Getting Started With Some Easy Ear Training Exercises

basic ear trainingEver want to learn songs? If the answer is an obvious yes, you may be curious as to how it’s done. All those tabs on Ultimate Guitar were made by someone, right?

If you want to improve your bass playing, the best way to start is by getting serious about your playing. Serious musicians know the importance of ear training in bass guitar. Ear training allows you to recognize notes and intervals by ear, as well as decipher keys and scales.

Not only is this an invaluable skill, but nearly everyone can learn it. It just takes a little time, patience, and a whole lot of practice. In this article, we’ll give you some exercises that will allow you to make the best use of all three things.

Exercise 1: Note Recognition

Learning your notes is half of the battle.

The best way to get a jump start on your note learning is by singing.

That’s right, singing. You don’t have to be very good, or even a little bit good; all that matters is reaching the desired note. Take for instance your low E. Play it. Chances are, if you are Joe Shmoe, you won’t be able to hit the E. It may sound like you have in your head, but our voices sound different in our heads than they do outside of them. If you have hit the note, it is most likely that you’ve hit an octave of it.

That’s okay. In fact, it is more thank okay; it’s superb. The octave of a note is still the same note. Thus you are still learning the note E by sound.

When you practice your bass scales, sing out the note names as you play them. Allow yourself to match the pitch. Don’t stop short; no matter how long it takes, keep reaching for the note. As we said earlier; you don’t have to be a good singer to hit a note. This columnist is actually an awful singer, and yet I can yet every note and recognize them in any context.

Exercise 2: Interval Recognition

beginner aural lessonsWe are going to be honest; intervals are a bit harder.

This is because in order to begin learning your intervals by ear, you have to play them on your bass. In order to fully recognize them, you’ll need to quiz yourself using a free online interval quiz.


You want to make sure you aren’t just recognizing the difference of note spacing on the fret board, but that you are learning the difference in sound.

This may seem basic, but you would be surprised at how many musicians get so caught up with their fret board that they become lost without it. This isn’t ear training; it’s sight training. You are training yourself to see the intervals on your fret board. This won’t help you at all once you are in the car or at the office.

Exercise 3: Practice

What a drag, right?


It’s the only way that you will be able to properly train your ear, so you better get to it.

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