Anki is an open-source program that mimics studying with flashcards, with two important twists:
It’s built to help people memorize huge data sets. Like doctors learning diseases and medications, travelers picking up new languages, or musicians internalizing music theory.
Of course ear training isn’t just information to be memorized—it’s having the ability to discern subtleties that aren’t obvious to non-experts.
But the flashcard method still holds, and the technology of the app provides a convenient way to organize, disseminate, and study the material.
Anki is free, with one exception: the iOS app. That version pays for the development on every other platform, so it’s a steep $25.
I love the iOS app, but you probably don’t need it. You can study on your computer, on the web, and on a bewildering array of other devices (Linux anyone?).
Because the course is designed to only take 5 ish minutes of your day, you can probably find a time to study from your computer.
And if you find that you do need the iOS app? It’s totally worth it.
Personally, I travel a ton, and being able to study in a hotel room or tour bus or green room is a godsend.
[The images that follow are all from the Mac version of Anki, but the basic ideas work the same across platforms.]
Most of these things you can leave as they are, but make sure that Order is set to Show new cards in random order and that New cards/day is set no higher than 20. (If after a few weeks you’ve established that you both can and want to study for longer each day, you can up the New cards/day as high as 30.)
6. And under the General tab, be sure that Automatically play audio is checked. (Be warned: on the mobile version it appears to autoplay only when headphones are connected. Not a big deal, because you should be using them anyway!)
From the Decks page, select the first deck in your list. (To get to Decks, you might need to hit Back in the mobile app or Decks on the desktop app),
Desktop requires one extra click (Study Now) and then you’re looking at the first “card” in the “deck.”
It should auto-play the cue sounds. Give your answer (which might be singing a note or might be naming an interval, depending on the deck), then “flip” the card over by clicking Show Answer, hitting the space bar, or tapping the screen.
For decks with audio answers, it’ll autoplay the answer too.
If you need to hear the cue again before flipping the card, type “r” on your computer or click the “play” icon on your mobile device.
Study until you run out of cards.
If you have a bunch more time available for studying, move on to the next lesson and/or deck. Try not to get too aggressive with starting new decks—it can be pretty discouraging to open the app and find 15 or 20 minutes worth of work waiting for you.
This might seem a little overwhelming from looking at these screen shots, but within a day or two you’ll feel right at home inside the Anki app.
Things not working quite right with Anki?
Anki is crazy powerful and can feel overwhelming if you read the manual. Rest assured that you’ll get 95+% of the benefit from what’s in this lesson.