Ear training is the skill of recognizing pitch, intervals, chords, chord progressions, rhythms and more. A lot of people think perfect pitch (or absolute pitch) is essential to be the next Beethoven. I think relative pitch is probably more important. Yes, perfect pitch is great if you want to transcribe a solo and you don’t have your instrument with you, but I think to recognize progressions relative pitch helps a lot more. And relative pitch is easily acquirable. This is a good list of websites to check out to develop your skills:
http://www.practicesightreading.com/index.php (this is about sight-reading rhythms, but you can record yourself and then train your ear by transcribing the rhythms)
To practice all of the above (and to practice in general) you need a good metronome: this is a free Java metronome from Seventh String (also the creator of Transcribe! An innovative transcribing software)
This is the page with the demo and the info about this cool looking metronome that you can use freely online or on your desktop by downloading the zip file (second link):
On a different note for all of you out there who love jazz and use real books they have on their great site a master index that helps you find any tune on most fake books:
Now you don’t have any more excuses to keep your ears in top conditions…get practising!
Of course remember that ear training and rhythm training are just a few of the skills you need to be a 360 degree musician: read TrueGuitarist.com’s Master-plan!