In the first post in our series on ear training I explained the problem with the way you’ve learned to play music. In this second post I want to answer the first question you might have if you’re new to ear training: what is it?

This is an important question to answer for you now because people define ear training in a few different ways.

When people think of ear training, they usually think about learning how to recognise the notes, melodies and chords they hear in music. With ear training you will learn to recognise the notes in any music you hear so you can write down or play it with ease.

This is definitely a big part of ear training. But I’d like to broaden my definition of it a little.

Ear training will teach you two things:

  1. To recognise the notes, melodies and chords in music as mentioned above
  2. To hear the notes, melodies and chords in music more clearly

This second area of ear training is an important part of it.

It’s not much use if you are able to recognise any note you hear but you cannot hear each note clearly.

This might seem obvious but developing your ability to clearly make out the sound of each note in music is an important second part of ear training that is often ignored by those starting out.

As you learn more about ear training you may be surprised to find out that your ear doesn’t pick up quite as much as you think it does when you hear music. Developing this skill is equally important (in fact I would say even more important) than the other side of ear training that focuses on recognition.

So that gives us our answer to the question: what is ear training?

Ear training is the area of practice that will teach you to hear the notes, melodies and chords in music more clearly and recognise them instantly and automatically so you can play music by ear.

Does that sound appealing? Would you like to be able to clearly hear any part in music, recognise the notes and play them with ease? I bet you would!

If it sounds good to you why not keep going through the series. In the next post I’ll tell you about the single biggest difference ear training will make to your playing.

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