Ear Training?

I was watching one of Josh’s videos on Ear Training (his older channel). I was really interested, and thought, “Yeah, I can do that! I’ll start out with 3rds and 5ths. Can’t be too bad.”

Uh, well it was harder than I thought. I used the website Josh suggested and I’m at about 84%. I thought, how hard can this be, it’s just a triad, but certain pitches fooled me. I really want to “crush it,” but every time I jump on I get 84%.

Anyone else trying ear training? Any suggestions?


I know some people have used this: Complete Ear Trainer – The ultimate ear training app for musicians

It’s not very expensive, but probably similar to whatever website you are using. I’m trying to work on my bass fundamentals first and then I’ll start on ear training. From what I have read though, it’s harder for an adult to deal with this than a child. Not that we can’t do it. I just think it requires a lot more effort.


Could you post a link please?


I’m guessing this is the video @kwt7667 is referring to?

My best advice - don’t give up!

My second best advice - come up with a melodic reference for each interval. So if you’re working ascending major thirds and perfect fifths, you need to associate a song with each one.

Like, for major third, you could use the first two notes of When The Saints Go Marching In (“Oh when”).

And perfect fifth, you could use “Twinkle twinkle” from the children’s song of that title.

So then when an interval plays, you just try singing the words from both songs and see which fits.

This is a great page for finding songs to match intervals -

Third best advice - try tweaking the exercise! You could try major thirds and minor thirds, or fifths and octaves, just mix it up until you find a successful starting point to build from. And don’t quit!


That’s the one @JoshFossgreen I am definitely going to stick with it. That’s why I posted. I want this, and I want it bad. I have a buddy who grew up learning music (now a professional in voice and accordion), who has perfect pitch. He tells me from time to time, “You practice 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, and some critic calls you ‘gifted’.” His point was, these things can be taught. It may be that I won’t have perfect pitch like he does, but I think I can do intervals.

I can remember years ago when I first started to sing in choir reading music off the page, and that as the season progressed, my sense of intervals improved. I could see the next note, and subliminally I knew the pitch to sing. I just needed the first note of piece to get going. This is a little different, I’m not reading from the page, but attempting to read with my ear. But, I think something’s there, and like you said, don’t give up. It’ll come.


This is a great attitude. It’s really hard for us to break through that barrier nowadays. We get SO MUCH quickly/instantly with the technological revolution that it’s hard to put effort into things that don’t happen overnight. The good side of that though is that we do have access to great resources quickly/instantly. But you still need to put a lot of work into it to make the most of those resources.


Thanks @JT and, you are right nowadays we do seem to expect things instantly. If we just trust the process, we can get there-- eventually. Some more than others, but that’s ok. I’m just going to keep hitting it.

I believe that the ear training is so much more that what it appears to be. I think it can open a whole new world, like a blind man seeing for the very first time. Ear training, music theory, proficiency with the bass – the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. That’s why I want it. I love music, but haven’t been able to make music. I want to get what’s in my head into my hands and throat.

I love this place, and I love this course! So much to learn, and so many folks in here doing their things, sharing.


I’ve been playing music all my life and can pick out tunes on a woodwind instrument without terrific difficulty, so I thought I wouldn’t find ear training too hard. But I do! (When I started, I couldn’t even reliably distinguish a major third from an octave!)

I am using an Android app called Complete Ear Trainer, and it’s pretty great. It’s a weird process because, for each set of intervals you try to distinguish, It seems impossible at first, and there’s no way to progress, and then somehow you get better at it. It’s a mystery.

Here are some results today (from distinguishing among these five intervals) that are WAY better than last week:

Anyone else working on this? How’s it going?


I recently watched Joshs Video on ear training and thought I’d give it a try.
I haven’t done ear training today and yesterday because honestly I spread myself a little thin with all the stuff I started due to bassbuzz/getting in touch with music again and in the middle of the week I still work so I keep it to my main focus of bass and singing.

I have barely started (major 3rd, perfect 5th) and tingle between 79% and 80%
I think it gets better but there are certain ranges I do worse in. Everything that’s close to the actual starting note of the Star Wars theme I get right but once it gets further away from that I have problems because for the major 3rds there is no melody listed that I don’t need to think about. The closest is Kumbaya but I noticed that I just shift it to the notes I hear because I don’t know it that well.
Also if my ears don’t betray me I have more problems when it starts with flat notes than full (?) notes.


Yes, I’m with you on Kumbaya. The other big one is When the Saints Go Marching In, but even though I’m from New Orleans, it’s not any better.


As a German the first time I heard that tune while being aware of it was in the video when Josh was singing it.
Maybe I’ll try and look for a major 3rd tune that works for me. Just gotta think about a method how to find out because obviously listening for it doesn’t work (yet).

Okay. I couldn’t sleep without looking it up. A list of the intervals from a german brass music club: http://www.bvbw-biberach.de/fileadmin/user_upload/downloads/D-Lehrgaenge/Liedanfaenge_Intervalle.pdf

Major 3rd: Alle Vöglein sind schon da
Something every German child knows. I will see tomorrow if that helps me with my success rate.

Also reminded me of a reason why I disliked ear training in music class in school. It wasn’t just ear training it was also translating from latin numbers for intervals.


That’s great that you found a song that might work! I do find I have to sing the interval most of the time. My voice understands more about intervals than my ear does. Right now, for the five intervals I’m working on, I’ll sing it back and try to feel whether I’m singing Greensleeves, Kumbaya, Here Comes the Bride, Star Wars, or Somewhere over the Rainbow.


Sooo I don’t think it was the new song I found but I have improved compared to yesterday.
The singing would not help me because I tend to sing higher than I hear.

What personally helped me is to actually imagine the notes visually on a music sheet. It’s a bit fuzzy because my hearing obviously isn’t that precise but trying to visualise the sound and where it would go on the sheet helped me up to 88% with some avoidable errors made by being too hasty.


The improving is somewhat mysterious, isn’t it? Particularly because it seems to happen entirely between sessions! What are our brains doing overnight??


That’s my! I thought I was alone!


Sehr Interressant!


Major breakthrough today! After days of struggling with seemingly no progress, today I finally passed the harmonic m3/M3 level of Complete Ear Trainer, where you have to distinguish the intervals played harmonically (meaning, both notes played at the same time) vs melodically (one note followed by the other), which I got down a couple of weeks ago.

I complained about it on Facebook when I was stuck, and a friend who is a professional flute player and music professor asked whether I could sing a chromatic scale up to P5. She said it would help, so I’ve been working on that too (using my bass or a tuning app as a reference). It’s fun to work on hard stuff!


I slacked a bit with my ear training. A lot of singing practice though so maybe it will help too. I noticed that by now I hear better by myself when I’m off key.

Will try the interval ear training later and will see if it got better with my singing practice and vocal exercises :slight_smile:


I think this is key to ear training. I think my tonal memory is reinforced when I sing the note. I do intervals all the time in choir, but I haven’t really taken the time to recognize the notes ( that’s E, going to G…and so forth). I’ve spent the years seeing intervals and singing them without identifying them…to my disservice I am afraid. And it’s a waste too, because I sing on the bass clef; I should take advantage of that.

Put another way, I haven’t been mapping the tones to the names of notes and the names of intervals.


I definitely “do” most of the ear training by singing. I can much more easily distinguish intervals by singing them than just by hearing them. Kind of mysterious.