Ear Training

Wanna Hangout? Introducing OMML Live on Google Hangouts and YouTube Live

Hi One Minute Music Lesson fans,Over the past few months I have been searching for a way to offer the OMML community live video webinars to teach the fundamentals of music theory and ear training for free.

Let's hangout to talk about music!

Recently Google Plus has added the ability to broadcast live video via Google Hangouts and YouTube Live. This new ability will make it possible for me to be able to answer all your questions about music theory and ear training live.

This means there is no more waiting for a response in the comments or email. Also you will get a more detailed answer to your questions with live video and audio.

I'm eager to answer all your questions

I am so excited to be able to interact with all of you and I don't want to waste any more time before I begin my live shows. This may mean we run into a few technical bumps along the way, but I think it will be well worth any of the possible growing pains in this new technology.

I am fairly new to hosting live webinars but am ready to give it a try with my first live broadcast on this Sunday, March 17th at 4pm Central Standard Time.

To get an invitation to join the webinar be sure you have signed up for my free newsletter to get the invitation that will be sent on Sunday.

Currently I am calling these live webinars OMML Live. For the first live show I will be teaching all about my simple tool called the Pitch Wheel. Also I will be teaching you how to memorize scales, chords and intervals with this unique free tool that I have created.

During the show I will also be answering your questions live and offering tips, tricks and advice for building your musical talents.

Join me on Sunday, March 17th @ 4pm Central Standard Time

I know you must be asking "How do I signup?"

To participate in the free webinar you can use Google Hangouts in your free Google Plus account or watch the show directly on YouTube and interact via the comments section.

I will send out the exact link to the webinar to subscribers of my free newsletter later this week with full details of how to participate in the webinar.

Don't come empty handed

I am looking forward to talking with you all this weekend and I encourage you to come prepared with questions. Feel free to ask anything about music and especially music theory and ear training.

Can't wait till Sunday?

If you can't wait till Sunday to get in touch with me then let me know your questions or thoughts in the comments section below. You can also send me questions directly to my email at oneminutemusiclesson@gmail.com anytime.

I hope this new extension of the One Minute Music Lesson will bring you closer to achieving your musical goals and I am anxious to get started with the new live shows soon.

Thanks for following the One Minute Music Lesson,

Until Next Time ... Practice Smart, Not Hard.


  Leon Harrell (about)

OneMinuteMusicLesson.com is dedicated to teaching the fundamentals of music to beginning musicians who want to grow their talents as quickly as possible with effective lessons and time management tips for practicing.

Leon Harrell's goal is to teach you musicianship by using highly targeted concept lessons that build progressively to teach you music theory, ear training and composition.

Top 10 Ear Training Tools

Top 10 Ear Training
Top 10 Ear Training

Here are a list of 10 of the best ear training tools software and websites that I have used in the past to teach students ear training. Most of these tools are free or cost very little. My two personal favorites are EarMaster 6 (Click here to get a free 7-day trial), a comprehensive ear training software and the ear training exercises at MusicTheory.net which has interactive flash-based ear training tools.

Here's the list:

If you have any favorite ear training software or site you like that you don't see in this list, let me know about them in the comments below.

Also, if you have struggled to learn ear training in the past you may be interested in learning about Leon Harrell's music theory and aural skills beta academy.

Until next time: Practice Smart, Not Hard.

Leon Harrell

What is Ear Training and Why is it Important?

Hi fans of the One Minute Music Lesson, Ear training is the process of learning to play your instrument by ear, how to write down music by ear, a skill also known as musical dictation, and how to identify mistakes in music and fix them by ear. It's one of the hardest skills in music to acquire. But it doesn't have to be.

Ear training is difficult to learn because there are many possibilities when it comes down to how to find notes on your instrument by ear. In fact moving from one note to the next on any given song on a piano and you have 3916 possible choices from the first note you play to the next note. That's a lot of possibilities between every single note, not to mention the possibility of more than one note at a time.

Ear training allows us to listen to music and decipher what is going on musically and recreate it either by playing it or writing it down. This is done by using your knowledge of musical sound including intervals, scales and chords in addition to what you know about the music theory behind these concepts.

Ear training is a skill that is developed over time and is frustrating for the beginner because it actually requires quite a bit of music theory knowledge to be able to do it well or alternatively a couple thousand hours of practicing to be able to do it without music theory.

To begin the process of ear training it is vital to understand how each interval sounds. Then you move on to how these intervals sound in context within scales and chords. To practice you need tools and a method that will work by teaching you how to listen properly and reproduce what you hear accurately.

This is the biggest problem with traditional ear training methods, especially ones taught at the university level. Many ear training classes and software teach by repetition and sheer volume of practice material. This approach does not work well or even come close to being efficient.

Over the past 5 years I have taught a course on ear training, also called aural skills in colleges, to graduate students who failed there entrance exams into the graduate music program at the University of Illinois. Often I have had students who were shocked at how simple the process of learning aural skills could be after taking my class. A common story among many students who take these types of courses in college goes like this:

As an incoming university music student you begin taking an ear training course with an instructor that teaches you solfege (a method used to teach ear training) and forces you to practice sight singing melodies and musical dictation by using recordings or horribly designed software in the hopes that you will absorb the material.

What actually happens is that about 10% of the class learns the material fairly well while the other 90% of the students never get past the most basic concepts because they have no idea how to practice these skills with their current level of abilities, therefore they just never develop any further.

Sure, they almost all pass the class, but they do not learn the material in a deep and meaningful way and promptly forget it after the course is over because they have not learned how to use it in a practical manner.

This is exactly why I am creating my new music theory and ear training academy. I have developed a system that works and is easy to learn and put into practice. And best of all it is practical. It teaches you how to use many elements from the traditional method of solfege but in an entirely different way that makes you use your inner ear without the crutch of the staff (more on this in another post).

Over the course of the next month I will be teaching introductory concepts of ear training and music theory, the flip-side of the ear training coin. Some of this material will be on my free video lesson series Understanding Music Theory on my free video lesson page. More of this material will be sent exclusively to subscribers of my free newsletter.

If you are interested in learning how to use the power of ear training in your instrument playing and music writing I encourage you to follow along with the announcements on my newsletter about my upcoming members-only music academy.

Until next time: Practice Smart - Not Hard,

Leon Harrell

Review: EarMaster 5 - Ear Training Software

Ear Training EarMaster 5 is hands-down one of the best ear training tools I have ever used as a musician and as a professor.

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!

Leon Harrell

Ear Training Game: Speaker Chords

Ear training can be difficult and frustrating because you need a couple essential elements to be successful.

1. You will need material to practice that is at your skill level.

2. You will need a variety of material, so you don't just memorize it.

3. Ear training needs to be fun and engaging so you stick with it long enough to learn it.

Speaker Chords, an interactive chord ear trainer has all three of these elements and best of all it's free.

Give it a try and tell me what you think of it in the comments below.

See you next time,

Leon Harrell