IFR blog > Practice tips > Developing your ear
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?

Melody Paths with chords 1, 6-, 2-, 5D

This is a practice video for Improvise for Real students who want to understand and internalize the chord progression 1, 6-, 2-, 5D. First, we will understand the role of each chord in the progression, and then we will practice ear training with the Melody Paths exercise.

Listening activity: Recognizing the chords in popular songs

This listening activity will help you learn to recognize chord progressions by ear. We have put together a list of beautiful popular songs that use the exact same chords that you're studying in IFR Jam Tracks Levels 2 and 3.

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?"

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.

How to recognize a song's tonal center

If I identify a particular note as the tonal center of a song, how can I tell which note of the major scale it is (e.g. note 4)?

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?

Demo of exercise from Understanding Begins with Listening

This is a demonstration of the singing activity from the chapter ‘Understanding Begins with Listening’ from Improvise for Real. It's the first step to learning to recognize both chords and melodies by ear.

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.

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?