How to Become a Better Music Listener


Some people are labeled as ‘having an ear for music.’ These are people who can listen to a song only once and play it on the guitar. There is much more to this than talent. Such people have well developed listening skills. Whether they developed the skill by default or by deliberate effort, they can tell different keys, notes, melodies, chord progressions and other musical elements better than the average music listener. Being a good music listener makes you appreciate music better and makes you a better performer too. How can you develop an ear for music?

Listen to listen

This is where you make a deliberate effort to listen to the individual elements of the song.  This will tell you what is happening on the song. You can dissect the song better by answering questions like what is being played on the keyboard, is it piano, or strings. What is the tone of the electric guitar, and what kind of amp and guitar is being used? What is the arrangement of the instruments?  Write all this down and go over the song again once or twice before confirming with software.

Transcribe the music

Transcription of a song helps you dissect it better. You can use software like Transcribe which helps you move the song forwards, backwards or loop so that you get all the elements you need.  If you have an ipad, there is a handy application called Anytune to make your work vastly easier.

Use Ear trainers

Ear training with software can improve your aural skills faster. There are free and paid sites and applications that you can use depending on the tools and features you need. You can try out a free application like to decide what you want before moving on to the paid programs.

Copy what you hear

If you think you have all the elements right, pick up an instrument and copy what you heard.  The guitar is a favorite tool for starters. You can do it better if you create chord charts.  Do not aim at perfection but try as much as you can and work at it.

Go to class

Taking music lessons can help you appreciate what it makes to make the music. Music classes will give you the skills to tell apart musical instruments, chords, notes and so on. If you are a musician it will make your skills better.  Musical lessons will give you a lifelong ability that will change the way you enjoy the most beautiful thing in the world.