HERE WAS A BOY WHO DELIGHTED in correcting his mother’s piano students as they were working on identifying intervals. He never studied as such, but the regular exposure to other people practising seeped into his head.
It isn’t so much a matter of natural born talent or hard work as a case of regular practice. A little bit each day is the way to plant the new patterns in your brain.
Now, not everyone can arrange for a stream of school students to come around every afternoon for piano lessons, so how can the average aspiring sight reader get this regular practice?
Just go online.
Theta Music Trainer is a collection of games identifying scales, intervals, chords, pitches (or tones) and even the sounds of different instruments.
The games look like child’s play, but the skills are way beyond what I covered at school. Paddle Tones and Tone Drops are good for picking out notes. Dango Brothers is good for matching pitch. There’s even a game where you sing into a microphone to match pitch. I bet you can think of someone you would like to work on that game!
The games can be played at random, or you can opt in to “courses” which bundle 30 groups of 5 games to give about 15 minutes of practice every day for a month. Each level you complete counts towards a colored “belt”. Yes, you can get a black belt in Music Theory!
Signing up for a free account gives you access to the first three levels of each game, which is pretty useful in itself. Full access to Theta music trainer comes with a price tag. The individual account is a bit more than your average smartphone app, but if you have a few other people interested (like a choir) consider splitting a Studio account between you.
Playing the cute colorful games at Theta helps you get a taste of what ear training is all about. For a more serious survey of software available see Ear-training online.
I hope you find something useful. Excuse me, I have to go work on my green belt.