Recently I've been producing more tracks than usual for artists who only sing and don't play instruments. Helping them decide the progressions for their songs has propelled me into investing some free time to improving my ear.
Being able to hear is like knowing music's alphabet. Discerning which notes are being played, understanding what scale a melody is based off of, and being able to sing back the notes in chords is so important to making sessions go smoothly and be efficient. My goal is to develop what I call "perfect pitch". Now there is plenty of debate on whether or not perfect pitch can be learned or if it's only really relative pitch, but I'm not trying to get into that here. Basically, I need to hear a note and know what note it is.
After a couple of years of poking around for an ear training app that worked for me, I found this awesome app in the Google Play store called Functional Ear. It looks like it's available for both Apple and Android.
After just a couple weeks of training about 30 minutes a day, I'm able to recognize the intervals inside of one octave and have basic relative pitch. I'm no Dylan Beato yet, but I'm glad to be making progress nonetheless.
Here's a really inspirational music theory/ear training video from Jacob Collier. I love seeing how passionate he is about the geometry of music and how he makes the concepts connect at a human level.
One step at a time. Check out functional ear and give it a try for yourself!