8 Ear training and Music theory channels to follow!

Ear training in today’s world is just great! Its so easy to get started and there are just so many great content creators that really know their stuff. Here are my favorite ear training and music theory content creators! The list is in no particular order!

Aimee Nolte Music

Aimee Nolte is just a breath of fresh ear! She´s a Jazz musician from LA that makes great content on all things music. She´s a great singer and an excellent piano player.

Fun fact, she also has perfect pitch.

Check out her channel, Aimee Nolte Music

Adam Neely

Adam Neely has over the last year become sort of an ear training rock star! He posts new videos every Monday exploring what music means.

He also shares a lot of his experiences working as a musician!
Check out his Youtube Channel

Rick Beato

If you’re interested in music theory or is fascinated by perfect pitch, you have probably seen the viral video of his son Dylan! This was how I first come across Rick Beato.

Rick is an incredibly talented musician and has worked as a producer with various bands in the rock and country genres for many years!

He has an extremely good grasp of music theory and has some great content on his channel.
Check out his channel

12Tone

12Tone creates great music theory content with fast pace videos that are just great if you’re looking to get your daily fix.

He has created many videos on famous songs where he breaks down the music theory behind the songs!

He really takes his time with the videos so check him out and if you like his channel you should go support his Patreon !
Check out his channel

8-bit Music Theory

8-bit music theory is a channel that explores music in video games(as the name might suggest to you)!

The videos are great, long and fast paced! 8-bit music theory have videos on the themes from all your favorite Nintendo games!
Check out his channel!

Sideways

Sideways is one of those hidden gems! His videos are a bit ranty at times but oh boy do I enjoy a good rant!

You might have come across one of his viral videos where he talks about “How PIXAR makes us cry” in the video he brings up some really good point on some harmonic presuppositions most of us have.
Check out his channel!

Jeff Schneider!

He has a masters in Jazz composition and arranging from UMASS Amherst. He plays Sax the sexiest instrument of them all!

His channel covers a wide range of music theory. If you’re into jazz music or music with a jazzy feel(Sorry Aimee for using the word) you will love Jeff Schneiders channels

Check out his channel!

Nahre Sol

Nahre Sol creates beautiful content and I mean beautiful. Her videos are stunning both visually and aurally! She is also a classical pianist so I have a soft spot for her! Her channel is the most under-appreciated channel on this list so go show her some love!

Check out her channel!

Am I tone deaf!?

As I run a pretty large Ear Training App, I get messages from people from all over the world. A while back I got an email from this dude from Poland asking if I had any tips for him. He told me that he felt left behind in the ear training classes at his school and that he thought he was tone deaf. This was my response to him!

Don´t be afraid to sing

Ear training can be a very daunting thing and can be very frightening especially if you’re not confident in your ear!

I was actually one of does guys, and to this day I don’t think that I have the best ear in the world, but thanks to a very good understanding of music theory and a whole lot of ear training I can play most songs by ear fairly quickly.

One of the best tips I can give you is to don’t be afraid to sing. Singing requires a lot of active listening so it’s a great way to develop your ear. This comes from a guy that hates singing and never sings in public. If you don’t like to sing in front of people just do it when you’re alone!

 

You don´t NEED a “good” ear to play good music!

If you think you are tone deaf(which I don’t believe) you could still become a very fairly good musician just by knowing your theory! As long as you have a sense of what good music is and others generally agree with you, I think you can play music basically just by knowing your music theory!

If you struggle with intonation you could always download a guitar tuner to your phone and practice going up intervals and steps and it would probably help you. I’m just a terrible singer myself, but practicing with a tuner will definitely help you with intonation!

 

Become an active listener

Becoming comfortable with singing is something that will help you out a lot. One of the reasons for this is that singing requires active listening as opposed to a lot of instruments like the piano where you can just hit the right note and it will always be tuned the same way.

Another thing you can do in your day to day practice is to just become more active in your listening as you listen to your favorite music.

Also, when you practice, your mind should be in the room and if you are just going through the motions the practice session is basically wasted.

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Short sessions with deliberate practice is the way to go, no doubt!

Make guesses as you play and learn from them!

As you play a piece or do sight reading you can also try “guessing” as you play along! Whenever you are wrong and your expectations to the sound don’t match whats written you should try to figure out what you thought the interval was between the two notes. Then see whats correct. Maybe you discover that you mistake fourths for fifths? If so then you know what you should practice.

Every ear training app has an interval trainer built in my app is no exception. You can check it out here…. ChordProg Ear Trainer

 

Improvise melodies

If your instrument allows it another great tip that you should take to heart is to try to sing along with whatever your playing when your improvising.

If you are not improvising, that’s another great tip! Improvisation can help you a lot with developing your ear.

Sadly there is not really just a quick fix. Ear training can be daunting but if you stick with it I promise you that you will get better over time! And just remember that short practice sessions with deliberate practice are soooo much better than just going through the motion.

Just going through the motion is often counterproductive!

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Do you need a music degree to make a living as a musician?

I think that a question a lot of young aspiring musicians have is.

Is studying music a good choice?

Well yes and no! Do you need the education to make money as a musician? NO!

  Nobody cares about your bachelors degree.

The thing about education today is that in many parts of the world education is so expensive! And frankly, you don’t need a degree to become a musician!

In Norway, where I live we have a free education system which is awesome. So when I studied music, I only paid for the cost of living. The cost of your education something that you should consider. Because my education only cost me my time, I didn’t really have to get that big of a payday to make it worth my while from a monetary perspective.

Is a music career for me?

When you’re deciding if you want a career in music you really have to ask yourself, Do you find practicing fun? Because if not, it’s an uphill battle that I don’t think you should pursue.

Of course, today, some of the best-paid musicians are not actually musicians with a music degree and you might be one in 100,000 that might succeed with relatively little effort. But its a bet with bad probabilities!

How much money do musicians make?

This depends a lot. Musicians get paid anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars a gig to millions! But most regular musicians are subsidizing their performance practice with a teaching practice.

How do musicians make money?

There are a lot of ways for a musician to make money. In today’s world, there are many independent artists that are making millions by having a relatively small, but engaged social following. 1000 raving fans might pay you better than the scraps from being under an agency. However, As an independent artist, you have to be your own marketing machine, which is a lot of work!

Make money on Youtube as a musician

As a musician, you can also make youtube videos and earn ad revenue! But you have to be really entertaining to succeed at this because to be able to make any significant kind of money on ads you have to have a lot of traffic! You get paid anywhere from 1 USD to 20 USD per thousand ad impressions.

Sell merch

If you have a social following and reaving fans you can also sell merch! Putting up a Shopify Store is something that anyone can do today! And you don’t have to hold any inventory if you don’t want to! There are companies out there who will hold your merch, fulfill the order and ship it so you don’t have to.

Play gigs

Playing gigs is the old fashion way of doing things. There will always be a place for good live music, but the gigs that pay good money are really competitive so you have to be exceptionally good to get those.

Teach online!

You can also teach an online course as a musician. This is a very lucrative route to go in terms of the money you can make. But if you don’t know your stuff please, don’t just put another crappy course out there.

What about Spotify or Itunes?

Selling music through one of these platforms is relatively easy with a service like CD baby. I definitely think you should sell your own music. But you need high volume to make it profitable. If you sell your track for 1 USD iTunes takes 30% then you have to pay taxes on it. You will earn about half of the selling price with sales tax excluded!

The upside is that you can make it completely passive! Royalties are awesome! In many cases, you earn very little, but you also get a completely passive income source that is separated from your time expenditure.

 

License your tracks through Envato markets!

Another thing you can do if you know how to produce music is to sell a license for your tracks through a marketplace like Envato markets. Creators are always looking for good music to use in their project and a lot of people use marketplaces like Envato to fulfill their needs! Here is a link to the audio marketplace if you want to check it out.
https://audiojungle.net/

You can make music for video games, commercial, really anything you want and there are probably people who might pay you for it. But again to succeed at this you generally have to be a good musician!

Focus on marketing!

If you really want to be a “successful” musician you have to focus on becoming valuable to the marketplace and you should spend a good portion of your time doing content creation! Generally content is king.

There are hundreds of ways to monetize music and your creativity is the only thing that limits you. But a life of a musician is not a safe way to go in terms of your earning potential and you’re at the mercy of your audience! But you can make money in many ways as a musician, no doubt!

What did I get out of my education?

Well, I studied music for 3 years in high school then 3 years in a music conservatory.

The value of a music education is not really in the education you receive but in the like-minded people that you will meet!

Full disclosure, I didn’t finish my degree and had to drop out due to some health issues that prevented me from pursuing a career in music. I have psoriasis in my fingers so practicing 4-6 hours a day became very painful!

As you get into a higher music education institution you will discover how high the bar is set and how good you have to be to become a “professional”. Here is some good news for you, most musicians are crappy marketers so it might not be as hard as you think to make money on your music!

Think about how you position yourself in the marketplace and develop a brand.

Then you will be ahead of many extremely talented musicians. If nobody knows you it doesn’t matter if you’re the best musician in the world! (At least from a monetary perspective)

Should I pursue a music education?

Well, studying music is great. And the environment and the openness of the people are awesome. However, to make money, a music degree is not something that you need at all.

Nobody cares about your bachelor’s in performing arts.

 

Music is art. Just focus on making stuff that moves people or is really entertaining and you’ll be golden!

7 Reasons to do Ear training!

If you´re like me, when I was starting out, maybe you find ear training boring. For me, the problem was that I couldn’t see why I needed to do ear training.

The teachers at my school did little to stress the importance of it! This is what this article is all about! Why should you care about ear training? What does it give you? Here are 7 reasons to practice ear training!

1. Memorization becomes easy!

When I studied music I was studying classical piano. Pianists always have tons of material to memorize, so being a good memorizer is important!

If you have no knowledge of ear training and music theory memorization becomes really difficult because you have to memorize every note all one by one!

Whats different when you become an ear training ninja you ask?
Well, Some of the best memorizers in the world utilize a method called “chunking ”

The example most often used is with digits!

Try memorizing the sequence: 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20
Easy… Right?!

If I asked you to recall where this sequence stopped you would probably say 20 right away.

Let’s think about how you memorized this for a second! When the first digit is revealed, you have no context, so you have to memorize it as a 2.

When the second digit is revealed (4) because the math is easy you will probably memorize it in relation to 2.

When the third digit is revealed(6) your brain probably goes “Oh, this might be a pattern”.

On digit number four (8) your brain goes “Yeah for sure. This is a pattern”

The rest is easy because the pattern is established! You don’t memorize 2,4,6,8,10,12,14,16,18,20.

You memorize it like this:
“I start at 2. Then just add 2 and 2  until I hit 20”

How can this help me when memorizing music?
Basically, all music consists of patterns. Music without obvious patterns will for most people feel unpleasant!

By knowing how patterns in music build and how to recognize them by ear, you can memorize large chunks of “data” in one go. Maybe there is an arpeggio in your piece going over 4 octaves with a C-major chord? By memorizing the music in chunks you can hold more data in your memory!

When it comes time to play the music you will also have memory hooks you can hook into if you´re able to follow the music with your ear!

 

2. You can play most songs within minutes!

If you like pop music you will be able to play a cover on your instrument immediately.

Because you already know how the song sounds in your mind you will probably be able to navigate the chord structure and melody using your ear as you play.

Most pop songs have a predictable progression which is part of the reason why I like using them as examples in my ear training games. If you’re interested you can check them out here!

3. You play more freely!
When you´re to not worrying too much about memory work your mind is free to do other things. You become more playful in your playing.  As your ear develops you will find yourself having many AHAAA moments!

When people say.

I just want to play what I hear in my head

.I always feel like throwing up. Mostly because I don’t think it reflects how music is presented in the minds of most people!

At least, speaking for myself, when I play it is a feedback loop. As I play I might take note of something in the music, maybe I think “What If I played this little riff on top or maybe it would sound better with the third on top!” Sometimes I just hear a baseline or maybe I just “sense” a direction that might work!

Most people are not able to deconstruct the whole piece in their minds. Or at least the audio representation of it(If that makes sense) Don´t let that demotivate you though! If you are just playing for fun you can have a bad ear and still get a lot of freedom only by knowing your music theory. But ear training will help you no matter what level you’re aiming at!

If you want to become a professional, you should really focus on ear training and it HAS to become a big part of your daily practice ritual!

4. Ear training can help you rediscover music!

As your ear develops you will start to pick out the chords and the notes of the melodies as you listen.

I think of listening to music with a “good ear” as having HD Color Vision!

It’s strange, but at least for me, it sometimes changes the texture or the music when I´m actively listening! And listening to “simple songs” becomes a game where I often find myself trying to see if I can follow the music with my ear!

Its hard to describe because music is so abstract by nature. But for me at least, I enjoy music more and more!

5. You become the center of attention on the Nachspiel(Afterparty)!

If there is a piano or if you have an afterparty I can almost promise you that someone is going to ask you to play.

Whenever I have an afterparty and some asks

“Can you play this song?

, I can almost always say

“Yeah sure”

. And even if I can’t I can just search the chords on my phone an play it from there. When you have the chord structure filling in the blanks(even pretty close to recording) becomes a cakewalk! Not a literal cakewalk! That would be strange!

6. Regular non-musical people will think you’re Mozart!

Because you will be able to pick songs seemingly out of thin air, people will think you have some kind of superpower, and In a way, you have one too!

7. You pick up new instruments quickly!

If your goal is to play multiple instruments having a good ear will help you out a lot! You will be able to map out the notes quicker and connect the instrument to your “inner voice” quicker than when you’re starting as a complete noob!

Your mind to instrument connection will strengthen at a faster pace and you will more than likely discover that playing music becomes more intuitive with less stress on the old nudle!

Just to sum up! You should really do some ear training every day. You can do it in the shower, or on your commute in the morning as you listen to music. The most important thing is that you keep going!

Set a goal to do 5 minutes of ear training a day, and I promise you that in a couple of weeks you will start noticing some changes!