Which are the 9 best ear training apps for musicians? That’s what our in-depth test is all about today. Let’s get straight to it. As a musician, or those who want to become one, the most important bodypart of all is probably the ear, because it opens the door to the world of sound.

best ear training app

However, anyone who makes music needs more than just their ear alone, as the demands placed on music learners and musicians. Training and specific training of the ear is therefore essential. Only with sufficient practice can we develop our sense of hearing specifically for the tasks involved in making music and thus make music more effortlessly and successfully.

So how can you improve your hearing? Fortunately, there are now many useful aids that help the ear to perform at its best. Today we present the 9 best ear training apps that you can use at any time to get your ear in shape.

But first, let’s get a general overview of the importance of the ear when making music.

What is the importance of the ear training when making music?

Listening to music, understanding music:

It is clear that it is difficult or even impossible to make music without listening. The ear is the most important tool a musician has. It paves the way for listening to music, understanding music and interpreting music. Especially when learning to play a musical instrument, the ear is an indispensable tool, as it forms the basis for the development of all musical skills.

Hearing makes it possible to recognise the different tones of an instrument, to perceive its different pitches, volumes and colors and to differentiate between them. Only then can melodies, harmonies and structures be recognised.

Hear the tone, control your playing:

In order to improve our own playing, we need to check and assess our skills. Are we playing the right notes? Is the rhythm correct? Is the sound of the instrument clean? Can you hear any unwanted background noise when playing? What about the intonation?
Hearing helps us to hear and control our activity. This is the only way we can improve and perfect our skills.

Interpret music, tell stories:

Who hasn’t heard this saying before: «Music is a language.» Don’t roll your eyes, because there is truth in this saying.
Music really is a language. Music is not just a series of notes, but tells stories and conveys feelings, emotions and much more. In order to understand the language of music, it requires active listening in order to be able to interpret it. All the subtleties and special features in the music and the composer’s intentions can only be discovered by listening closely and interpreting.

Ear Training Apps – the key to success?

As we already know, the ability to hear can be trained and thus improved massively. You learn to understand and analyse music in more detail. The ability to distinguish sounds, recognise rhythms and grasp melodies can be trained. This is the only way to successfully and efficiently optimise your own music-making and eventually become a true professional musician.

So go ahead and head to the app store: we have tested a variety of ear training apps and software for you and found the 9 best apps for you. Find out which ones made it into the top 9 here:

The 9 Best Ear Training Apps for Musicians

1. Best Ear Training App: Tone Gym

tone gym

>> Try ToneGym now >>

ToneGym is by far the best app for all musicians. ToneGym offers ear training exercises such as interval exercises, chord exercises, scale exercises and many more.
Completely web-based, Tone Gym differs from most other apps and can be used on a mobile phone or computer without any additional app.

ToneGym isn’t cheap, but it’s definitely worth the price: you pay $13.95 per month, $74.95 per year, or you can opt for the lifetime version and pay a one-time fee of $255. I would personally go for the lifetime version. I’d rather own a software rather than rent it and give it back after a certain time, but that could be just me.

If you’re A) a competitive person or B) someone who tends to slack off, ToneGym has a special feature for you: a ranking of all app users pushes you to keep working out and makes training an exciting challenge.

Test: Training with ToneGym is a lot of fun. The training session is entertaining and easy. The app offers many different games that cover all the important areas of music theory. You learn to recognise chords and scales, hear and recognise rhythms, sight-reading, chord inversions, etc.
It’s hard to put ToneGym down. So beware, the addiction factor is high! But the time you spend on ToneGym is time well spent.

ToneGym is number 1 – without a doubt!

2. Sound Gym

sound gym

>> Try SoundGym now >>

Next on the list is SoundGym: the ideal and equally web-based app for all sound engineers and music producers. It covers all the skills you need for your work as an audio engineer.

Whether you work as a producer or mixing engineer, your ears need to be aware of how to adjust the EQ, pan settings, reverb and filter settings, for example. Learning all these skills can seem quite overwhelming at first and even later.

SoundGym is designed to help you learn these skills in a fun and interactive way so that you no longer feel overwhelmed. SoundGym will strengthen your ears and prepare you for your future as an audio engineer. For example, you will learn to recognise and deal with different frequencies and a variety of audio effects.

If you take a financial look at Sound Gym, the purchase and use of the app is significantly higher than ToneGym: you pay $24.95 per month, $109 per year and $316 for life. Also here I would opt for the lifetime version, since training your ear takes more than just a year of consistent practice. Especially if you are looking to be a professional musician.

Test: SoundGym is similar to ToneGym, playful and entertaining. You learn all the important tools for music production and mixing. The app is fun and improves your listening skills enormously.

3. Ear Master

ear master

>> Try EarMaster now >>

EarMaster is a ToneGym alternative for anyone looking for something cheaper but still good. The app is suitable for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android.

EarMaster contains more than 2500 ear training exercises, including rhythm exercises, pitches, intervals, scales, chords, harmonies and much more.

The app offers four free modules to start and try out. But if you want more, you’ll have to dig into your wallet. And rightly so, because the app has a lot to offer. If you want access to all of the app’s content, you have to pay $3.99 per month or $35.88 per year.

Test: EarMaster is an app that you interact with very actively: You use the mic and MIDI keyboard to sing and play, and you solve all the puzzles in real time. This app not only trains your ear, but also covers a wide range of music theory.
Personally, I particularly like the feedback function that the app has. It identifies weak points and you know immediately what you need to work on. This helps you reach your goal faster and more efficiently.

4. Functional Ear Trainer

functional ear trainer

Available for IOS & Android

Have you ever dreamed of absolute hearing? And did you also think that you either have it or you don’t?
It is a widespread myth that absolute pitch has to be innate, but we will now dispel this myth. You can actually train yourself to have absolute pitch.

The Functional Ear Trainer for Android or iOS is the perfect companion on your way to absolute hearing. With this app, you learn to determine the individual levels within a key. Specifically, this means that you will learn to hear the 3rd degree within the C major tonality, for example, instead of identifying it contextlessly as «E». Once you have mastered the C major scale, you can explore other tonalities, major and minor or chromatic scales.

Test: The Functional Ear Trainer is a great app that allows you to make rapid progress. It makes a lot of sense to me that you have to determine the steps within the scale and not guess the tones without context. It’s great that you don’t need to be able to read music to use it. Anyone can use the Functional Ear Trainer for practice. Practising is fun and will definitely lead you to advanced ear training.

It’s best to try the app today, because developing an absolute ear is one of the most useful skills for musicians. Highly recommended for this purpose!

5. Perfect Ear Trainer

perfect ear trainer

Available for Android

The Perfect Ear Trainer is an incredibly comprehensive app for Android for training and developing your ear. It not only includes ear training exercises, rhythm exercises and music theory exercises, but also various articles that you can explore at your leisure.

The ear training sector is divided into three sections in this app: Intervals, Scales and Chords. All three sections provide a sensible and coherent introduction to the respective topic.
The intervals section includes various lessons and games on determining intervals, comparing intervals, reading intervals and singing intervals. The scale section focusses on identification, melodic dictation where you write down what you hear and reading scales. The chord section offers exercises on chord recognition, inversions, chord progressions and reading chords.

Another section offers lessons on sight-reading, singing notes and determining absolute pitch. There is also a fretboard trainer for guitarists.

Test: I think the app is great because it contains so many different exercises. It is incredibly comprehensive and varied and, above all, very flexible because the exercises can be customised and changed. The exercises can also be performed with a piano or guitar interface. A plus in a class of its own! Time flies when practising.
The chords section is unique because it contains exercises that are not available in the other apps. I ask myself why, because being able to determine and identify chord progressions is one of the essentials for musicians.

6. Complete Ear Trainer

complete ear trainer

Available for IOS and Android

The Complete Ear Trainer for Android and iOS is an excellent app that is easy to use and fun. All features are accessible for a one-off fee of just $2.99.

The app is suitable for children and adults. It provides a really large number of ear training exercises that are motivating and challenging at the same time. There are over 150 exercises, divided into 4 different levels and 28 chapters. With the Complete Ear Trainer you will learn about chord types, chord inversions, chord progressions, scales, etc. and you will get to grips with melodic dictation.

Test: The app plays like a video game. The exercises are easy and relaxed. Practising is fun and progress is quickly noticeable. In each new chapter, a «theory card» goes over the concepts discussed and ensures that you understand what you need to know to complete the lesson. The app is really excellent and offers something for everyone, whether beginner or advanced.

7. The Ear Gym – Ear Trainer

the ear gym

Available for Android

The Ear Gym – Ear Trainer is a great app for Android that focuses on learning to recognise and understand intervals, chords, harmonies and analysis.

The app teaches you to identify, compare, sing, read, construct and invert intervals. The app offers the function of being able to choose which intervals you want to work with. In the chords section, there are numerous exercises focussing on reading, comparing, identifying, constructing and inverting chords. The app also includes sections on reading the clef, recognising clefs and training perfect pitch.

Test: All in all, a great app that has something to offer musicians of all levels. I particularly like the fact that Ear Gym – Ear Trainer also allows you to study ascending and descending and harmonic or melodic intervals, a feature that many of the other apps didn’t have.

8. Piano Ear Training Free

piano ear training free

Available for IOS & Android

Piano Ear Training Free is a great, playful Android and iOS ear training app for everyone: regardless of whether you are a beginner or an advanced player, this app will help you to improve your ear.

Piano Ear Training Free includes exercises and games for recognising pitches, intervals, chords and scales, melodic dictations, chord sequences and exercises for training your absolute pitch. The exercises have different levels of difficulty and are therefore suitable for all levels of musician.

Test: The app is great, but unfortunately works with annoying adverts. It’s a bit annoying, but it doesn’t detract from the excellent quality of the app content. I love that you can choose what you want to focus on when playing. You can customise this to suit your individual wishes and needs. Really great! There’s also a separate tutorial for each game that explains what you’ll be doing and how to make the most of your time.

9. ET Ear Trainer

et ear trainer

Available for: IOS & Android

The ET – Ear Trainer is an app for Android, iOS and MacOS and offers a plethora of different functions and options for training your hearing. The app can be purchased for a one-off fee of just $6.

When you practise with the ET – Ear Trainer, you learn all the important ear training skills: Intervals, triads, major five-note ranges, scales, chord progressions and much more are covered in ET – Ear Trainer. The app offers musicians the option of choosing between active and passive ear training exercises. Active refers to reproducing the sounds you hear. Passive refers to identifying content such as scales or triads.

Test: It’s worth giving this app a try. Playful functions make practising fun and entertaining. This app also allows you to see where other users are in the ranking and collect trophies and high scores.

Which Ear Training App is the Best?

My favorite ear training app is tone gym! Make sure to try it here, before you buy it. If you need a cheaper alternative I would definitely go with EarMaster.

Hearing is an indispensable tool for making music that we need to train and develop. Only practice makes perfect and is the key to being a successful musician. See for yourself and not only try out the top 9 ear training apps, but also benefit from the varied and excellent exercises and games. Your ear will thank you for it.

This article could be interesting for you: Which is the best electric violin for beginners? 5 Violin in comparison