the method I taught them turned on the lights, showing them exactly where to go. They now had a clear, easy-to-follow map that took them step-by-step to where they wanted to be.
Quickly, the benefits of the training extended far beyond the confines of the training room. Students discovered they could learn new songs faster and save valuable time in the transcription process. Improvisation skill they had dreamed of was now a reality. This led some of them to begin composing music because it was now a more natural and spontaneous process. Additionally, those with a passion for music production found that their sharpened listening skills significantly enhanced their ability to craft and sculpt unique and original songs, taking their musical pieces to new creative heights. Perhaps most surprising of all, many who never thought they could sing discovered that singing was not an impossible talent at all, but something that gave them immense fulfillment. Their musical activities transformed from tedious tasks into joyous expressions of their creativity.
As I watched these transformations unfold, I was filled with an immense sense of fulfillment and pride. This method wasn’t just changing their musical abilities; it was changing their lives. Like a choir, their voices joined in harmony, all sharing the same experience of liberation from confusing, ineffective teaching methods and self-doubt. Their unanimous declaration that "music suddenly started to make sense" was music to my ears.
Little did they know, their experiences and interactions were crucial in refining the methodology, ensuring its versatility and adaptability to suit musicians of all levels and in all situations.
The Birth of a Transformative Method
That's how the "Use Your Ear Method" was born: a culmination of intensive research, real-world testing, and years of iterative learning. It has not only elevated the musical intuition of thousands of musicians but also revolutionized how top-tier music educators approach ear training in prestigious institutions.
The global feedback has been overwhelming; each day brings new stories of individuals transformed by this approach. Now, I invite you on this transformative path with the "Use Your Ear" method.
A profound journey to intuitive musical understanding awaits you.