Let me begin by telling you where most other programs fail. Many popular ear training applications are terrible simply because of there poor user interface design.
When I was an undergraduate learning ear training for the first time in college we used Practica Musica and later I used MacGAMUT when I began teaching because the school required students to buy it.
Both of these programs pale in comparison to the quality of EarMaster 5, if not just for the sheer fact that you can navigate the program easily and the use the input interface very intuitively.
Beyond just the ease of use I really like EarMaster 5 for the way that it is laid out from a learning perspective. You begin by choosing an ear training topic and a level of difficulty. Here is what the first screen looks like when you start the program:
You get a choice of training modes (standard and jazz) and a list of exercises beginning with intervals, the most essential building blocks of ear training.
After you choose your exercise you are allowed to choose a difficulty level or just complete each level in order.
The second and really useful reason this software is great is the pitch input method through an onscreen piano keyboard, guitar fret board or clickable buttons.
Here are two screens shots showing the piano and fretboard interfaces:
The Piano Interface
The Fretboard Interface
Also you can download a fully functional 7 day trial that allows you to test out all the features of the software. After that you can choose to purchase one of three different levels of the program.
- The first is the Essential version. This version is great if you are a total beginner at ear training and will take very far.
- The second level, the Pro version, opens up the more advanced ear training levels. This is great if you are practicing for ear training courses in college or music conservatory.
- The third level is the School Version which I think is great for music professors but I don't see a real advantage for a student. Most of the extra features in this package are for tracking students grades and progress on assignments. However if you teach music I highly recommend this version.
Give it a try today on a Windows or Mac. It installs very quickly and also works with any MIDI keyboard or you can use mouse and keyboard input on your computer. It also has microphone input that you can use with your voice or guitar, but I have not used these features very much so I can't really say how well they work.
If you are serious about learning to play by ear or want to work on any of your ear training abilities I can't recommend this software highly enough. I urge you to try the free demo and see for yourself how good this program is.
Do you already own EarMaster 5? If so let me know what you think about it in the comments below.
Until next time, Keep up the good practice!