Testing ear site

Has anyone tried the exercises on this site? They seem pretty useful to me. Ear tests

Hi Neil, I have tried this site in the past, and while it seemed like an OK place to test what you already know, for me it did nothing to teach me to hear the sounds better. That is, it tested my ear but it didn’t teach my ear.

Here’s my suggestion to you:

  1. Watch this video by David Reed on the Improvise for Real tonal approach to ear training. https://improviseforreal.com/ifr-blog/practice-tips/developing-your-ear/qa-intervals-vs-tonal-ear-training

  2. Then watch this video showing how IFR can ultimately take you to getting yourself oriented by ear in a song and improvising from there: https://improviseforreal.com/ifr-blog/practice-tips/developing-your-ear/ifr-video-demonstration-finding-key-music-ear To me, this is my goal, hear a song being played live, and be able to play along with it. And I think the collection of IFR exercises and supporting materials that David Reed has put together will get me there over time. How much time is a factor of how deeply and mindfully I can do the practice each day.

My experience is that the IFR Sing the Numbers 1 & 2 materials actually teach you to hear and identify the tonal sounds if you can’t do so already. While they are not free materials, they are worth a lot more than they cost.

You might be in a completely different situation than me. But my experience was that I tried lots of ear training methods, and nothing worked for me. That is, until I bought the IFR Sing the Numbers materials, and worked through them as recommended.

I hope you find what you are looking for.


Agreed on all your points. I too have used the two Sing The Numbers courses with a lot of success. I use the “long walk in the woods” approach and just frighten the rabbits.

The courses purposely don’t give you any tests, and I like that. However, every now then it is fun to see how you are doing. The site I mentioned looks good for that, but as you say, doesn’t help with teaching.

I have certainly found I am recognising notes and chord progressions much more when listening casually to music. Things like “Oh! That was a flat7 chord to the 1” Here is the first song I ever heard it in, but I didn’t know it was the flat 7 at the time. https://youtu.be/yKYRWzudQ14

I’ve pretty much given up the idea of trying to test myself on recognizing tones. Here’s a long explanation why…

David Reed says somewhere that IFR will teach me over time to recognize sounds “like they are old friends.” If something is as familiar as an old friend then I don’t need a test to prove to myself that I can recognize that friend. I just know the face immediately. No sweat.

Of course, I’m not there yet. And I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t need a test to prove to myself that I’m not there yet. I already know I’m not there yet.

I expect that with consistent IFR practice I will wake up one day and just be able to recognize the sounds flawlessly, with no effort. Being impatient before that time, I think, will not make it happen any faster or any better for me.

Now, I continue to be interested in techniques that will help me along the path of recognizing sounds like old friends, I just don’t think anymore that tests are a big part of it for me.


Do you practice improvising the numbers without an instrument or backing track? That has been the most effective technique for me to consolidate recognising the numbers. One approach has been particularly good for me - singing the chord tones for each 4 note chord one after the other or as typical progressions like 1 6 2 5 or . I am also working on doing it silently, but that is harder.

Thanks for those ideas. I’ve been doing some but not all of those myself. I’ll work more on chord tones.

I have found an odd thing with my brain. Learning to sing the numbers has somehow mixed in the sound of the numerals. That is, the actual words. I can recognize a sound as " the word two" better than just the sound alone… So now I’m also including “just singing the tones” as “La” Making some progress. The brain is a wonderful but very odd thing the way it learns stuff.

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I absolutely recognise that! :smiley:

And that!

Nor me. It seemed odd to me at first but part of the ‘fun challenge’ aspect of Sing the Numbers (& even more so Feel the Numbers, where there’s not even a voiced number to cross reference against) is that the only person deciding if I ‘got that right’ is me!

That said, there is one test I use on a pretty regular basis, it was part of a Musical-U course I did & involves identifying intervals from a limited set of choices. It’s interesting as a sort of ruler to check against. Both that and STN / FTN ‘self-assessment’ tell me I am making progress. Oh so slow, but progress nonetheless. :slight_smile:

I assume that’s intentional at least in the ‘sound to number’ direction?

A thing that should have told me years ago that I wasn’t tone deaf is that I spot bits of tunes within other tunes. A couple of days ago, for the first time ever I thought ‘hey, I’m sure that’s a 5 1’, for a small repeated motif (in the middle of a piece) that I’d have previously described as ‘like the start of Simple Gifts’. I rate that as progress. :slight_smile:

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Just had that too. I noticed the melody in the background music going 5 1 without actively listening for it. I was really excited haha! It’s probably from singing a lot of 135 for the third week of Mireia’s course.