IFR blog > Practice tips > Developing your ear
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?

Melody Paths with chords 1, 3-, 4, 5D

In this lesson we study the uplifting movement from the 1 chord to the 3- chord, which is very common in popular music. And we will sing Melody Paths over the chord progression 1, 3-, 4, 5D.

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?

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?

Which harmonic environments should an improviser learn first?

Should I study the most important harmonic environments first? Or is it better to study all seven harmonic environments in order?

Melody Paths with chords 6-, 4, 1, 5D

In this video we are going to train our ear together with the famous chord progression 6-, 4, 1, 5D. First, we'll sing the roots to make sure we can feel the chord changes. Then we'll practice the ear training exercise Melody Paths, singing melodies connecting chord notes across the chord progression.

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 video I illustrate the concept ‘Sound, Map and Instrument’ from the book ‘Improvise for Real’. This principle guides our practicing and ensures that as our musical knowledge grows, our ear doesn’t get left behind.

Melody Paths with the beautiful b7 chord

In this video we sing Melody Paths over a long chord progression which includes the beautiful b7 chord. All of the chords in this chord progression come directly from the key of the music except for the b7 chord and the 3D chord, which both introduce notes from outside the key.

Hopeless at ear training

I have always had a terrible ear and I feel that it's preventing me from making the most of your method. There seem to be just two sorts of musicians: the ones who can play by ear and the ones who just can't. Can you help me?