Excellent question, Bernice (in Chicago).
Everyone’s different, I have discovered, in terms of learning style in the field and progressing toward a Master’s of Science in IDing Birds By Ear.
That’s why I offer 10 diverse hints in my Top Ten Tips To Improving Your Birding By Ear handout that’s free at my web site: warblerwatch.com
There, first click on “Birding Links,” and when the next screen shows a menu of files, click on Top Ten Tips To Improving Your Birding By Ear to access it and/or print it.
As a prequel to what you’ll read, here’s one tip among the 10:
#5. “Draw” bird vocalizations using your own “short-hand” notation marks, ala the chapter in Sibley’s Birding Basics (i.e., a quasi-sonogram shorthand method that he introduces). After your birding foray and when you’re out of the field, use these written notation marks while listening to songs/calls on media (e.g., CDs) to ID the species you heard and/or better learn their song/call patterns.