Title says it all. Should I practice scales while I play the notes on an instrument, trying to match pitch, or should I sing them without an instrument, but with an app which tracks my pitch so that I can see whether I'm in tune?

Which is better for ear-training purposes?

2 Answers 2


Both are useful. The instrument will put you in a more real musical situation. But it can be very instructive to sing to a tuner and see both if you're hitting the right note and how long it takes you to stabilize on it.

Don't just do scales. Extend through chords into free sight-singing from notation.


There aren't many situations when you will actually be singing acapella, and if you ever do, in a real situation, there's a good chance your pitch may wander a little - lots of singer's does. But who will notice anyway? Do it once in a while, but most of the time, you'll end up singing with an instrument or two, so that is a good way to practise. Maybe play chords under the voice rather than merely banging out the notes you're supposed to sing. As Laurence says, scales is only part of the regime. Chords of all sorts, not only major and minor triads, differing intervals in all keys, and learn to sight sing, giving yourself a start note only for a bit of acapella, then check after a couple of bars or so initially for pitch.

Another valuable thing to practise is singing along to an existing song, turn down the sound, and carry on singing. Not only does that check your pitch, which will most likely be fine, but also timing - the difficult part...

  • 1
    A capella is not uncommon. The exercises we're discussing will help you keep in pitch when singing a capella.
    – Laurence
    May 26, 2017 at 21:19

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