I have read plenty of different questions related to ear training, even way more answers, but I'm still struggling to obtain a clear-cut answer (provided that it exists). I have taken up on singing lessons a few years ago and although my technique is considered to be very decent during the exercises (it has been confirmed by a few teachers) I kinda fall to transpose these right feelings to singing songs. I have started playing piano a year ago and have a long guitar experience of about 8 years. At some point I thought it might my hearing that stops me from making a progress I expect to see, so eversince I have been trying to pay more attention to that. Here's what I tried:

  • Singing notes, intervals (repeating! vocally) – I play a note (or intervals) on the piano and then try to sing (repeat) it. I think it works quite well.
  • Comparing intervals – this is what made me think that maybe my hearing is not as good as it should be! Even though I can compare two notes right off the bat and so it is with simple intervals like m2 and M2 I somehow struggle when it comes to, for instance, m3 and M3; my score on an Android app PerfectEar2 is 70/210 what means I am right (whether it is m3 or M3) in ~67% of cases. I have tried using songs as references but I'm not sure this is the way I want to go, as this method doesn't really involve the "context" of an interval, colour and many things that are intrinsic for (for?) a complex approach. I wonder if it makes any sense to keep on guessing and keep my fingers crossed that after one million of attempts I will have made a progress?
  • Functional Ear Trainingteaches you to recognize a scale degree in context to the tonic of a chord progression. I haven't really spent much time on it, but what do you think? Is it a promising method?
  • Transcripting music – mainly melodic lines so as to learn how to sing a song properly. Nowadays I rarely practice it that way, maybe it is worth to dredge it up.

To all who have come through this – a big shoutout. Now here comes my question – could you please give me any piece of advice on how to practice? What should I do? I'd be really grateful.

  • Do you have a list of song beginnings referring to every interval? Did you compose your own short melodies for each interval? Then you should like you propose continue with your 3rd and 4th idea. Apr 27, 2020 at 15:08
  • Yeah, a have a list, but I have't composed such melodies.
    – thesecond
    Apr 27, 2020 at 15:14
  • So you can try this too, short eight bars phrases, rhythmical variations containing the same interval (e.g. the dim. 5th.) Apr 27, 2020 at 15:17

1 Answer 1


You are on the right pathway. Functional training and transcribing or even composing your own music is the best way for ear training.

Additional to this good method you can choose two-part pieces like inventions, fugues, canons playing one voice and singing the other one.

Finally my most successful practice and secret tip was the training with the movable doremi (solfege) combined with functional training:

E.g resolving V7-I, especially the dim 7th chords, the augmented 5th triad and all kind of German-, French-, Italian sixth chords.

  • Thanks a lot @Albrecht Hügli! If you could, please tell me whether it makes sense to compare intervals just in the tedious way, with no songs references, just learning the differences by repeating exercises over and over again? I am capable of doing it, I mean I won't get bored or disappointed provided that it gives positive results someday.
    – thesecond
    Apr 27, 2020 at 19:07
  • If you listen to intervals like a chord trying to characterize the impression, categorizing by the tension, consonance, dissonance, you’ll have an alternativ approach of learning and ear training. This makes absolutely sense! Song references are just a help and compensation if the differentiation of the direct way doesn’t work. Apr 27, 2020 at 19:41

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