I wanted to take this opportunity to look back at what’s been going on over the course of the year. If you’re new to the site you might discover some things you didn’t know about, and if you’ve been with us for a while – well, join me in indulging in some premature nostalgia…
For information on a free eBook giveaway, big discounts on ear training apps and all that’s to come in 2011, you can skip ahead.
We kicked off the year introducing the site and (in the inaugural post) outlining our mission:
“Here at Easy Ear Training we’re devoted to finding new ways to make ear training easy, effective and fun.”
We delved into what ear training is and isn’t, and our authors began exploring different topics in ear training, from pitch and harmony, to tempo, frequencies, and the different ways you can effectively develop your ears.
Our first quiz was launched, to help you know where to start with ear training and identify areas you might like to improve. To close our first week we held a launch event in London, where a bunch of musicians and music researchers got some hands-on practice with our tutorials and ear training tools.
A big part of what we’ve been up to over the course of the year is developing six ear training series, each in a different area of ear training. You can find out more on our Series page – and with nearly 40 articles by 5 different authors you’re sure to find something to catch your interest!
Aside from our series, we’ve published dozens of articles on different topics in ear training. We’ve just introduced a new Topics system to help you more easily find information on the areas which interest you (find out more below) – and don’t forget you can also explore the articles available on the site by clicking an interesting tag at the bottom of an article, looking at a particular author – or simply searching the site for what you’re interested in!
Online quizzes are a quick and easy way to test your aural skills. We’ve developed 5 so far, and they’ve been used by more than 900 people in the last year – completing nearly 1200 ear training quizzes!
They cover topics ranging from the fundamentals of ear training to recognising the different parts of a drum kit, and beginner-to-advanced frequency training for our Frequency Fundamentals series.
The most popular is our “Intro to Ear Training” quiz, which tests you on a variety of aural skills and helps you figure out which kinds of ear training you might like to work on. 60% of people get at least half the questions right – but only 1 person in 100 scores 10/10!
After some in-depth beta testing by a group of EasyEarTraining.com readers, we launched our new ear training game for iPhone and iPod Touch: Step and a Half.
It’s proved really popular with users, with the majority of reviewers awarding it 4 or 5 stars. I think my favourite review is this one:
“This app fills a void in the ear training genre (to my knowledge) that was desperately needed. It is fun and beneficial to learn and use relative pitch in this way. Progression resembles that of their Relative Pitch app so they work great together, and you get a good sense of achievement with its scoring system that keeps you motivated! Strongly recommended!”
We’ve received some very interesting feedback about the gaming approach and the goal of using intervals to decipher melodies, and will be continuing to develop and improve Step and a Half and its companion app RelativePitch in 2011.
We’re continually looking for new ways to use technology to make ear training more fun and effective, and in this spirit we launched our new series of innovative ear training albums, called “Unravelling Music”. The idea is that you can learn to hear musical elements (such as chords, intervals, timbre, rhythm) by listening to real music instead of abstract drills – and learning in this way opens up your ear to hear these elements in any music you listen to!
Introducing Intervals is the first album in the series, focusing on musical intervals and introducing a variety of other musical concepts along the way. So far users have been reporting that it’s more fun to learn using real music, and that it helps them hear more in the music they listen to every day.
If you stopped by the site around October 31st, you will have seen a few changes! And we released a special Unravelling Music track to celebrate the spookiest of holidays, “Halloween Eve’s Birthday Bash”. It was released as a free download – so if you’d like to add a touch of the creeps to your day, or find out what “Unravelling Music” is all about, you can go grab your copy now!
What’s to come in 2011
Changes to the site
With over 100 posts and so many other resources now on the site, we wanted to make sure it’s easy to dig into the subjects you really care about in ear training. So we’ve introduced a new Topics system, to group articles and resources on the site by the area of ear training they focus on. You can find Topics for things like Relative Pitch (including Intervals, Scales and Chords), Perfect Pitch, Rhythm, Audio Mixing, Audio Effects, and many more.
To start exploring, visit www.EasyEarTraining.com/topics!
New ear training apps
Training your ears using apps (like RelativePitch and Step and a Half) is becoming a really popular way to develop your musicianship, and we’re working on several more apps to expand the kinds of ear training you can do on the move, whenever you have a few minutes to spare. Look out for an exciting announcement here very soon!
And remember, if you want a sneak preview of our upcoming apps, you can join our beta testers group by emailing beta@EasyEarTraining.com.
New series and authors
We’ve featured a fair bit of guitar ear training on the site over the last year, from articles by guitarist Matthew Abdallah to guitar effects talk from studio engineer Fotios Koulakos in Hearing Effects – and some of you bass players out there might have been feeling neglected…
Fret not, bassists!
We’ve got you covered.
Starting soon will be a new series by bass player Nick Long, all about bass tone – how to listen for the variety of wonderful noises a bass can produce, and how to get the best tones from your own bass. Not just for bass players though, this series will help any musician develop their appreciation of the often-overlooked (but always essential) member of the band. For your further aural pleasure, we’ll be releasing the series as a podcast too. Watch this space.
We’ve also got a few great new authors joining us on the site this year. First up, we’re very excited to welcome Brad T. Bush – music über-fan, devoted record collector, and celebrated rapper with Sticks Downey. He’ll be skillfully picking apart some songs for you, helping you to hear and understand what makes them tick, musically.
New “Introduction to Ear Training” eBook
There are so many interesting and rewarding aural skills you can develop, it can be hard to know where to start with ear training. We’ve put together a new 60-page introductory eBook, “Introduction to Ear Training”, which covers all the essentials:
- What is ear training
- Who needs ear training
- How to train your ears and when
- And why train your ears at all?
It’s written to help any musician or music fan get started with ear training, no prior knowledge required. But even if you’ve been around the site for a while you going to find plenty of new ideas, inspiration and suggestions for developing your musical ear in this book.
We’ll be selling the eBook here at EasyEarTraining.com very soon, but as a special offer to our regular visitors we’re offering a free download to anybody who signs up for our ear training newsletter.
Click here to download it now.
Already on the list? Just shoot an email to ebook@EasyEarTraining.com and we’ll get you set up with a free copy.
What do you want to see more of here on EasyEarTraining.com in 2011?
We’re always keen to hear from you about what you like on the site, what should be changed, and what you need for your own training. If you have suggestions, criticism, ideas, or any other feedback, you can always leave a comment on the site, or email feedback@EasyEarTraining.com.
Let us know – and help us to be the #1 ear training resource for musicians and music fans.
Finally, it only remains to say thank you to our authors, composers, and everyone who’s worked behind the scenes. And to all of our readers for supporting the site through its first year – especially to everyone who’s left a comment, posted in our forums, taken part in our app testing… or just dropped us a line, stating point of view.
I hope you’ll join me when I say:
Do you have a favourite post from the year? Great new idea for an ear training series in 2011? Have your say in the comments, or send an email to feedback@EasyEarTraining.com.
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