What is an Ear Trainer? Will It Make Me a Better Musician, Recording Engineer or Sound Man?

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An ear trainer is a system that enables you to hear music and identify the notes chords and keys you are hearing. Take a look at the blog post about perfect pitch and relative pitch. For instance if you wanted to sing a melody right now in the key of F, you could simply start singing and make up the melody, then sit down and write it on a piece of staff paper. So yes, an ear trainer will make you a better musician and singer.

An ear trainer not only teaches you to hear what tone or chord is being played, but to notate the time signature, and the duration of each note, i.e. an eighth note, quarter note, and so on. It simply enhances your musical ability so you can:

Hear a song once and play or sing it without anyone telling you the changes.

Lead your own group and be adept at creating harmonies for singers.

Quiet your mind and have an above average ability to focus, not only on music, but on anything you wish to achieve. You see, music, as has long been known, generates higher intelligence. In study after study its been shown that students who take a music class or play an instrument do better in math.

Music is somewhat derived from math, in fact. If you notice; we identify a time signature with numbers, the length of each note as a fraction. This may seem esoteric, but it points to why people improve in math when they also study music.

In the days before the Internet, an ear trainer was on a cassette tape or you had to work in person with a teacher who would play the intervals for you. This could be very expensive. Now there is ear trainer software, or you can get ear trainer in CD format. You can obtain different packages based on your skill level and which part of ear training you want to focus on. For instance, some software has arpeggios, in which you identify each note in the chord. Some trainers have a feature that allows you to hear a mistake, so if you are continually mistaking an augmented chord for a diminished, for example, you will be able to correct it.

The software or CD can be selected to cover the type of music you make. A jazz based ear trainer would contain jazz sounds, a basic ear trainer would be used by perhaps a rock or country music artist.

There is another type of ear trainer program: A program for recording engineers and producers. Yepp, this is what I´ve been using a lot! Doing ear drills on the bus on my way home from work, with ear phones or while driving my car, or waiting in my studio! I´m not wasting any time;)

These programs train you how to mix music with ease, because they train your ear what to listen for. If you are recording a band with 3 singers, and 5 or 6 instruments, it enables you to easily hear what should be changed in the balance, or “in the mix”.
This will also be highly beneficial if you are a “sound man”, or want to learn to be one. You know, the guy or gal at the concert who is in the back at that big panel with the knobs and levers. The sound person balances everyone on stage so the blend is just right from the first note of the concert to the last.

Ear trainer has lots of uses and you can research various programs on line to find the one or ones that exactly suit your needs, whether singing, playing an instrument, doing the recording or mixing sound live.

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