One of the most important skills for a musician is ear training. But for some people, it can take a very long time to get their ears to a professional level.
Whether you want to perform live shows, record in the studio, compose, or improvise, you need to have good ears—a functional ear. And to get good ears, you need to develop certain fundamental skills in the best way possible.
In this post, I reviewed 2 of the best ear training apps, so that you can level-up your ears and relative pitch in the shortest amount of time.
Let’s get to the list.
What Are the Best Ear Training Apps?
Here are my picks for the best ear training apps to use this year.
There are a few factors I’ve taken into consideration:
- Ease of use: If there’s too much friction when using the app, you simply won’t continue using it. Making noticeable progress with your music ear practice is all about consistency.
- Sound Quality: If the audio samples are poor in quality or abrasive to the ears, you’re not going to enjoy practicing and your skill level will plateau.
- Comprehensive: A good ear is so much more than just being able to identify ascending and descending intervals. Understanding the music theory behind the sounds can help guide the ear. And, a complete variety of chord, scale, and pitch sounds to practice hearing are a must.
- Progress Tracking: Peter Drucker, a management consultant, is often quoted for saying, “If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Improve It.” I weighed in each app’s ability to keep track of progress. Keeping track of progress with each exercise will help you find opportunities that can be improved.
- Portability: Since consistent practice is the key to making quick progress, it’s great if the app offered both a desktop and mobile version.
- Instrument sounds: Ideally, the app should have a different instrument sounds, like a piano, synth, violin, saxophone or guitar.
Best All-In-One Ear Training App
EarMaster is a great ear training app that provides a complete all-in-one music ear training platform for both individuals and schools. In my personal experience, this is the best ear training ear training app there is.
Every type of exercise for developing a good ear can be performed with EarMaster. From learning to hear the scale degree, to hearing different chord qualities, this app is perfect for the beginner and also pro musicians looking to maintain their skills. EarMaster is a complete ear trainer software and functional ear trainer.
This includes interval identification, functional chord progressions, cadence identification, rhythm workshops that help to improve your timing with sight-reading music notation, chord quality practice like chord identification, hearing a particular scale or mode, singing pitch, music theory, sight-singing, melodic dictation, and more.
If you’re looking for an ear training app that can help you become better at playing by ear, provides a comprehensive list of ear training exercises, allows you to fully customize your training, and level up your aural skills, then Ear Master is for you.
What I Love About EarMaster
My favorite part is the results and statistics tool that can be used to track your problem areas. This is a great feature that can be used to create a custom lesson or drill on a tough chord, interval, scale, or rhythm.
You’ll learn much faster this way.
With complete features included in their licenses, EarMaster is one of the most used and popular apps for ear training in the market.
I highly recommend this product.
- Jazz exercises section will teach your ear to hear and learn different chord qualities, functional chord progressions, and rhythmic sight reading.
- Multiple choices for your primary instrument preset, between piano, guitar, bass, violin, cello, mandolin, and banjo.
- General workshop section provides the best drills for any type of musician that is learning how to hear chords, scales, progressions, and more.
- The app can evaluate your singing pitch and rhythmic accuracy from musical notation. I haven’t come across any other app that can responds to voice as well as this one.
- Artificial intelligence will stop a lesson early if you’re doing well, and extended it if you’re struggling. It’s like having a personal ear trainer.
- Any lesson is fully customizable.
- I’ve been using EarMaster since 2013 when it was version 6. And now, they’re on 7. Their developers are always working on making this a better product. So many apps I tried in the past died after a couple years. This one is here to stay. It’s literally the most comprehensive ear training app in the market that allows you to focus on specific areas that you want to improve.
- Available for Windows OS, macOS, iOS, Android, and Chromebook devices.
- I’d like to see more functional chord progressions added to the jazz lessons section in the near future.
- It’d be nice if the primary instrument preset also had the option for other sounds, like synth, saxophone, or ukulele.
Best Musical Ear Training App
Reel Ear has the most unique and musical ear trainer apps I’ve ever come across.
In the website, there are different web apps for learning to hear melody, arpeggios, harmony, and microtones.
However, I’ve been particularly using the Melody Ear Training app since 2012 when the app was in early development.
I still love it to this day and highly recommend this product to be used alongside your other ear training apps available today.
What I Love About ReelEar
With ReelEar, you won’t find quizzes. Instead, you’ll find a range of exercises that are fully customizable and play music phrases based on any scale or mode that you choose.
The phrases are generated when you hit the play button and then played time. Space is given after each phrase for you to play or sing the phrase back.
This is call-and-response and I have never seen any other app do this as well as ReelEar, which makes this one of the best ear training tools on the market.
Call-and-response is at the top of the list of musical skills needed for an improvising musician. Any musician can benefit from this kind of training.
- You can customize the app to play any scale, chord, or mode.
- This is the only app I’ve come across that teaches via aural call-and-response.
- Huge sound bank to choose from.
- App exists on the cloud. So, if you have an internet connection, you can log into your account and access these apps on any device with a supported browser.
- Since the phrases are played in real time, your ear will learn phrase identification at a much faster pace.
- If you want to learn how to play what you hear, this is the app for just that.
- The interface has a lot of options. At first, this can seem overwhelming.
- There isn’t voice recognition or any sort of feedback loop to tell you if you are right or wrong. These are mainly trainer type of apps.
- There aren’t clear lessons for you to follow. So, you’ll need to already understand the purpose of the app’s design and know what you want to have the trainer do before hand.
Developing a professional ear as a musician takes more than just being able to identify music intervals. Beginner and advanced musicians can all benefit from ear training.
While your music intervals are the fundamental building blocks of having a good ear, being able to play the notes back in time is probably the most important skill.
Wether you play piano or guitar, these 2 ear training apps, EarMaster and Reel Ear, are a crucial combination of lessons and exercises for taking your ear to the next level.