When you’re first starting out, ear training can seem like a strange and pointless activity. If you are studying just to pass an exam (e.g. the “aural skills” section of ABRSM instrument exams, or your music college’s ear training final) then you can easily get bored and frustrated with your ear training progress.

Fortunately, ear training does get easier.

The more you do it the better you get

In a way, it’s as simple as that. You do need to pay attention to the way you approach ear training, and stay true to your musical goals for it to be rewarding. But as long as you are training in the right way you will see continual improvement, and what was once very challenging will become instinctive.

This is probably the best reward from persisting with ear training: you start to feel more “naturally” musical as the ear training lessons become truly ingrained in your musicality.

You learn to train more effectively

Inevitably you must begin training your ears according to somebody else’s methods that they teach you, perhaps even following a set syllabus.

This can get you started, but you will quickly want to dissect that approach and find ways to better tailor it to your own musical self. For example:

  • You might find that you learn well from recorded examples.
  • You might find that singing helps you enormously.
  • You might find that all ear training is wasted unless you have your instrument in your hands while doing it.

Every musician is different!

You must also tailor the course of your ear training to make sure it leads to the goals you’re truly excited about, and that it has suitable milestones along the way to keep you motivated.

By continually refining your own approach to ear training you tailor it more and more precisely to what works for you. Your progress then accelerates,