Here is a good process to follow when you first begin ear training.

Note: You might also like our step-by-step guide to planning your ear training.

Choose your goals

First, think about the kind of musician you want to become. The ear training plan for someone who wants to become a pro jazz musician will be very different from that for a guitar player who wants to play in bands, or a pianist who wants to add improvisation to their pop repertoire.

Think about the sorts of musical skill you want to develop through ear training, such as:

  • Improvisation
  • Confidence in sight-singing
  • Freedom in writing or arranging music
  • Jamming well with other musicians

Only once you are clear about why you are starting ear training can you develop an appropriate and effective plan.

Plan your route

Once you have chosen your “big picture” musical goals, you will need to break them down into smaller milestones and sub-goals. The purpose of this is two-fold:

  1. To map out the route from your current abilities to the goal you want to reach
  2. To help you stay motivated by providing intermediate accomplishments, so you know you’re making progress.

You can find examples of how to work towards ear training goals in topics such as intervals, chords, and progressions here on the site.

And if you need help making your ear training plan, come ask in the forums!

Choose your methods

Different people learn in different ways, and there’s a wide variety of tools, resources, and approaches which can support your training in a way that suits your own learning style.

  • Do you learn best by reading? If so, look for articles, tutorials, manuals, and other information sources to help guide your training.
  • Do you learn best by listening? Seek out podcasts and audiobooks which explain what you need to know.
  • Do you learn best by doing?</