Ear Training for Guitarists

Ear Training Lesson 1 – Introduction to Interval Recognition

Ear Training is a subject that most of my students either hate or don’t appreciate enough. When teaching the subject its often quite difficult to get students enthusiastic about.

But its an essential skill that all musicians must develop. Ear training as a practical skill can be the ability to recognise the tonality of a piece, the notes contained within a musical phrase or how an instrument is performing a section of the piece Rhythmically  simply by listening.

We teach all of our clients ear training skills when they come for their guitar, bass or theory lessons. But we are also going to publish some guides on how you can improve your ear training at home.

In this article I’m going to show you a resource you can use to improve your ear training and give you a first instalment into learning intervals.

1. Music Theory.net

A resource I use in the class room as well as personally. This website has some excellent tools to help you practice ear training. In particular the “Interval ear training test”.

An interval is simply the distance between two notes. We can practice identifying intervals by associating them with well know tracks. Below is some examples.

Minor 2nd Interval – Sounds like the theme music from Jaws.

Major 2nd Interval – Sounds like the intro to Can’t stop by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Perfect 4th Interval – Sounds like the start of the song played at a Wedding “Here comes the bride”

Perfect 5th Interval – Sounds like the first two notes of the Star Wars theme tune.

There are quite a few more intervals than what is listed above. But what I would recommend is that you start small and progress.

Visit music theory.net and try out the interval ear trainer and customise the test to only test you on a couple of the above intervals at a time. Then as you progress move on to including more intervals. Use the list above to see if you can identify the intervals by associating them to the tracks.

Give this a go and remember to come back for more tips and ear training lessons.

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