So, you want to play by ear? Here are our top tools for practising and improving your play-by-ear skills!

Just joining us? Read this series on learning to play by ear from the start to find out:
Playing by ear

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Melody Tools

IWasDoingAllRight.com’s Online Ear Trainer

IWasDoingAllRight - Online Ear Trainer

IWasDoingAllRight.com’s Online Ear Trainer lets you challenge your ‘playing by ear’ and sight-reading skills

This online ear training app will automatically create and play short melodies for you. It’s full of configuration options so you might need to do a bit of experimenting to find the best settings for your ability.

But spend a bit of time playing call-and-response games with this app and your melody playing-by-ear skills are sure to improve.

See also our full profile of IWasDoingAllRight.com, previously.

Step and a Half iOS app

We designed our “Step and a Half” app for iOS (iPhone and iPod) to help you move from recognising single intervals to figuring out whole melodies by ear. You can also use it as a complete beginner though, learning each interval as you go.
Step and a Half: Melody Training iOS app
It’s a fun race-against-the-clock game of choosing blocks to recreate the melody you heard. When you’re out and about or want to develop your skills but can’t play your instrument, the Step and a Half game can help you progress.


Harmony Tools

Online chord games from Theta Music Trainer

Theta Music Trainer has some fantastic games for learning to hear harmony and chords better. Try out Chord Drops, Flash Chords, Tone Trees or Phrase Fitter.

If you know your individual chords and want to learn to hear chord progressions you should try out the Speaker Chords (below) or Flash Progressions games.


Sorry, this game requires the Adobe Flash Player and a browser with JavaScript enabled. Get Flash 
If you’ve enjoyed this game, we recommend the full Theta Music Trainer. Theta Music Trainer

Chordelia apps for iOS

Chordelia: Triad Tutor helps you recognise chords by ear
If you’re just beginning to understand the different types of chord (major, minor, augmented, diminished, seventh chords, etc.) then Chordelia: Triad Tutor is a great tool for training with your iPhone. It teaches and tests the core types of ‘triad’ chord you’ll want to start out with. Once you’ve mastered your triads you’ll be ready for a serious challenge from Chordelia: Seventh Heaven.


Rhythm Tools

YouTube Genre Practice

YouTube is a great practice tool for playing by earOne of the best tools for practising rhythm skills is one we mentioned last time: Music videos of different genres on YouTube.

Here’s a suggested approach: