First off, the chances that you are actually tone deaf are very slim. Far more often, it’s simply the case that you haven’t ever had the basic pitch ear training required to detect different notes reliably. (for more on this, see “What is pitch ear training?”)

This means that some simple pitch ear training is all that’s required to “cure” your tone deafness. If you’ve been frustrated by your apparent lack of musical ability because you love music and wish you could play an instrument, don’t despair! With a bit of ear training you can quickly catch up with those who’ve never suffered from tone deafness.

Pitch ear training cures tone deafness

The phrase “tone deaf” is usually meant to mean somebody can’t reliably tell one note from another. This is not an all-or-nothing ability though. It actually just means you don’t have a very good ability to tell notes apart.

Start from the most basic of exercises: can you tell a very high note from a very low one?

Use a piano (you can find a virtual one online) and pick a note at either end of the keyboard. Can you hear that there’s a difference between the notes?

Or try with these two notes:

Do they sound different to you?

If so, great! That’s the first step in curing tone deafness: learning to be aware that notes sound different from each other.

For full confirmation, take an online tone deaf test.

From there, it’s a gradual process of pitch ear training. You can learn much more about this in the article “How to train your ear for pitch perfection”, or start ear training with our RelativePitch app or interval ear training exercises. These will gradually teach you the skill of relative pitch: hearing how far apart notes are from one another.

Start curing your tone deafness today

If you take one thing away from this page, it should be this: “Tone deaf” just means you haven’t learned yet.

Don’t be intimidated by music. It’s all based on simple, learnable skills. Begin by finding something you can do (e.g. distinguishing a very high from very low note) and then gradually develop your ability from there.

Here at Easy Ear Training we’ve worked with many beginner musicians who started out fearing they were tone deaf and hopeless.

In every case they’ve been able to build up their pitch sensitivity and learn to hear notes just as clearly as they need to to be able to become great musicians.

If you want to start this journey yourself, try our free beginners ear training course:

Similar questions answered on this page:

  • Can you cure tone deafness?
  • How to cure tone deafness
  • Can tone deaf people play music?