The Ear Training HQ Story
Ear Training HQ was co-founded by Scott, Jake and myself over a delicious metre long Pizza at “Pizza by the Metre” on Grattan Street in Melbourne, Australia. We have been friends for years, well before we got into business together. Scott and I actually went to High School together, and Jake and I have known each other since we were 10 years old!
So here’s how it went down...
First thing you need to know is that Scott is a genius, though he won’t admit it because Australians are humble like that.
Scott scored 99.15 in his final year at high school, putting him in the top 1% in the state, specialising in Maths and Physics. Even though he could easily have made it into med school or Engineering on scholarships, he decided to follow his real passion and study music. Only problem was… Scott wasn’t a great musician! Well at least not naturally. His passion for playing the saxophone started in his final year of high school. His technique was average, his sound was "unpleasant" (an actual quote from a lesson around the time) and his ears were truly awful. In fact, he barely made it into music school. He was given a chance because of he clearly had plenty of passion and a real work ethic where he lacked natural talent.
Throughout university Scott played gigs and taught saxophone, spending a lot of his focus on training his terrible ears. He had jammed with friends and some were shocked at how bad his ears were. It was clearly holding him back. He embarked on a journey to train his ears, and like most people, had mixed results. Some things worked, some were a waste of time, and largely, the state of ear training was fragmented and frustrating.
Like I said, Scott is something of an analytical genius and very persistent. Where most people give up, he saw a challenge. Scott applied a very different approach to most musicians, and started considering the problem more like an engineer than a typical musician. He began deconstructing the goal of ear training, and sorting out different exercises based on his findings as to what was effective and what was a waste of time. He also began creating his own exercises. You can find out more about the specifics here.
The results were dramatic.
Scott went from 0 to hero at his music school, dramatically improving his musicianship, confidence and ability to play, improvise and write music. He became less of a mechanical player, and more fluid, more creative and more charismatic in his performance. He would eventually go on to win an award for best music act in the Melbourne Fringe Festival, a far cry from someone who barely made it into music school. The change was palpable, so much so that fellow music students began asking him what the hell he was doing to get so much better. Scott began to compile his individual ear training exercises into a system, and shared it with friends and taught it to his students.
The results again spoke for themselves, and worked for other people. His students became more fluid, more confident, more creative and simply better players. They began to play with that enviable “x-factor” that all great musicians have, but is so difficult to define. According to Scott, that presence and confidence is a direct result of hearing music more clearly, recognising it by ear, and as a result, needing to “think less” while playing. This is the main benefit of all Ear Training HQ courses, an enhanced state of flow and immersion while playing and listening to music.
A bit of a hometown hero, people started suggesting Scott write a book… and that’s where Jake and I came into the picture.
I had dropped out of law school and started an online business with Jake, who I have known since I was 10 years old, and we had gotten pretty good at digital marketing, in particular selling education online. Jake and I had taught ourselves Search Engine marketing, Pay Per Click Advertising and Direct response marketing and were doing pretty well with it all.
One night we were all out on the town eating at our favourite pizza joint when Scott started talking about his ear training work, and the results he was having and getting for his students. We got to talking, and the idea was born that we could take this training far beyond Melbourne’s inner suburbs and spread this message to the entire musical community. And so, Ear Training HQ was born.
Scott began to develop his training into a full multimedia course, going far beyond the constraints of a simple book. Jake and I took the reins on the marketing and technical development front, leaving Scott to focus on his course. We began advertising online, and the first batch of students came in… The results were… well.. I’ll let you read that for yourself here.
Since that time, the course has been updated and improved, and we’ve reached thousands and thousands of musicians, helping them unleash their musical potential. Even though we’ve been doing this for years now, it still feels like we’re at the start of our journey and are looking forward to helping 1 million musicians to unleash their true potential!
Have you identified your ears as holding you back? Take the ETHQ Challenge and see how quickly you can improve if you adopt the right approach. Get started with our free lesson series Ear Training Made Easy.
Are you a fellow music educator with an audience that could benefit from Ear Training? Check out our partnership program here.