Practicing ear training exercises can sometimes be difficult without a teacher, family member or friend assisting. However, help is not always readily available. That makes preparing for a practical music examination challenging, especially for a young musician.
Ear training exercises recorded on a CD are somewhat helpful but can only be used for a limited time (until the student memorizes the order of the questions).
Thanks to the Internet, there are several interactive and dynamic ear training websites available for musicians to use during their music practice. The following list is just a sampling of what is available with a brief overview of each site.
Online Ear Training Websites
In Ricci Adams' Musictheory.net, Adams' has developed a comprehensive online theory and ear training aid. Under the "Trainers" tab, musicians can choose from three ear training exercises: Interval Ear Trainer, Chord Ear Trainer and Scale Ear Trainer. Users can customize which elements to be tested on, choose harmonic or melodic intervals and decide whether or not to include chord inversions. The Trainers keep track of your score and users can check the report to see which elements require more work. The website also includes flash tutorials under the "Lessons" section for a theory refresher and staff paper under the "Utilities" section.
Inside Music Lessons
Inside Music Lessons (formerly Practicespot.com) contains a wealth of ideas and tools for music teachers and students to use. Under the "Free Tools" section, students can use the Rhythm Gym to "clap-back" exercises and download cheat sheets to help with identifying intervals and chords.
Practice rhythmic dictation, identify scales and chords by ear and practice clap-back exercises online under the "Free Theory Drills" section or download the eMusicTheory software program. The site contains a student portal, a teacher portal and discussion forum. There are also pages to help with fingering (for string and keyboard instruments).
The Good Ear website contains a wide variety of ear training drills, ranging from Beginner to Advanced exercises. Music students and professionals alike can practice identifying intervals, chords, cadences, scales, jazz chords and perfect pitch. The site also contains a drill to practice note location or geography.
I Was Doing all Right is a jazz blog that contains an online ear training program. Under the "Search" window, click on the "Ear Trainer v2.0" link to use the free online ear training tool. Users can choose from practicing intervals, chords, melody play-back and rhythms. What is advantageous about this site is that listeners can specify which note direction, inversions and specify melody length. For a student preparing for an upcoming examination, this is the most comprehensive ear training tool on the list.
Online Ear Training Resources – Just the Tip of the Iceberg
Music students, music teachers and professional musicians can benefit from practicing ear training on a regular basis. Each of these websites listed contain a variety of drills and tools to aid musicians develop a "good ear" and help students improve their ear training mark on an exam. There are other sites out there, like musicalhearing.com and ossmann.com's Big Ears program. Explore the many sites available and choose what sites work best for one's ear training and music practice needs.
For more information on practicing music, read Five Free Music Websites to Improve Note Reading, How Much Practice is Required to Learn Piano at Different Levels? and Motivating Students to Practice.
Originally published December 22, 2009 on Suite101.com. Updated on March 22, 2013. All rights reserved by Rhona-Mae Arca.