IFR blog > Practice tips > Developing your ear
Ear Training for Musical Creativity

Imagine being able to listen to any song and recognize every note of the melody by ear. What would that do for your musical creativity and improvising? Now imagine learning this skill in just 10 weeks and having it for the rest of your life! This is what we will do in this workshop.

What's the best approach to ear training?

I have tried many different methods of ear training. I have tried interval recognition apps, functional ear training and even a perfect pitch course. But I have yet to recognize a single note when listening to real music! Can you give me any guidance?

Q&A - Hear notes relative to key or chord?

To understand music by ear, should we try to hear each note relative to the chord of the moment or relative to the overall key of the song?

Intervals vs. tonal ear training

In this video I demonstrate why tonal ear training is so much more powerful than listening for intervals, especially over long or complex chord progressions.

Finding the key of the music by ear

In this video demonstration with tenor sax and piano, we demonstrate how IFR students are able to instantly find the key of the music by ear.

Is singing the tonal numbers a crutch?

I play the guitar and in order to avoid getting lost on the fretboard I say the numbers of the scale out loud. So I literally say "1, 2, 3" etc out loud as I'm playing. Will this be like a crutch in the future where I can't move around unless I count the notes?

How to build a strong sense of tonal orientation

"When I'm practicing Seven Worlds, sometimes I lose my orientation and I can't feel the tonal center anymore. So for example note 2 doesn't feel like home anymore. Instead my ear keeps wanting to resolve to note 1. Do you have any tips for this?"

IFR video lesson: Sound, map and instrument

In this free video lesson, I show you how you can learn to understand music by ear and to play the sounds you imagine using the "Sound, Map and Instrument" technique from Improvise for Real.

Why nursery rhymes are great ear training for improvisers

I'm currently singing and playing short tunes like nursery rhymes, hymns, etc. The way I do it is that I will play a tune only once and try to make my best attempt at playing the correct notes the very first time. Is this approach a good one?

How to recognize melodies by ear using the key of the music

In this video you'll learn the most important technique for recognizing songs and melodies by ear. The technique is to focus on the path that the melody traces through the overall key of the music.