Have you ever wanted to record a student’s performance prior to a recital, or a difficult passage that the student needs to work on, but lacked the equipment or knowledge to do so? I would like to share the ways in which I use recordings in my studio, and the very accessible and simple equipment that I use to produce recordings. [···]

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Students often find tasks like learning how to read music, memorization, and ear training to be dry and redundant. However, I’ve found several programs that make the process fun, entertaining, and even mildly competitive for the user.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll review various software packages that I use to make the learning process more enjoyable for students.


Back when I was an undergrad, we had to complete daily lab time with various ear training programs as part of our college music theory courses. We would go to the lab and run a series of prescribed ear training exercises on a computer. Students would write down their scores, and then turn them as part of their grade.

When I left school and started to teach, I really wanted my students to have access to the same kind of ear training resources. I eventually found Earplane. (

The Pros

Earplane offers a wide range of tests. The tests include interval identification, chord identification, identifying various modes, and intonation drills. A student can run Earplane at home between lessons to reinforce material learned at the lesson. And really, students can use Earplane anywhere they have internet access.

Interval tests include harmonic and melodic interval drills that increase in difficulty. There are two sets of intonation tests, which can be useful for beginners studying orchestral string instruments, fretless electric bass, trombone, or similar “ear tuned” instruments.

There is a triad identification test that covers major, minor, augmented, diminished, and sus4 chords. Earplane can test triad identification in open voicing, closed voicing, arpeggiated voicing and in different inversions. The site also offers 4 note chordal drills which includes major 7th, minor 7th, dominant 7th, m7b5, and diminished 7th chords. All can be drilled in open voicing, closed voicing, arpeggiated voicing, and in various inversions. [···]

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