Music Theory and Ear Training Lessons

Music Theory and Ear Training

Aside from gaining performance insight and knowledge from real life experiences, studying theory and ear training with a professional and experienced musician is a  great resource for singers, guitarists, pianists, songwriters, and any musician interested in understanding not just the how but also the why of music.

Developing your ear is essential to your growth as a musician. Whether you are just playing for fun by yourself, if you are wanting to get together with some friends and jam, or if you want to be a professional musician, ear training is crucial. Many people think, “Either you got it or you don’t,” when it comes to having a good ear. It is true some people are born with perfect pitch, but that’s not most people…and it’s certainly not most musicians.

Musicians have spent a lot of time working on their ears’ ability to discern the components of music. Having “big ears” is a skill that can be learned and honed over time, just like anything else.   There is a method and linear approach to ear training, and when it is coupled with music theory, look out! These skills open up a whole new world of  appreciating and experiencing, performing, understanding, creating and communicating the language of music.

  • Intervalic relationships and pitch recognition
  • scales/modes
  • keys and tonicizations/modulations
  • triads (major, minor, diminished and augmented)
  • chord inversions and chord extensions
  • harmony, chord progressions and chord function
  • rhythm and time signatures (Yes, that’s you singers!)
  • transcription
  • form/structure
  • parts, arranging, counterpoint
  • Notating chord charts/lead sheets and the Nashville Number System

Students who take these lessons gain a fuller understanding of how great musicians, performers and songwriters improve their craft, and how they can use these same processes, skills and musical “rules” to their advantage. These skills help students, performers and songwriters improve their individual skills and work more efficiently in an ensemble.


Shane gives a detailed explanation of ear training in this blog post.