First of all, why is it helpful to do ear training?
Ear training has a long list of benefits regarding your guitar playing. A few of them include:
-Be able to play songs from your head
-Be able to play your favourite songs from memory
-Feel more confident jamming and playing with other people
-Help you recognise when your vibratos and bends sound in tune and sound good
-Be more creative with your guitar playing and sound more melodic
What this will do is to help you develop an ear inside of your head, that you are practising how to translate onto the guitar directly.
It will also help your playing to be more melodic and sound like what a singer might sing. You can also include phrasing elements to try to mimic your own singing voice.
Final few thoughts
I hope these few fun and easy ways to help you get started with your ear training. You can often make the exercises more fun by timing yourself, doing it with a friend or making sure you are listening to something you enjoy.
Lots of musicians have already been doing this type of things to improve their ears without realising by playing around and figuring things out over a long period time. If you actively train and practise it, your ears will improve in no time! And you will notice it in your guitar playing too!
About guitar teacher
Darryl is a keen guitar teacher in London. Dedicated to helping local acoustic and electric guitarists to learn how to improve their guitar playing. And also helping beginners to and children how to play from the beginning
Does Ear Training Require Talent?
There is a controversy that having good ears requires natural talent. There are two sides of this. There are different types of ability to ear. A big differentiator is between perfect pitch and relative pitch.
Relative pitch means you can hear a note against another note and work out what it is relative to the first note.
Perfect pitch is when you can hear a note and know exactly what that note is independent to anything else.
You can definitely train for relative pitch, and relative pitch will be able to help you do all those things above.
If you would like to do any of the benefits of doing ear training, then find out how you can get started.
Four Fun Ways To Train Your Ears:
Try to be creative with your ear training practice. You can make up your own melodies in your head. And try to play them on the guitar.
You can listen to a song, improvise a melody over the top by singing. And then playing that onto the guitar.
Or you can listen to a backing track and do the same thing.
Lots of people want to improve their ear training but don’t know where to start. Often ear training can get tiresome, and people don’t want to work on it.
Here are a few ways to start improving your ear training and keep it fun, so you can carry on to gain the benefits of ear training in the long term.
Keeping Ear Training Fun To Start Improving Your Guitar Playing
Transcribe Music You Enjoy and Want to Play (Keep it simple)
Transcribing music can be a pain or fun. If you can’t do it, and it takes you forever to figure it out. You may get frustrated. The key to making it fun is to keep it simple. Especially when you first start.
Choose music that you like that are simple to start off with. Figuring out single note melodies. This could be theme tunes, nursery rhymes. Things you’ve heard lots of times.
You can also start listening to chords and see if they sound happy or sad, and progress on to what the chords actually are. It is also useful to work on identifying how different chord progressions sound too.
Have a friend learn to transcribe with you, and you can race each other to who can figure out melodies the fastest! You can also try to find the melodies in as many places on the guitar as possible to improve your fretboard knowledge at the same time.
Playing along to your favourite songs
Now you can make listening to your favourite songs part of ear training. This will be easier based on the type of music you like to listen to.
A few ways that you can work on ear training while listening to your favourite songs include:
Figuring out the key of a song – Even key changes that happen as well.
Play along to the melody of the song
Play along with the chord progression of the song.
You aren’t aiming for perfection here. The more you play around and keep it fun and light. The more likely you are to play it more. You can even work on your improvisation on top of the songs as well once you’ve worked out the key for some extra practice.
Or try to race through a list of songs and see how long it takes for you to work out what key each song is.
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Do some singing practice
It may seem strange to do the singing for ear training. But practise singing out loud that intervals can be very helpful.
Sing two notes to create an interval. Say what you think the interval is. Then work it out on the guitar to check you’ve got it right!
There are apps that will do the same thing, but sometimes it’s more fun and more realistic to do it with your own singing. This way, you can practise voicing out what notes are out loud.