The Ear-Brain Connection

If you’re reading this, you long ago trained the connection between your eyes and your brain so you could read English, which is the foundation for other language skills like writing. You can also train the ear-brain connection to better play and appreciate music. Having a well-trained musical ear makes the process of learning new music – even written music – much easier and faster. A strong musical ear is essential for becoming a proficient musician. And it is indispensable for learning how to improvise well, or for composing music.

Musical Ear Skills

Here are 10 reasons to train your musical ear (and there are probably others). Each of these reasons is also a specific skill:

  1. You will be able to hear and know intervals (the distance between two tones). This is a foundation for many of the other ear skills.
  1. You’ll be able to hear and know what chords are being played. Helps you learn faster, and appreciate music more.
  1. You’ll be able to play what you hear in your head. An essential skill for improvising or composing. 
  1. You’ll know instantly when you’ve made a mistake because your ear is sharp enough to catch it. By avoiding the possibility that you’ll practice a wrong note over and over, this speeds up your progress. 
  1. You’ll be able to duplicate something that you’ve just played or heard. Essential for composing or learning a specific style by listening to a recording. 
  1. You’ll be able to quickly pick up a “rhythmic feel” of a piece or style. This is helpful when playing solo, and even more helpful when playing with others. 
  1. You’ll gain the ability to listen to a piece of music and learn it (“playing by ear”). This is an invaluable skill that too few musicians possess. 
  1. You’ll be able to transpose a piece of music instantly to another key. This is a high-level skill that is particularly useful in jazz or when working with singers. 
  1. You’ll be able to hear, understand, and appreciate the complexities of any piece of music (for example, hearing other more subtle melodies occurring simultaneously). Essential for appreciating music and inspiring yourself to keep playing.
  1. You’ll impress your friends and family by being able to do any or all of these things! 

Is that enough reasons?

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