I always had difficulty with ear training. From my sightsinging class as a freshman at Minnesota State-Mankato to my graduate courses at UNI, I never felt like I was making progress. Every teacher I asked about this had different methods, naturally.
In graduate school we used a program called MacGamut. This program played a scale, chord, interval or phrase and then asked you to name it or to notate it. I found this program good for some things like basic transcription practice and bad for others.
I recently found a great blog that features a java-based ear training application.
This website is written by a trumpet player named Rickfrom the Atlanta area who chronicles his daily practice routine and development.
Dave Douglas has always been a hero of mine. I think of him as a great modern improviser who can change direction and sound drastically between projects. Recently on Dave’s Blog he wrote a lengthy post on ear training and how it important it is to musicians.
Ear training takes a lot of time to master, and it seems like the more you work on it the more you see your own shortcomings. It’s slow going, as is the attempt to explain it. What’s more — this topic is almost entirely behind the scenes, off the radar. Maybe it has nothing at all to do with the reception of the music. And yet, to find satisfaction as musicians — to express ourselves — takes a constant inventing and encountering of new challenges, new ways of keeping the music exciting. The new challenges have a lot to do with how we hear sound and process it, how we deepen the experience, and how we can push ourselves to more profound levels of expression. That’s what keeps me playing.
Yeah, what he said.
Check out the full article here.