Ear training is arguably the most important skill for today's guitarists to learn. This one practice will allow you to improve faster than others and play with a more diverse group of musicians. Music is, afterall, an aural art. Therefore, the better you can hear the better musician you can be. Imagine if painters could somehow improve their vision so that they could see colors sharper and brighter. How much better could they become? As musicians, we have the opportunity to do this.
There are many approaches to ear training. Some are more boring than others and some are more productive than others. It is my goal in this article to provide you with several ways that you can practice you ear training and maximize your ability as a musician.
One way to practice ear training is with a partner. One of you should have a guitar and one of you should be sitting somewhere where you can hear the guitar but you can not see the fretboard. Have the guitarist first play different intervals. It is important to learn to hear intervals because they are the basic building blocks of all music. It may be easier to start with only two to three intervals. For example, the guitarist will play major 3rds, perfect fifths, and minor seconds in a random order. The listener will call out the intervals. When the degree of accuracy reaches 80% or higher, add another interval (perfect 4th, minor 3rd whatever …) Next, the guitarist can play chords. For these, the listener should focus on chord quality (major, minor, augmented, diminished).
You can also practice ear training alone. There are several ways to do this. First, you can record random intervals onto a tape and then play them back and figure them out. There are also some great sites on the web that will generate intervals for you and then give you the correct answer. Just search "interval trainer" in google. But there is one method that is far superior to all of the above methods. I have been saving the best for last, but believe me that if you do what I am about to say, you will develop astounding ears.
My recommended method is to … TRANSCRIBE !! That's right, learn the music of your idols by ear. I can not stress the benefits of this practice enough. Some teachers will tell you to write out the songs as you learn them. Do not do this! Just memorize how to play the song. This is much more valuable to you in the long run, and if you know how to play it, you can always write it down later if you need to. Now, if the song is slow, you may be able to do this without help. However, if the song is faster, I would recommend using software such as Riffmaster Pro that can help you slow the song down. This is a great way to learn music. WARNING! This may be frustrating to begin with. Stick with it though! I guarantee that you will get better. The more you do it, the better you will get. Just think of all the great music you will be learning too. This is hands down the best way to learn ear training for guitar. Many of the pros used this as their only learning method. Trust me! You will be a better player.
Source by Ryan Gloman