Every musician who sets out to train their ears will at some stage struggle for motivation.

By its nature, ear training must be somewhat repetitive: your ears need to hear the same musical elements again and again to truly ingrain their characteristics in your brain. This repetition can cause your enthusiasm to wane: it’s easy to get bored.

There are two big ways to tackle this challenge and ensure your motivation remains strong:

1. Keep the big picture in mind

It’s the rare musician who is actually motivated to do interval drills! Rather, these ear training exercises are the means to an end, and it’s the end which motivates.

We begin studying music because we wish to become incredible, talented, creative, expressive musicians. We put in the hours practising our instrument, learning repertoire, and perfecting our playing skills to accomplish that goal.

It’s the same with ear training. We begin training our ears because we dream of having incredible musical ears which can easily understand anything we hear in music, and allow us intelligent creativity in the music we compose, improvise and play. We put in the hours practising interval recognition, studying chord types and learning common chord progressions because these exercises help us to develop those ears we dream of.

So if your motivation is waning, the solution should be clear: Instead of focusing on the day-to-day practice and the nitty-gritty of exercises and drills, focus instead on the end goal which inspired you to start practising these drills in the first place.

Imagine having the musical ears you dream of and how it will impact your musicianship.