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?

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?"

Should you listen to one particular instrument to recognize chords by ear?

To recognize chords by ear, is it helpful to listen to one particular instrument or should we be listening for something else?

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.

Learning to recognize chords by ear

Sometimes I have to listen to a chord progression between 5-10 times before I can recognize the chords. Is this normal? Or should I be able to do this instantly?