Music is obviously about sound, so training our ears to recognize common note and chord combinations is an important skill to have. In this ear training for guitar lessons we will learn how to train our ears, and how that applies to the neck of the guitar. One of the most important aspects of good musicianship is having a good ear. This includes skills such as sight-singing, aural recognition, and the ability to play by ear. Playing by ear is the ability to play or sing a piece of music which one has heard without ever seeing it written down.
Ear training for guitar is something that is extremely valuable but hard to acquire. We cannot train our ear by just reading. It requires that we can hear the differences in sounds. After we play a while our ear develops more and more. This is not something that we can learn instantly, but there are ways to help us hear
things better. As a guitarists, there are certain things that most of us do that are simply part of the program: we learn some scales, develop some exercises intended to improve our physical abilities, work on chord forms on different parts of the neck, etc. it is extremely important to put aside some time dedicated solely to focusing on ear training. There are still a great many ways to develop your ears, in the quest to strengthen the connection between our head and our fingers.
One of the easiest ways to begin working on ear training is to sing what we play. For example, we can play a C major scale (C D E F G A B) in any position — preferably one that is physically comfortable for us—and sing each note of the scale as we play it, being very careful to sing on pitch as accurately as possible. Start with one note: play the note, sing it and then play and sing the note simultaneously. Then go to two notes. Once we feel comfortable, take a little piece of that scale, say, the notes C, D, E and F, and create a very simple melody with these notes for us to sing simultaneously. This is an easy way to get our ear in sync with the sounds our fingers are creating. Whether we’re soloing over a rhythmic vamp or are playing alone in free time, we have to really stick with it, and don’t allow ourselves to slip up or drift into something else. The idea is to endlessly improvise and sing what we are playing, using any key.
We could never overstate the importance of a musician’s need to develop his or her ear. Actually, we believe that developing a good “inner ear” — the art of being able to decipher musical components solely through listening — is the most important element in becoming a good musician. If you work on this every day, we’ll find ourselves getting better and better at it, and it will become easier to do. The cool thing that happens is that we’ll begin to hear music more clearly in your head, allowing us to formulate musical ideas—write music—within our head, without the aid of a guitar. When we finally do pick up the instrument, we will discover that we will instinctively be able to play these ideas that have taken form in our mind.