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Train Your Ears: 5 Ways to Boost Your Musical Ear

By: WhisperRoom™

July 9, 2019

woman playing piano inside of a room

Anyone can learn to sing in tune, learn to play by ear, and become confident in music. However, musicians have to first learn how to focus their efforts and know their current strengths. Practicing different techniques and exercises will help you train your ears for successful and active musical skills.

1. Pitch Ear Training: Train Your Ears to Find the Right Note

To begin, an excellent starting point for music training is developing your ear for pitch. Before working on advanced music skills such as relative pitch, take time to hone your sense of pitch and learn how low or high your note is.

Pitch ear training brings with it a range of benefits:

  • Improved ability to blend your singing voice with other singers.
  • Helps you recognize tuning issues.
  • Gives you control over your own pitch.
  • Helps you create melodies.

How to practice pitch ear training

An easy and effective way to practice pitch ear training is by using your voice. You don’t need to have an amazing voice or sing in front of others to do this either.

  • Play a note and hear the pitch in your head (this is called auralization).
  • Sing the note back and try to hit the same pitch as what you played.

Having an enhanced sense of pitch can improve your overall musicianship and lets you build a foundation for other musical skills.

An orange tuner detecting pitch
Image from Pixabay

2. Interval Ear Training: Train Your Ears to Find the Pitch Difference

Interval ear training can help musicians learn to connect sounds with their corresponding names and learn to reproduce and recognize intervals. However, it may seem a little abstract, but interval ear training helps musicians in many different real-world musical scenarios.

How interval training helps you

  • Makes it easier to understand and appreciate harmonies.
  • Helps distinguish inaccuracy and mistakes in tuning and pitch.
  • Knowing the intervals helps you better understand sheet music.

If you would like to test your skills and practice your intervals, give Rick Beato’s ‘Ear Training 101’ episode a try in the video below.

Ear Training 101 – Mastering Intervals

3. Playing By Ear: A Practical Way to Train Your Ears

It is a fundamental skill for almost any successful musician. Incidentally, people assume that a musician has to be born with the skill of playing music by ear, but that’s not true. It just takes a collection of skills that are typically learned overtime to play music by ear.

Once you know the truth behind how it works along with the right ear training techniques, you’ll be on the fast track to playing music by ear. However, it is true that some people seem to learn to play music by ear without much hassle, but as with many music aspects, hard work pays off in the long-run. 

Think you can play by ear? Grab a guitar and play along with the video below.

Paul Davids shares some tips for playing by ear on his YouTube channel.

4. Chord Progression Training: Train Your Ears to Learn Chords

It is the harmonic music bedrock that involves learning the movement from one chord to another. In particular, it enables musicians to learn to recognize standard chord progressions and chord changes by ear. In short, this helps musicians as they solo over chords, write chords down, and play chords on an instrument.

Though chords may not be the star of the show, they form the structure that tells the horns, guitars, background, keys, and bass what notes will and won’t work. While it may seem magical when a musician picks up the guitar or sits down at the piano and sing any song, anyone can do it as well with a little chord ear training. 

YourGuitarSage shares some of his training secrets.

Chord changes define genres

Musicians can empower themselves by becoming familiar with common chord changes and their sounds. A chord change can take the listener in unsettling directions or create a sense of resolutions. Chord progressions also define certain genres such as blues, jazz, pop music, and every other category of music.

5. Practice, Practice, Practice

The dream of every musician is to learn to express him or herself in music while jamming with others, improvising and playing by ear. Therefore, you must train your ears with practice and repetition. In a short amount of time, any musician can learn these skills and unleash their musical talent.

Find a place to practice

As you learn, practice, and grow as a musician, you’re going to make a lot of noise. With a WhisperRoom™, you can keep that noise to yourself. Check out our 26 different sized practice rooms so you’ll never disturb your neighbors or family.

If you’re not ready for a WhisperRoom™ yet, you can still get your practice on in a variety of different settings.

Consider these practice tips:

  • With headphones on (depends on your instrument)
  • Only during the day (so you don’t disturb people’s sleep)
  • Outside in a public park or on a porch/patio
  • In your car (sounds kind of ridiculous, but hey – who cares?)
  • At your school or university (being a student has its perks!)

Remember, learning music is passionate, fun, and social!

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