IFR blog > Practice tips > Developing your ear
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?

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.

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 if it's note 4 (for example) of one particular scale or note 1 of another?

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?

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.

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?

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.

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". It's the first step to learning to recognize chords and melodies by ear.

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