Katy, 11, is typical of many pupils learning a musical instrument. She practised hard at her pieces, scales and sight-reading, and earned herself a merit in her Grade 4 Associated Board Piano Examination – but the low score on her aural test meant she narrowly missed gaining a Distinction level mark.
We set about looking at the different Ear Training Software available, and she is now spending time working on her aural test skills, and enjoying a different learning environment at the same time – she has set herself the challenge of improving her aural test score when she takes her grade 5!
This is a review of the Ear Training Software available, by ability
Ear Training Software for Beginners
image – Music Ace 1 Music Making Software For Children
Music Ace 1 Music Making Software For Children and Music Ace 2 are tried and tested products that are absolutely excellent pieces of Ear Training Software, and for teaching a range of other skills besides those needed for Aural Tests. The music theory games are excellent, and the software also works on pitch recognition, rhythm, harmony etc. Children enjoy the fun environment. Although Katy is probably becoming a little advanced now for this software, she has really enjoyed playing the games, gaining high scores has given her confidence, and she is also fond of the Doodle Pad – a utility which enables you to create your own compositions. Music Ace Deluxe – combines Music Ace 1 and 2 into one deluxe good value package for much less than the price of the two combined.
Ear Training Software for Beginners to all levels
image – EarMaster Pro 6 Ear Training Software + Sight-Singing
More expensive, but more comprehensive is the Earmaster Pro Software and Earmaster Essential software. This covers a range of skills, including melody dictation, intervals, rhythm reading and imitation, chord identification, scales and modes, etc. You can interact with the software using a microphone, and/or MIDI keyboard, or just the computer keyboard. EarMaster also includes an advanced Tutor that will challenge and develop your musical ear. The EarMaster Pro Tutor has up to 60 lessons for each exercise area. All lessons are developed by a leading Danish ear training professor. He will guide you through the lessons and give you a short description of each lesson with tips and hints, and he challenges both trained and untrained ears as he will increase the difficulty of the exercises as your ear improves.
Ear Training Software for Beginners to Advanced
Auralia 4 Ear Training Software (Windows+ Mac)
Our most complete ear-training software for all musicians is Auralia 4 Ear Training Software Student Edition (from Sibelius). Although more expensive, this software can save hours of teaching time, thus making it excellent value for money in the long term, and it also covers all levels from beginner to advanced, and all grades from 1 to 8, and even University level. There are hundreds of exercises in 26 topics, with loads of on-screen reference information and automatic marking. Auralia 4 Ear Training Software Student Edition has been designed for classical, jazz and rock/pop students, with special exercises on jazz/contemporary scales, chords and progressions, as well as the core classical skills that are essential for the Associated Board Exam Aural Tests.
Ear Training Software really can help. Katy is currently working through the Earmaster Essentials, but will soon be ready to move on to Auralia. She really enjoys being able to go and work on the skills herself, and receive feedback on her progress. Compared with the price of private music lessons, and given the difficulty of acquiring the skills you need to do really well in Aural Tests, we believe all these Ear Training Software packages are an excellent investment – whether you decide to spend £20 or £100.