The 7 Amazing Benefits of Ear Training
Everyone seems to like a "Top 7" these days, so in this lesson, I'll go through the primary benefits of Ear Training and why I think you should dedicate 10 minutes a day to this awesome skill. if you understand why it will help you then you're much more likely to stick with the journey, there are going to be times it feels a little boring but it really is worth the effort!
1. Play What You Hear
The ability to play what you hear, that is to express melody and harmony that you can hear in your musical mind is (to me) the pinnacle of 'real' musical expression. You can let your fingers run all over the fretboard at a million miles an hour, but I much prefer music that is coming from 'someone's soul' and that I think in reality is when someone is expressing an idea that was formed in their musical mind. It's personal of course, some people express range by thrashing their guitar real hard and others play simple and let their voice release the emotion, but expression is where it's at and I think learning to express music is the kind of skill that should be the goal of the whole learning guitar journey!
2. Accelerated Transcription Skills
When you get stuck into Ear Training and learn about the relationship of intervals (distances between notes) and how to play those intervals on the instrument it becomes a lot easier to transcribe (figure out and write down) things you hear. It's how all the great players you like learned and how I learned too! There were very few TAB books and no internet so we all learned by listening to records (and later tapes and Cds) and figuring out by trial and error what was going on (and I strongly recommend that you check out my Transcribing Course too!). After some time doing Ear Training your ears will recognise the intervals and your fingers will just go there and you'll find you can play what you've heard on a track fairly easily - there are other challenges involved of course, but Ear Training accelerates how quickly you'll develop your transcribing skills!
3. Stronger Ears
With training, you'll be able to squat clean your bodyweight with your ears! One of the things I hear back from students that do this training is that they hear music differently, they hear the individual elements of a song and not just the whole, they can focus on each instrument better and be able to refine their hearing which helps with transcribing - and importantly - it makes the whole listening experience deeper! :) While the ear isn't really a muscle it develops and gets stronger as you train it. You'll hear musical textures in more detail and enjoy music better!
4. Understanding What You Hear
This links in with Music Theory which is something I recommend you work on too - but the combination is SUPER POWERFUL! You'll hear chord progressions and melody and recognise them and be able to manipulate them. I have learned songs on the way to a gig by listening to them and recognising the chord progression, I don't have Perfect Pitch (the ability to name notes by hearing them) but I have solid Relative Pitch so I can recognize the relationships between chords and notes but not know the key... however it's pretty easy to work out the key once I have the instrument in my hands and as you improve you'll find you notice other clues like open strings which might give away the key!
5. Confidence In Your Musicality
Many people without Ear Training or Music Theory don't feel as confident about their own musicality and that often shows in performance, so developing your ear will help your confidence which in turn will help your performance and musical 'swagger' which makes your playing more enjoyable (believable?) for the people listening to you!
6. Singing Improvement
There's no doubt that spending time doing the exercises in this course will help your ability to pitch in tune consistently because these exercises are given by singing teachers to help students improve their pitching! I'm not a great singer but I saw great improvements in my own pitching when I started working on the exercises in this course regularly. So you get singing and ear training development combined when you do this course - awesome
7. Fretboard Freedom
This is an incredibly big deal if you can get there - and the kind of interval ear training we do in this course will really help you break out of visual patterns we use on the guitar. I interviewed and hung out with the great Larry Carlton and asked him about how he plays so effortlessly all over the neck and he said that all that scale pattern and position stuff doesn't matter when you just playing sounds that you hear and are expressing them. He's an incredible musician so for sure he could work out what he was playing at any point if he cared to, but it really struck home with me and I now often play with eyes closed and just really focus in on the melody and sound and try to forget about scale patterns or any of that stuff and I find it helps me 'channel' my musical mind better!
I hope I've convinced you - assuming I have, move on to the next lesson!