Welcome to the third post in our series: 5 things you need to know about ear training. In the first post I told you about the problem with the way you’ve learned to play music and in the second I answered the question: what is ear training?

Today I’ll tell you about the single biggest difference ear training will make to your playing.

Before I tell you about the biggest difference it will make, let me tell you about a few of the smaller ones.

I’m sure you can imagine that ear training will change the way you play music in more ways than one. There are countless ways that ear training will change the way that you play your instrument.

Learning to play by ear is considered the ‘holy grail’ by a lot of musicians. It gives you complete freedom when you play. You can play anything you can hear so you can play all your favourite tunes from memory, improvise freely and learn new music on the fly whenever you hear it. There’s simply no comparison between a musician who can play by ear and one who cannot.

The other side of ear training – learning to hear music more clearly – has unbelievable benefits as well. You will develop a greater awareness of all the finer details in music such as phrasing, articulation, tuning and dynamics. These details make the difference between average music and great music. By being naturally more aware of them you can adjust them quickly and easily. This will lead you to sound much better every time you pick up your instrument.

In addition to improving the way that you play directly, learning to hear music more clearly will help you a lot whenever you are listening to others play, whether it’s live or on a recording. You will be able to make out each individual part easily: the melody, the bass line and the chords. This makes it much easier to play in bands and work out your favourite music from recordings.

These are just a few of the direct ways that ear training will transform your playing. But there is one benefit that comes from ear training that trumps all of these. And it’s because this benefit is the result of all the other benefits of ear training combined:

Ear training will give you confidence.

Have you ever been travelling in a country where you don’t speak the language before?

It can be a nerve wracking experience.

It can be stressful every time you need to talk to someone, go to the store or even take a train because you can’t communicate easily with the local people.

Playing music without ear training is a little like that. You learn to read the notes and play your instrument but you’re never really sure of yourself. You’re never quite sure if what you’re playing sounds great or average, you can’t work out what others are doing and you can’t stray at all from the notes written in front of you without risking an obvious mistake.

Training your ears solves this problem completely.

It leads to a newfound sense of confidence whenever you pick up your instrument. You will know whether you sound good or not. You will understand what others are playing. You’ll be relaxed, safe in the knowledge that your ears will understand what they hear and guide your fingers. You’ll experience a level of enjoyment with music that you simply cannot achieve without it.

In my opinion this is the biggest benefit that comes along with ear training. We spend a lot of time playing music so why wouldn’t we want to do it confidently and get the most enjoyment possible out of it!?

If you’d like to be a more relaxed and confident musician then ear training is definitely for you.

If you’re reading this and thinking “I already know the benefits of ear training, I want to actually DO it” then why don’t you take a look at our free lesson series Ear Training Made Easy. In it you’ll find out about the 3 ear training mistakes that will stop you from playing music by ear.

But if you want to know more about the basics of ear training you might be asking a different question that I’ll answer in the next post in the series: How long does it take to train your ears?

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