Effortless Ear Training:
Develop Professional-Grade Ears In Five Minutes A Day
Once upon a time, the only way to learn something on guitar was by ear.
The vast majority of our guitar heroes learned this way. Ear
straining training is still the cornerstone of music school education.
When free TAB first became available on the internet, we guitarists rejoiced at the newfound ease of learning.
But along the way we’ve lost something important: our ability to hear clearly, to cop licks from our favorite players, and to easily translate the sounds in our heads onto our fretboards.
- We feel trapped inside a handful of well-worn fretboard shapes.
- Our playing feels uninspired.
- We struggle to learn and remember tunes.
- Accompanying someone on a tune we don’t know is a crapshoot.
- We can’t sing harmony.
- We have friends who can hear a song once and imitate it, while we’re stuck looking up the TAB or chords.
We know we should be training our ears, but all the apps & courses are designed for people with formal music training, and they’re filled with cheesy synthetic piano sounds & fussy music school vocabulary.
Worse still, when we do take the initiative to tackle ear training, we work for weeks with nothing much to show for it. It’s a recipe for demotivation.
I know because I’ve been there.
Effortless Ear Training teaches your ears to instantly discern what’s going on in the music you hear so you can play it without hesitation.
No intense study sessions, no workbooks, no arcane terminology, no endless parade of soul-crushing exercises.
Just a clearly defined, do-this-one-thing-today approach that’ll take you five, maybe ten minutes each day.
With each passing day, you’ll feel noticeably more confident in your abilities. Learning riffs & solos by ear will get easier. You’ll hear a song for the first time and immediately know the chord progression.
How important is ear training?
I believe it’s the missing link for most modern players.
Think about it.
Stevie Ray Vaughan.
They all made timeless, transcendent music without learning any organized theoretical system.
You know what that generation had in spades that we don’t?
There was no internet, no TAB books, no YouTube. Whatever they wanted to learn they had to learn by ear.
What if you had the benefit of modern learning tools AND the kind of ears that made everything fall seamlessly into place?
You can. Here’s how.
The music school method works… for people in music school.
You know, the best handful of prospective students, selected from a huge pool of applicants, fully immersed in mutually reinforcing theory, ear training, sight reading, & ensemble classes, plus private lessons, all mixed together with relentless practicing.
Four hours a day is the minimum. Eight hours a day isn’t unheard of.
They learn ear training the way a self-driving car follows its GPS: as a series of defined distances combined and recombined into directions.
Again: it works. For machines. And people with machine-like determination.
But it’s hard.
And it’s not how your heroes learned.
You’ve heard the stories:
- A barefoot Duane Allman stopping the turntable with his toe after each lick as he sussed out a whole BB King record.
- A nine-year-old Danny Gatton sounding out Foggy Mountain Breakdown on his brand new banjo in the backseat of the car on the way home from the music store.
- Jimi Hendrix asking Miles Davis what a “diminished chord” was, hearing one once, then immediately playing them all over the neck.
- Alex Van Halen returning home from a night out to find his little brother Eddie still sitting on the end of the bed, adding his personal innovations to songs he’d heard.
- Robert Plant scatting out an improvised line and Jimmy Page playing it back on guitar with near-perfect accuracy in real time.
I’ll be honest with you: I have not personally asked these folks how they developed their ears.
But I know more than few people with these sorts of abilities and they fall neatly into two camps:
- The people who went to music school and learned through (often brutal) total immersion.
- The people who had some natural ability at hearing & imitating, who then spent years working things out by ear.
If you’re either one of those, congratulations! You sure as shit don’t need my help.
But what about the rest of us?
Can people like us, without relying on natural talent, tens of thousands of dollars in student loans, and/or years of free time acquire great ears?
Yes, we can.
And it’s easy.
How Effortless Ear Training Works
Each day an alarm goes off in your phone.
You check in to see what’s next. Some days it’ll be listening to a short audio track and humming along.
Other days it’ll be working with an audio flashcard app to test your progress.
For the first session with a new lesson, you’re going to be terrible. Your ears won’t be able to hear the difference between a half step and a whole step, or between a I-IV progression and a I-V progression, or which note in a chord is the root and which is the 3rd.
But then the damndest thing starts to happen.
After a day or two, you begin to know the right answer—without having to think.
Inside of a week, you’ll go whole sessions without getting a single one wrong.
You’ll hear a song in the grocery store, and a smile will cross your face as you realize you know the chord progression, even though your guitar is back at home.
And the bits that you do struggle with?
The audio flashcards app will automatically surface those cards more often, giving you extra opportunities to practice.
I’ve tried a dozen books, courses, and apps, and this method is the only thing that’s reliably worked for me.
But Don't Take It From Me
Over 1500 people have leveled up their guitar skills using my methods.
Here’s what they have to say:
The results so far have blown me away. For almost 4 years I've thought that this would be something really hard to learn… I never thought it would be this easy.”
-Richard G, Calgary
There is no school, university, professor or expert I have attended or been taught by in any field, that comes close to what you did there in terms of clarity of explanations, simplicity of wording, progressive learning curve and focused discourse.”
– Simon B, Switzerland
Now everything I've done over the last 25+ years makes a hell of a lot more sense!"
-David M, Wisconsin
And here’s some things my fellow teachers are saying:
Focused, thorough instruction that supplies the missing ingredients we guitarists need in order to excel.”
-Larry Newcomb, renowned guitar instructor & PhD in music
Josh’s teachings and systems are a foolproof way to build your musical foundation for uninterrupted and exponential growth.”
-Lara Mirinjian, author of The Sight Reading Solution & consistently voted one of the top music teachers in Los Angeles
Remarkably effective ear training that’s insanely easy to use. Wish I had this way back when.”
-Eric Justen, owner & lead instructor at Guitar Smart Studios, guitarist for Tripping Billies, badass sideman
So how ‘bout it?
Are you ready to tune your ears up and turn up the heat on your musical progress?
I’m also giving you a 100% money back guarantee—if you don’t like it, you get all of your money back.
No guilt, no questions asked, no hidden cancel button—just email me and I’ll refund you the whole amount.
To me, this seems like a no-brainer.
Seventy five bucks could buy you three guitar shop lessons…
…or lifetime access to dead-simple exercises that I guarantee will get you the ears you need.
You’ll learn to identify the interval between two notes, common chord progressions, and common & exotic chord qualities.
You'll learn to pick out and identify individual notes inside a chord, and you’ll learn to sing specific intervals over chords. It’s a great way to cement everything you’ve learned, a vital first step for learning to sing harmony, and a time-tested way to organize your thinking around licks, lines, & solos.
These are the ear skills that are most relevant to badassery.
We’ll focus on the things that professionals use every day in the studio, on the stage, and in the practice room.
Spend six months learning it, benefit from it for life.
So... is this truly effortless? Like, I don't have to do anything at all and yet I'll develop perfect ears?
Every other ear training I've attempted felt like hacking a path through a dense jungle with a dull machete.
Effortless Ear Training is like walking along the moving sidewalk at the airport.
Is it easier than breathing? Well, no.
But compared to the shit we jokingly called "ear straining" in music school, this feels like that moment when the water finally clears from your ear two days after you went swimming.
Is this a video course? A live masterclass? A series of emails? A long PDF filled with spelling errors? What's the format? How does it work?
Some of the course is audio tracks that you'll listen & hum along with to get the sounds ingrained in your mind.
But most of the course is done with audio flashcards. As your ear progresses, the flashcards app automatically adjusts itself to you.
You’ll get some supplementary materials that explain how this fits into the bigger picture, but there’s very little required reading, and zero poorly-edited, long-winded, circle-talking videos.
99% of the time you spend with the course will be inside the app.
Wait, what app? Is this an app?
You’ll study the materials inside the excellent (and mostly free) Anki app, which is available for every conceivable platform.
(By "mostly free," I mean it's free for every platform except iOS. The iOS version is a steep twenty five bucks. But iOS peeps can still use the free computer or web version, so you don't need the app unless you travel intensely with no computer and no wifi.)
Why should I buy your course instead [this other person’s]?
Great question. If you have a course of study that’s working for you, keep on doing what you’re doing.
Those other ones didn’t work for me. This one does.
If you’ve tried and failed at (or even just didn’t stick with) one of the many other options, give Effortless Ear Training a try.
100% guarantee if it ain’t for you.
Do I need to read music?
Nope. This is about your ears.
Who Is This For?
Like all my courses, this is filtered through my experience. Pure dumb luck thrust me into the world of musical badassery long before I was qualified, and I’ve been scrambling like a madman to try to deserve that luck.
The things I teach are 1) the same things I used to attain badassery myself, and 2) stress-tested in the world of professional musicianship.
Have you been frustrated with your ears before? Or frustrated by the conflicting information meted out in drips by self-proclaimed gurus? Do you want to learn shit that works? And works on the big stage and not just the basement of your guitar teacher’s mom’s house?
Then this is for you.
Who Is This Not For?
That said, this is not for you if you’re lazy.
It’s not for you if you want someone to wave a magic wand that turns you into a badass.
It’s not for you if you’re not willing to show up for a few measly minutes each day.
How long will it take?
There are five units.
Everyone’s journey will be a little different, but figure a month per unit.
So somewhere around five months of 5-10 minutes each day?
Does it work for left handed Armenian klezmerbop?
Yes. These principles are rooted in universal musical principles and basic human psychology, neither of which changes much from person to person, or style to style.
There is one caveat to that: music school does it the hard way because it’s ultimately a little more useful for classical musicians.
Effortless Ear Training assumes that you enjoy music that involves chords, melodies, riffs, and solos. If you’re an all-classical or all-metal player, this will still be crazy useful and effective, but it might not take you all the way to your personal finish line.
I've done some of your other courses. Where does this fit in with GuitarOS, Practice Habits, and Metronome Boot Camp?
The bird’s-eye view of the whole process of learning guitar is something like:
Practicing is the meta skill that enables the rest of it.
There are thousands of sub-steps. There are some interdependencies (playing with good feel is both a hands thing and an ear thing). There's some extra credit steps (if you want to play professionally, you'll need to tackle sight reading and sound design).
Fundamentals of Picking is about your hands.
Effortless Ear Training is about your ears.
GuitarOS is about theory.
Metronome Boot Camp is at the intersection of hands & ears.
Practice Habits is (unsurprisingly) about getting practice right.
What’s it cost?
It costs seventy five bucks.
Or put another way: you could take three lessons of unknown quality in a guitar shop, or you could have a few months’ worth of proven, systematic lessons that move you measurably closer to badassery.
What if I don’t like it?
If you don’t like it, I don’t deserve your money. Email me and I’ll give you your money back. That simple.
See you inside,