I recently purchased my first smartphone (I know...I'm behind on the times) and one of the first apps I downloaded was called Complete Ear Trainer. I played around with the free version for about a day before buying the full version (its only like two or three bucks). The design is very unique and modern, and the lessons are laid out in a very simplistic way. In no way does it remind me of some sort of boring academic ear training course.
I think one problem that my fellow classmates and I had during our ear training classes was how easy it was to progress to the next level, without mastering each chapter. This is understandable when you consider a classroom atmosphere. The professor can't wait two months for the last student to master the melodic intervals so that the class can move on to something else. Complete Ear Trainer forces the user to master each level before they can even attempt the next one. Most of the lessons have 32 questions. The user has to answer 28/32 in order to progress to the next level with an average response time of 4.0 seconds or less. It can be rather irritating when you get 28/32 questions correct with a 4.1 second response time and have to do the lesson over again, but it is better than using a system that allows you to go on to the next level without mastering the basics first.
Another problem that I think some students have is finding the self-discipline to sit down, turn on a computer, go to the url for the aural skills program and then begin training. This process can become a chore on its own. The convenience of touching an icon on your phone is wonderful. It is also nice to pull out your little device and get 5 minutes of ear training in before class.
Complete Ear Trainer is divided into four levels. I have diagrammed the breakdown of the lessons below. I would liked to have seen an error detection section and more focus on rhythmic notation, but for most things harmonic and melodic this program is great. There is also an 'arcade' mode and a place within the program to design your own custom exercises.
LEVEL ONE (seven chapters)
Perfect fourths, fifths and octaves
Major and minor thirds
Major and minor seconds
Major and minor chords
Major and minor chord inversions
Major and minor sixths
Major and minor chords in open positions
LEVEL TWO (eight chapters)
Augmented fourths and fifths, diminished fifths
Augmented and diminished fifth chords
Major, minor and diminished sevenths
Seventh chords (Dom7, Maj7, min7)
Dominant seventh inversions
Half-diminished and diminished seventh chords
Major and minor ninths
All previous intervals and chords
LEVEL THREE (seven chapters)
Major and minor (natural, melodic and harmonic) scales
Pentatonic (major and minor) and blues scales
Whole tone and diminished scales
Short melodic dictations (easy)
Short melodic dictations (hard)
Chords and degrees
LEVEL FOUR (six chapters)
Augmented seventh and dominant seventh flat five chords
Suspended and added second/fourth chords
Sixth and sixth/ninth chords
Eleventh and thirteenth chords
All previous chords in open positions
There are a few other aural skills apps that I checked out, but I felt like the design and lesson plans in Complete Ear Trainer fit my needs perfectly. I wish I would have had it when I started music school.
P. S. Just in case this interests anyone, here is a website that includes information on ear training for audio engineers.http://www.music-production-guide.com/audio-ear-training.html