Hearing improvement or ear training as a subject and its techniques can be traced back centuries throughout history. We can say that all musicians are training their ears constantly, whether or not they are aware of it. Also, If you are listening to the piece of music and imagining how to play it or trying to distinguish what keys or chords are played at individual instruments like bass, piano in a song, then ear training occurs.
One of the most important aspects of being a good musician is the ability to develop good and trained hearing. This can further be described solely as an art of deciphering musical components just with the help of listening. Besides that ear training can be of great and used to benefit in other aspects like memory, self confidence, developing your ability to improvise and exercising your voice and intonation.
Given these points, I will try to point out 5 effective tips on how to train your hearing.
1. Active listening
The first step of training your ears is pointed to ability to distinguish different sounds in your environment. Try to close your eyes and start listening to the sounds that are surrounding you. Ask yourself what do your hear. Try to distinguish low from high pitched sounds. Listen to people talking if your are in some cafe or restaurant for example. Try listening to sounds of machines, footsteps and so on. By doing so you will be able to enhance your aural skills and this is the first important step.
2. Take the rhythm as guidance
Most of the people are thinking that the sense of rhythm is something that some of us have or don’t have by birth. Yes, the truth is that some people have more sense of rhythm than others. However, this ability can be also trained and therefore improved. One of the easiest ways to improve your rhythmic skills is simply by listening to your favorite song and then trying to transcribe the rhythm of the drums or repeating synth sequence by tapping it on your knees.
3. Sing the notes you’re playing
For this you will need any kind of instrument that is properly tuned. Let’s take a guitar for this example. You could try to play a standard Major scale ( C,D,E,F,G,A,B ) and sing each note of the scale as you play it. Try to sing on pitch as accurately as possible. Play one note at the time and repeat it over and over until you match the pitch with your voice.
4. Listen to different genres of music
As you already know, the world that we are living in is consisted of various different cultures and regions. In that sense, music that is developed in Asia differs from the music originated from the West. Asian musical scale is often based around a five note scale. On the other hand, modern Western music is characterized by a eight note scale. By practicing the above steps and applying it to different genres of music, you will improve your hearing even more over time.
5. Money spent on musical classes with a professional is money well spent
Professional musicians that are offering tutorship have years of experience in tuning instruments, personal ear training and hitting the pitches in order to create best possible music piece. Working with such a person will be of additional help in perfecting your hearing.