Ear Training Core

The ear training core, in combination with arrangingharmonyconductingtonal harmony and counterpoint, and music technology courses, will provide you with a broad-based musical vocabulary, important skills for your major studies, and a well-rounded musical background. Every entering student is placed into arranging courses based on the proficiencies, skills, and knowledge demonstrated on the ear training section of the Entering Student Proficiency Assessment.

For more information, also see the Glossary of Terms Used and Recommended Reading List.

Once the core requirements have been completed, Berklee students can choose from a variety of ear training electives. Electives range from Performance Ear Training (for each instrument), Rhythmic Ear Training (advanced rhythmic concepts), Harmonic Ear Training (hearing chord progressions), Advanced Ear Training (atonal interval hearing), and Jazz Transcription.

Watch the video below for more on Berklee's ear training program:

Entrance Requirements

Required of all students. 

What the Program Gives You

Upon completion of this program, students will:

  1. Translate music notation into sound and movement, learning to sing and conduct music from notation at sight, accurately and without the aid of an instrument (given only a reference pitch);
  2. Translate sounds into notation and musical symbols;
  3. Develop accurate inner hearing or musical imagination of pitches, rhythms, and sonorities;
  4. Express their inner hearing through vocal performance and conducting, and through dictation (notation of heard music);
  5. Integrate their music reading, inner hearing, vocal performance, and instrumental performance, connecting their pitch, rhythm, notation, vocal, instrumental, and movement skills in real time;
  6. Analyze musical patterns and relationships and connect them with sounds;
  7. Integrate their aural perception of musical relationships, their ability to perform (vocally, rhythmically, and instrumentally), and their knowledge of music theory;
  8. Integrate their ear training skills with expressive performance and creative music-making, including improvisation and composition; and
  9. Evaluate their own processes for learning and practice, and learn to self-diagnose and prescribe solutions, for a lifetime of increasing skill and understanding of musicianship.
Required Courses

Required of all:

Required of students majoring in composition, music education, or music therapy:

Required of all other majors:


Students must enroll in the four required core ear training courses in consecutive semesters of attendance, starting with their first semester, until they have passed all four.

Students who choose to take the ESPA and achieve high scores, and/or are recommended for advanced placement by their teachers or the chairs, may begin the sequence in ET-112: Ear Training 2,  ET-211: Ear Training 3, or ET-212: Ear Training 4. Advanced placement by ESPA score is subject to verification or adjustment by their assigned teacher at the discretion of the Chair. A few students per year test out of all four core classes and are required to take one Ear Training or Performance Ear Training (PFET) elective in their first semester, chosen in consultation with the Chair or Assistant Chair.