As a guitarist and a musician, you should know how important it is to learn how to listen.
It’s worth studying ear training if you’ve ever desired to be able to play songs by ear, have better jam sessions with other musicians, or improve your musical comprehension. In this tutorial, I’ll give you an outline of what ear training is, why it’s important to practice, and how to get started in this tutorial.
You can learn to play music through ear training and reading. If you don’t know how to read music, start here with this guide.
When you’re ready to get started with ear training, check out the Best Ear Training Apps for Guitarists. (1)
What is the purpose of ear training?
The practice of distinguishing different notes, chords, and scales by ear is known as “ear training.” With enough training, ear training can enable you to listen to music and play it without the use of written notation.
To put it another way, ear training is the process of using your ears to determine which notes, scales, and chords are being played.
Take a listen to the following guitar chord for a simple example of ear training:
(2) Can you tell me what kind of chord this is? A
skilled guitarist who has spent time focusing on ear training may be able to recognize the chord by listening to it. They could also be able to tell you where it’s played on the fretboard.
The chord in the example above is E7. Congratulations if you successfully identified it. If not, you can learn to perfect this skill with simple ear training.
(3) It’s a Skill to Train Your Ears
There’s a lot of mystery around ear training, and far too many people believe it’s impossible to learn without some natural gift.
The good news is that this is entirely incorrect. While some people will enhance their aural skills more quickly than others, everyone can benefit from ear training.
Everyone can learn how to train their ears.
While ear training may appear difficult at first, with enough practice, you’ll be amazed at how successful it can be.
This is critical to comprehend because ear training is difficult at first. It takes time to get to the point where you can notice your progress over time, just like when studying guitar.
The more you practice ear training, the faster you will learn the skills and be able to start learning to play songs by ear or recognize chords and scales in music.
(4) Relative Pitch vs. Perfect PitchIf you’re interested in ear training, you should learn about relative pitch and perfect pitch.
may have heard the terms “perfect pitch” and “relative pitch” previously.
Having perfect pitch, also known as Absolute Pitch, means being able to recognize any musical note without any help from other people or guides.
Someone with perfect pitch would be able to tell you exactly which note was played on the guitar (for example, C#).
When you have a reference note to compare it against, you can use relative pitch to identify any musical note.
Someone with good relative pitch would be able to recognize the second note if someone played the open E string and told you it was E, then played another note on that string (e.g., G on the third fret).
(5) Is it Possible to Learn to Sing with a Perfect Pitch?
There is a lot of discussion over whether or not perfect pitch can be taught. While some young toddlers appear to have an easy time learning perfect pitch, others do not.
Only a small percentage of adults claim to have perfect pitch. The widespread consensus among musicians is that perfect pitch cannot be learned.
While several companies claim to teach perfect pitch (some with ridiculously false testimonials), their claims haven’t been tested.
While this may be discouraging, the good news is that relative pitch is a skill that anybody can master and is extremely useful.
All of the ear training tools and tips listed below are aimed at improving your relative pitch skills.
Ear training has a number of advantages.
The following are some of the advantages of ear training:
By ear, you will recognize chords and scales in music.
Develop superior rhythmic skills by learning to play full songs by ear.
Make improvements to your intonation.
Without a guitar, they compose music.
Improve your ability to improvise.
There are many more advantages to ear training, but the examples above demonstrate how valuable the skill is to learn.
Let’s imagine you wish to write a song’s chord progression. You know how to play the first two chords, but you’re stumped as to what to do next. If you know music theory, you can figure out which chords make sense and experiment with each alternative.
If you’ve established any ear training abilities, you’ll be able to visualize different chords in your brain and know which ones will sound the best before you play anything.
If you haven’t worked on ear training previously, this may seem like a tough thing to learn, but it’s how many musicians compose music.
Ear training is one of the most effective ways to improve your musicianship.
Picking, bending, legato, and other technical guitar skills will help you become a better guitarist, but ear training will help you become a better musician.
Assume you get the chance to jam with a saxophonist, as depicted in the photo below. You’ll be able to listen to what he’s playing on the saxophone and figure out what scales he’s using, what intervals and notes he’s focusing on, and so on, using ear training.
You’ll be able to create licks and rhythm parts that are more in tune with what he plays.
One of the most significant advantages of ear training is that it increases your improvisation and jamming abilities. Guitarists who have been playing for a long time can learn this skill over time. Ear training, on the other hand, helps you learn this skill more quickly.
(7) How to Implement Ear Training
There are many different ways to practice ear training because it includes a wide range of aural skills.
An ear training app or software is the most convenient way to practice ear training. The ear training program will provide you with activities to help you develop your aural skills over time.
Ear training is convenient because it can be done anywhere and at any time.
You may work on exercises while on the train or bus, or whenever you have a spare minute using an ear training app on your smartphone.
Spending a little time each day concentrating on ear training, as indicated here, will help you grow your ears quickly.
(8) How Long Should Ear Training Be Practiced?
It is possible to increase your aural skills by practicing ear training for 10 minutes per day. You will see faster effects if you can extend this to 15 or 20 minutes every day.
Aim for brief and frequent practice sessions if you want to get the best outcomes from your ear training practice.
Four 5-minute practice sessions are much more beneficial than a single 20-minute session.
Both require the same amount of practice time, but breaking it up into short sessions is more helpful from a learning standpoint.
Short practice sessions help you remember things and recall them later. The more you use an ear training program or software and focus on some exercises, the faster you’ll see an improvement in your hearing abilities.
Apps for Ear Training (nine)
The good news is that all you need to get started with ear training is a free app on your smartphone (or PC or Mac).
If you utilize headphones or earbuds, you can practice ear training using an app at any time and from anywhere.
There are a lot of apps that can help you improve your hearing. They all follow the same basic steps.
An audio example (for example, a chord) will be played, and you must respond to what you have just heard.
You can see in the screenshot below that the exercise will play either a major triad (a three-note chord) or a minor triad at random, and you must identify which one you heard:
It would be an understatement to say that these apps are beneficial.
With some ear training software, you may begin training your ears right now. People who make the best gyms are made so that people can start with simple workouts and then move on to more difficult ones over time.
The Best Ear Training Apps for Guitarists may be found here. I’ll go over each program and explain why it’s worthwhile to use it to improve your aural skills. (10)
Is it a talent to play by ear?
It is not a skill to play by ear. Playing by ear is a skill that takes practice to master. While some people pick up these skills more quickly than others, everyone can learn to play music by ear.
The most important thing to remember is that learning this talent requires time and effort. If you practice every day, you’ll soon be able to play music by ear. (11).
How Long Does Ear Training Take to Master?
The length of time it takes to study ear training is determined by the abilities you wish to learn. Some ear training techniques can be taught in a matter of weeks, while others require years to master.
You can learn how to distinguish different guitar chords in as little as a few months.
Because there are so many distinct intervals to practice, learning how to detect intervals and scales in music could take anywhere from 4 to 8 months (learn about intervals here in this music theory lesson).
The length of time it takes to master ear training is also determined by how often you practice.
You will never acquire ear skills if you only practice once a week. On the other hand, if you do ear training exercises every day, your improvement will be faster.
Don’t worry about how long it takes to master an ear training skill if it’s something you really want to learn. If it’s vital to you, put it into practice on a daily basis. You’ll notice progressive increases in your hearing abilities.
(12) Is it better to learn music by ear or by reading it?
Reading music and playing by ear are two very different skills that both attempt to provide you with a means of playing music.
If you’re wondering which is better, the answer is that it depends on your circumstances. Because it is dependent on your objectives, there is no obvious solution.
A guitarist who wants to play in an orchestra must learn to read music because their livelihood depends on it.
Learning to play by ear is a better skill to master for a guitarist who wants to jam with his pals.
Both are valuable abilities to have, and many professional musicians study both.
If you wish to learn how to read music, read this article to learn about the various types of music that can be written for the guitar.
(13) Is it possible to learn guitar by ear?
Yes, you can start learning to play guitar by ear right away. However, it is a bad approach to begin learning the guitar because it will be much more difficult at first and your pace of growth will be much slower.
Learning to play the guitar (or any other musical instrument) is difficult at first. You must learn how to position your hands appropriately on the guitar and where they should be placed for different notes and chords.
On top of that, learning to play the guitar by ear adds another level of difficulty. When learning to play by ear, you must also listen to a chord example and figure out what you are supposed to play.
By ear, instead of looking at a simple chord diagram, you have a lot to figure out.
A guitarist who learns to play guitar by reading sheet music, chord diagrams, and written learning materials will progress far more quickly than a guitarist learning by ear.
While learning to play guitar by ear is a valuable talent to acquire, don’t start with it. After you’ve mastered the fundamentals of guitar, learn to play by ear. After that, you can focus on ear training.
(14) How Long Does It Take to Develop Relative Pitch?
Relative pitch can take anything from 6 months to 3 years to develop. The amount of time it takes to gain relative pitch skills depends on how often you practice ear training.
A guitarist who practices ear training activities on a daily basis will improve relative pitch far faster than a guitarist who just practices ear training once a week.
The length of time it takes to establish relative pitch is also determined by how significant your aural abilities are to you. Maybe you don’t care about knowing all of the different intervals; all you want to know is how to recognize chords and their inversions.
If that’s the case, it’ll take you a lot less time to acquire these aural talents than it would for someone who wants to master every facet of relative pitch.
Aural skills are similar to muscles in that the more you use them, the stronger they become. As a result, you have complete control over how far you wish to take these abilities. Some guitarists are happy with simple relative pitch skills, while others want to get better at every aural skill.
When you’re ready to get started with ear training, check out the Best Ear Training Apps for Guitarists.