Ear Training 1

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Authored by Allan Chase, Roberta Radley


Course Code: OEART-119

Next semester
starts June 24

12 Weeks

Level 1

Level 1

3-Credit Tuition


Non-Credit Tuition


Ear Training 1 is the first of a series of four required courses that are designed to help you learn essential musicianship skills applicable to all styles of music: the ability to accurately recognize, imagine, remember, and notate musical sounds, and the ability to read music notation. Through guided practice of ear training techniques, your musical perception and performance will become more accurate and you will become more fluent in translating sound into notation and notation into sound.

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The techniques for learning ear training—moveable-Do solfège, conducting, counting systems, and dictation techniques—are time-tested aids for the development of these musicianship skills. The skills you will learn will be useful in composition, arranging, production, learning new repertoire, and bandleading; improvisation and musical interaction in performance; and improved music perception in listening.

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • perform, recognize, transcribe, and notate rhythms in 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4 meters, including 16th notes, accurately using conducting patterns
  • sight-sing, perform, recognize, transcribe, and notate major melodies in keys up to two sharps or two flats, in treble and bass clefs, accurately using moveable-Do solfège syllables and conducting patterns
  • recognize, transcribe, and notate major-key tonal chord progressions using triads, V7, and V7sus4 in root position
  • imagine (audiate, using inner hearing) pitches in major keys, melodically and harmonically, and apply that skill to music performance, improvisation, and composition
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Overview Syllabus Requirements Instructors
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Lesson 1: Getting Organized: Sound, Notation, and Function

  • Melody: Solfège, Inner Hearing, and the Major Scale
  • Melodic Figures
  • Sol-Fa Notation: Just the Syllables
  • Reading Melodies
  • Intervals: Identifying the Minor 2nd
  • The Ear Training Balancing Act
  • Assignment 1.1: Movable-Do Solfège, Melody, and Conducting
  • Assignment 1.2: Identifying Meter, Conducting, and Counting

Lesson 2: Moving Forward: Mapping Subdivisions, Bass Clef Melodies

  • Rhythm: Introducing 4/4
  • Memorizing Rhythm Words
  • Melody: Bass Clef, Reading Stepwise Melodies Using the Whole Major Scale
  • Melodic Dictation
  • Intervals: Identifying the Major 2nd
  • Assignment 2.1: Rhythmic Reading Performance
  • Assignment 2.2: Compose, Transpose, and Perform a Melody
  • Sight-Singing Practice

Lesson 3: Navigating Leaps and Notating in 4/4

  • Rhythm: Notating in 4/4
  • Melody: Leaps in the I Chord
  • Intervals: The Major 3rd
  • Harmony: The Tonic Major Triad
  • Assignment 3.1: Rhythmic Dictation in 4/4
  • Assignment 3.2: Melody Singing
  • Sight-Singing Practice

Lesson 4: The Tendency to Resolve: Tendency Tones, Basic Chord Functions

  • Rhythm: 3/4 Time
  • Melody: Major Key Tendency Tones
  • Tendency Tone: Singing Quiz
  • Mastering Tendency Tones in all Keys
  • Intervals: The Minor 3rd
  • Harmony: I, IV, and V Chords
  • Bonus: Takin’ It to the Streets
  • Assignment 4.1: Performance in 3/4
  • Assignment 4.2: Melodic Duet Performance
  • Sight-Singing Practice

Lesson 5: Wider Leaps and Finer Subdivisions

  • Rhythm: Introducing One-Beat 16th-Note Patterns
  • Performance Articulations
  • Melody: Leaps from Do
  • Melodic Dictation: The Process
  • Intervals: Review of 2nds and 3rds
  • Harmony: Voice Leading I IV V Chord Progressions
  • Introducing V7
  • Assignment 5.1: Rhythmic Performance
  • Assignment 5.: Melodic Transcription
  • Sight-Singing Practice

Lesson 6: Midterm Review and Assessment

  • Review for Performance Midterm Exam: Rhythm and Melody
  • Review for Dictation and Recognition Midterm Exam: Rhythmic and Melodic Dictation
  • Assignment 6.1: Midterm Performance Exam
  • Assignment 6.2: Midterm Dictation and Recognition Exam

Lesson 7: Expectation and Surprise: Syncopation and Indirect Resolution

  • Rhythm: Introducing Syncopated Eighth-Note Patterns and Articulations
  • Melody: Broken 3rds and Indirect Resolutions of Tendency Tones
  • Introducing the key of Bb
  • Harmony: The Perfect 4th and Perfect 5th intervals
  • Harmony: Introducing the Minor Triad
  • Assignment 7: Performance, Recognition, and Dictation, Sight-Singing

Lesson 8: New Colors

  • Rhythm: Eighth-note Syncopation, Dynamic Markings
  • Harmony: Tritone Interval, Inverting Intervals
  • Harmony: Introducing II-, Vsus4, and V7sus4
  • Assignment 8: Performance, Recognition, and Dictation, Sight-Singing

Lesson 9: Up, Down, and Around: 6ths and 16ths

  • Rhythm: More On 16th-Note Patterns; Tempo Markings, the One-Bar Repeat Sign
  • Introducing the key of D major
  • Melody: Introducing Leaps of a 6th in the I Chord
  • Harmony: Major and Minor 6th Intervals, Inversions of 3rds
  • Harmony: Introducing VII°; Diatonic Root-position Triads, V7, and V7sus4
  • Assignment 9: Performance, Recognition & Dictation, Sight-Singing

Lesson 10: Forms and Cycles

  • Sixteenth Note Patterns, Form and Repeat Signs: DC, DS, Coda, Fine
  • Melody: Mastering D Major
  • Harmony: Major and Minor 7th intervals; Inversions of 2nds
  • Harmony: Cycle 5 Diatonic Chord Patterns
  • Assignment 10: Performance, Recognition & Dictation, Sight-Singing

Lesson 11: Putting It All Together

  • Sixteenth Note Patterns, Two-Bar Repeat Signs; Dynamic Wedges
  • Review of C, F, G, Bb, and D Major Melody, Sight-Singing Practice
  • Harmony: Review of All Simple Intervals
  • Harmony: Review Common Diatonic Chord Patterns; Melody-Harmony Relationship
  • Assignment 11: Performance, Recognition & Dictation, Sight-Singing

Lesson 12: Final Assignment and Final Project, Final Exam

  • Summary and Review of all Material for the Final Exam
  • Moving On: Techniques and Ideas for Further Development of Ear Training Skills
  • Assignment 12.1: Final Performance Exam
  • Assignment 12.2: Final Dictation and Recognition Exam


Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements 

Prerequisite Courses, Knowledge, and/or Skills
Completion of at least one of Music FoundationsMusic Theory 101Music Application and Theory, or Music Theory and Composition 1, or equivalent knowledge and experience is required.

Students should be able to:

  • Match pitch vocally
  • Read and notate basic rhythms (whole notes, half notes, quarters, eighths, and sixteenths) in time signatures of 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4
  • Identify and notate pitches in treble and bass clef
  • Notate major scales in C, F, G
  • Recognize simple major key harmonic patterns including the I, IV, and V chords



  • Students are required to record video for their assignments. Options for recording video include:
    • Smartphone
    • Digital camera
    • Webcam (using either video recording software, or the video recording tool that is built into the learning environment)


Student Deals
After enrolling, be sure to check out our Student Deals page for various offers on software, hardware, and more. Please contact support@online.berklee.edu with any questions.

General Course Requirements

Below are the minimum requirements to access the course environment and participate in Live Chats. Please make sure to also check the Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements section above, and ensure your computer meets or exceeds the minimum system requirements for all software needed for your course. 

Mac Users

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All Users

  • Latest version of Google Chrome
  • Zoom meeting software
  • Webcam
  • Speakers or headphones
  • External or internal microphone
  • Broadband Internet connection


Allan Chase


Chair of the Ear Training department at Berklee from 2008-2021 and currently a faculty member in Harmony and Jazz Composition, saxophonist and composer Allan Chase has appeared as a soloist on more than 60 jazz, pop, and classical recordings, in addition to several movie scores. Chase has taught a wide range of college courses in ear training, transcription and analysis, harmony, counterpoint, music theory, and music history, as well as ensembles and private lessons. He began his teaching career at Berklee in 1981, and has also taught at Tufts University and New England Conservatory, where he served as chair of jazz studies and dean of the faculty. From 1992 to 2000, he performed and recorded with avant-garde jazz drummer Rashied Ali, who is best known for his playing with John Coltrane. Chase has also been a member of Your Neighborhood Saxophone Quartet since 1981 and has released several recordings as a leader or co-leader of jazz and improvisation ensembles.

Roberta Radley

Author & Instructor

Roberta Radley is assistant chair in the Ear Training Department at Berklee College of Music. A Berklee graduate with a degree in composition, she joined the faculty in 1976. Since then, Radley has taught a wide range of ear training classes, using innovative methods to help students hear music more analytically, and earning recognition for outstanding achievement in music education from Berklee.

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Coauthor of the department core curriculum Ear Training 1–4 books, as well as author of the Harmonic Ear Training DVD, Radley has traveled widely on behalf of Berklee, holding scholarship auditions, working with affiliated schools, and presenting seminars across the US and internationally. Additionally, Radley is an active performer as a pianist and vocalist, and is an experienced private piano and voice instructor. Read Less

Cercie Miller


Saxophonist-Composer, Cercie Miller leads the Cercie Miller Quartet, a group nominated as “Outstanding Local Jazz Act” (Boston Music Awards) and “Best Local Jazz Act” (Boston/ Phoenix/ WFNX Best Music Poll). Ms. Miller attended New England Conservatory where she was a pupil of Joseph Allard, and was awarded National Endowment of the Arts Study Grants to study with saxophone masters David Liebman and Jerry Bergonzi. While still at NEC, Ms. Miller was a founding member of Your Neighborhood Saxophone Quartet. Ms. Miller has worked with many other artists including singer-songwriter Patty Larkin, jazz vocalist Lisa Thorson,  harpist Deborah Henson- Conant and vocalist Didi Stewart. The Cercie Miller Quartet has released two recordings to critical acclaim: “Dedication” (Stash) and “Blue Vistas” (Jazz Project). 

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Cercie Miller is a passionate music educator. Ms. Miller is Assistant Professor of Ear Training at Berklee College of Music. Ms. Miller is also Jazz-World Music Program Director at Wellesley College, where she is Senior Music Instructor of Jazz Saxophone, and the Director of Wellesley BlueJazz Big Band . Ms. Miller has taught Jazz History and Jazz Theory at Wellesley College, History of Jazz at Northeastern University, and received the Bok teaching award for her assistant teaching in Jazz History at Harvard University.  Read Less

Dan Rosenthal



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