Joe's Blog

Ear Training Part one

April 18, 2017

The next series of Blog entries will have to do with the subject of “Ear Training”.  Here are the topics of the first three in the series.

-Why ear training?  And who can benefit from it.

-Sound is a quality and not a measurable quantity.

-How to work together with a friend on ear training.


Ask any student or performer if she or he listens to what he plays.  The answer, usually given without much pause for reflection, is most often yes.

Yet the ability to hear clearly while playing, and to understand what one is hearing, sets a good player apart from others.  The distinguishing factor in the playing of the finest artists is not so much a matter of their technique, but of their ability to listen completely and objectively to the sounds they are creating.  In the hands of a master, technical matters are brought under the control of the ear.  It should surprise most musicians to learn that they do not really listen when they play, and that furthermore, they are unable to do so because they lack the basic know-how involved in listening to and recognizing the qualities that make up sounds.  Being a good musician means having a mastery over the medium in which music exists: sound. When possessed of such mastery, one can mold this medium as one wills.  Becoming better at Ear Training means reaching towards mastery over the phenomenon of sound in its many forms and combinations.


-The general population, those without any prior musical training, to foster “sound literacy”.

-Non-musicians who want to understand what sound is all about and how sounds interrelate in the most abstract and general ways.

-Musicians, of all descriptions, at all levels, to enable them to gain secure mastery over their medium – “sound”.

-Young children, so that they grow up understanding what they hear in their environment.

No prior training is needed to begin ear training.

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