Imagine, being up on a stage, a microphone in front of you, and you’re singing an original song. Maybe you’re also strumming the guitar or playing the piano as you sing. The lights are all shining on you and your close friends and family are in the audience enjoying your show.
If something you dream of is being on stage performing, or you simply want to appreciate music more, then something you might be wondering about is ear training.
This essential part of understanding music can be stressful to think about if you don’t know how to do it.
Fortunately, in this article, we’ll review ear training techniques for the adult beginner. Finally, you can improve at this important part of learning music, becoming a better musician and music lover. Read on to learn more.
What Ear Training Is
Before we go into how to train your ear for music, we’ll review what ear training is. Basically, ear training is when you work on your aural skills. These are listening skills that are musical. When you develop them, you’re developing how you hear in terms of:
You might even do this all the time without even knowing that you are. For example, if you find you can remember a rhythm and tap it with your fingers after you’ve heard a song or you can differentiate between different sound effect types, you’ve actually been doing ear training.
In addition to being good for your musical education and training, ear training has added benefits.
These benefits include exercising your intonation and voice, improving your improvising abilities, increasing confidence, and improving memory.
8 Ear Training Tips
Now that we’ve reviewed what ear training is, we’ll go over some ear training tips. These include active listening, testing your hearing, mastering the melody, allowing the rhythm to guide your hearing, working on harmony, and more.
1. Active Listening
One of the best ways to do ear training as a beginner is by doing active listening. This is where you put on the music, close your eyes, and take in the sound environment. As you do, you’ll ask yourself questions about the music, such as:
- Are the rhythms slow or fast?
- Are the sounds quiet or loud?
- Where do you hear the sounds coming from?
Additionally, think about specific things you’re hearing while you listen. Try to see if you can train yourself to differentiate between high sounds, low sounds, animal noises, talking, machine sounds, and so on.
2. Testing Your Hearing
Have you found that you’ve had difficulty hearing high pitches or understanding what people are saying when you’re in a crowded room with them? Or have you often had to ask people to repeat what they’ve just said to you?
In this case, it’s smart to take a hearing test. This way, you can know whether you have any issues of which you need to be aware while you learn music.
3. Mastering the Melody
It’s important to be able to listen to a song and think about how the different notes in the melody are a different distance from each other. When you do this, you’re training your relative pitch. To get started, do some interval training.
4. Allowing the Rhythm to Guide Your Hearing
Another important part of ear training is getting good at the following rhythm. An easy way to get started is to put on your favorite song and clap along or tap your foot to the rhythm. Additionally, listen to different songs and note how they differ in terms of rhythm.
5. Working on Harmony
Something you may have noticed when listening to songs is that, sometimes, there’s another voice in addition to the melody. When notes work together in a song, this is called harmony. Listen for it to practice.
If you want to learn more about the technical side of harmony, try out ear training exercises of the chord type.
6. Combine Ear Training With Your Music Practice
Do you play an instrument or sing? In this case, you can improve your ear training by combining it with your music practice. To do this, practice your ear training before playing your instrument or practicing singing.
You’ll see that your ear training will have a beneficial impact on your instrument or singing skills.
7. Do Your Ear Training With Someone Else
Sometimes, it can help to do your ear training with someone else. If you have fellow musician friends, you can work on understanding harmony together, figure out the complex rhythm of a drum solo, or listen for different sounds in a song.
By working together on this, you can learn from each other how to do ear training.
8. Understand Audio
While many ear training exercises are related to harmony, melody, and rhythm, there’s a lot more to music than these three things. If you’re interested in music performance or production, learning how to recognize different frequencies and understanding which audio effects are which is important.
Develop your musical ear for effects and audio frequencies to understand music in this way.
Want to Learn Even More About Music?
Now that you’ve learned these ear training tips for beginners, you might want to learn even more about music. In this case, you should get in touch with us at the Sloan School of Music. We offer music lessons and much more at our school in Hagerstown, Maryland.
We offer private music lessons and group classes. We also sell and rent out instruments.