Ear Training Index Page
Ear Training is all about learning to recognise sounds using your ears. It's an essential part of your development as a musician and could be the thing that transforms you in way that will help you find your own voice!
Stop, Hey, what's that sound?
Ear Training (or Aural Training) is a very important part of musical development. Learning to recognise sounds will help you in many ways, most importantly it will help you Transcribe and accelerate your ability to work out songs on your own. Developing your ear will make you a better musician in many ways.
It really can be quite incredible and I have had many students say that after a few months of consistent work on Ear Training that they can hear music better, that they can separate the instruments easier when they listen to music (which enhanses the listening experience!) and hear new depths in recordings they thought they knew well.
I grew up transcribing, it was the way I learned to play songs, but when I started doing Interval Ear Training it took it to a whole new level. Doing a lot of transcribing will teach you the intervals sonically and to some extent on the neck, but once you know the names of the intervals too it makes it easier because you can 'put a tag on it' and know for sure what it is. Learning the names of the intervals is also great for communicating ideas with other musicians and understanding harmonic analysis.
Harmonic vs Melodic Intervals
There are two types of interval listening, harmonic and melodic. In harmonic intervals the notes are played at the same time and in melodic the notes are played one after the other. Easy to remember: Melodic Intervals make melody, Harmonic Intervals make harmony! I recommend that people start with Ascending Melodic Intervals, then once that is mastered move on to Descending Melodic Intervals. Only when both of these are rock solid should a student approach Harmonic Intervals and chord structures.
The other part of ear training that is very useful is rhythmic dictation. Once I get on top of the Interval Ear Training Course I plan on hitting a rhythmic dictation course too - specifically to help people work out strumming patterns! This used to be best done by writing the rhythms when you transcribe, but it can be pretty tricky and hard to just start doing it so I hope to break it down in the course. The best way to get going is to learn to read and understand the notation and then practice tapping out the various rhythms. I have written a book called Rhythm Reading (with my drummer buddy Justin Scott) a book full of rhythms... pages and pages of rhythms to read, and a load of instruction on how to read and it's progressive, going from simple 8th notes to complex syncopated 16th not patterns. If you go through it you will really know all your rhythms very well indeed and writing down the rhythms you hear will be a lot easier because you will already know what they sound like!
The Theory Behind The Names
Many of you will probably want to understand how the names of the intervals are found and how to work out the note names in every key. For this info you probably want to check out Practical Music Theory which will guide you through all the basic theory concepts and give you a solid grasp on all the essential basics!
The Justinguitar Ear Trainer App (for iOS)
Those of you that have an Apple device (iPhone, iPod, iPad) will get a lot of benefit from my Justinguitar Ear Trainer app which gives you random interval tests both ascending and descending melodic intervals and harmonic intervals too. You can choose piano or guitar sound, and also guitar neck or keyboard answer input! The levels sync perfectly with the stages of the Ear Training lessons on the site too - this app is the tool, the lessons show you how best to use it!
Hope you find this stuff helpful and that it all makes sense. The most important thing though is that you do it... and lots of it :)
Ear Training Course (revised October 2017)
So I've been experimenting myself with more Ear Training work trying to enhanse my ability to 'play what I hear in my musical mind', and I realised that teaching interval training without adding the relationships between the notes on the instrument, it is less effective for expression of musical ideas and transcribing. So I spent quite some time researching how it might work best and have re-written the course completely!
We're staying with the same progression (I know it works real well!) but are taking it slower and spending more time on playing the intervals on the neck and singing them. Even if you are not interesting in 'being' a singer, learning to sing will help your musicianship a great deal and so I have included a basic singing for beginners lesson in the series.
The plan is to take you through all the ascending, then decending and then harmonic intervals, so it's going to take some time to get through it all and due to time pressure there may be periods where the lessons are not coming out weekly (Thursdays!), but that's what I'm aiming for. I'm breakign them into Grades which start pretty simple and get pretty dang hard!
ET-051 • The 7 Amazing Benefits Of Ear Training
This first lesson explains why I think you should be doing this module and how it will help you. Ear Training isn't quite as much fun as playing songs, so best to understand the benefits so you'll stick with it!
ET-052 • Learning To Sing For Guitarists
If you're going to do the course, you're going to have to start singing a bit. In this lesson i try and explain the best way to start for those that are a little scared of it!
ET-053 • Play What You Hear - Mega Effective Exercise
You should do this incredibly effective exercise for 5 minutes a day (5 days a week) as well as your 5 minutes of interval practice. It's these two combined that will help you the most, and you should notice this exercise getting easier and easier as you progress through the course!
ET-151 • Play, Recognise & Sing: The Perfect 5th
This lesson we learn how to play, recognise and sing the interval of a Perfect 5th, which is the distance between the 1st and 5th note of a Major Scale.
ET-152 • Play, Recognise & Sing: The Perfect 4th
This lesson we learn how to play, recognise and sing the interval of a Perfect 4th, which is the distance between the 1st and 4th note of a Major Scale.
ET-153 • Play, Recognise & Sing: The Perfect 8ve (Octave)
This lesson we learn how to play, recognise and sing the interval of a Perfect 8ve (Octave), which is the distance between the 1st and 8th note of a Major Scale.
ET-154 • Ear Training Tests
You can test yourself with a friend, on my app, my audio tracks or make your own tests, in this lesson I explain the various options for testing!
ET-155 • Ear Training Grade 1 Test
Now you can test your self and see if you can correctly name the intervals of a 4th, 5th and Octave! It's great fun and you'll hopefully find that you do better than you might have expected :)
will continue this soon as get more lessons filmed - but you can see the structure here! More pages coming soon, gonna break from the web site to film the next batch while my daughter is at nursery!
Lessons (these will be all covered in the 2017 revised course, but stay here for now for those using them!)
ET-001 • Ear Training Basics
How to start, what to do and why! Seemed like lots of people were really struggling with the concept, so thought I'd make a start here and explain the basics in one video.
ET-002 • Song References For Interval Ear Training
Both ascending and descending intervals with song references - remember it's the song references that will make things easier for you, so get stuck in!
ET-003 • Singing Exercises For Ear Development
Get the sounds in your head by singing them :) It really is the best kind of ear training exercise, your ear will improve greatly and probably your voice too if you have not used it much!
ET-004 • Intervals On The Guitar
Find all the intervals on the neck with 5th and 6th string roots, very important skill and will help a lot when transcribing, and also for interval work.
ET-010 • Make Your Own Ear Training Tests
Some examples and how to make your own, which is very useful. There are apps like my Ear Trainer and web sites that offer stuff, but best of all is your own stuff ;)
ET-011 • Ear Test Answers
Answers to tests. Don't cheat!!
Ear Training (very old and now redundant, but leaving it here for now in case anyone is still digging into it!)
In this video lesson series I give you practical examples, explain the song references, show you the intervals on the guitar neck and then get you to do a test. It works. Get your ears in shape now! Stay on each stage until you can get at least 80% correct in the tests - it makes it a lot easier if you do this stuff gradually, so don't be in a hurry!
Ascending Melodic Interval Ear Training
ET-101 • Ear Training - Stage 1
In this first stage you will learn to recognise the Perfect 4th and the Perfect 5th intervals by using song references, we'll spend some time listening to them and then and do a test so we can see how well you were listening!
ET-102 • Ear Training - Stage 2
Now that you have a couple of intervals in your ear, we will learn the Major 2nd and Major 3rd Intervals, and do 2 more tests to make sure you are getting the sounds in your ears properly and clearly. Make sure you are confident before moving on!
ET-103 • Ear Training - Stage 3
The Major 6th and Major 7th and Octave Intervals are up next. They are a little harder then the previous ones, but it's not too bad, and then you have done all the diatonic intervals. Plus we have two more tests for you.
ET-104 • Ear Training - Stage 4
Now we get into the non-diatonic notes (notes not found in the major scale) which are a little harder. Just take it slow, practice and you'll be getting them in no time! We're checking out the b3 and b2 intervals... then there are 2 tests to do.
ET-105 • Ear Training - Stage 5
OK, now we check out the min 6 (b6), min 7 (b7) and the augmented 4th (#4) intervals, which means we've then done all the chromatic intervals in an octave. This is a big step and if you can get this solid then you are doing great! Two tests at the end to see if you have them solid!