Just by doing a quick Google search, you will be able to find hundreds, if not thousands, of online courses promising to help you learn to play keyboard by ear, with price tags from “super affordable” to “extremely expensive.” Due to this, many beginners assume that playing by ear is the number one method to learn piano and sign up for the course thought most suitable without checking if the method actually works well for them or not. In the end, they tend to give up on the piano.
Don’t make this mistake! If you are going to learn piano using this way, read on to understand more about it.
What is playing by ear?
Playing by ear is the ability to listen to a song repeatedly, recognize the notes, chords, and melodies, translate them in your head, and finally reproduce the song on the piano without any help from written music. It is a well-known technique that many musicians consider to be valuable, as it helps them to understand song and chord structure.
Since playing by ear doesn’t require you to read sheet music, it’s a far less stressful way to learn piano. After all, a lot of great artists can’t read music, and it didn’t stop them from creating and performing some of the most amazing songs of the time. However, the truth is that the method that works for others might not suit you well, and there’s a chance that you shouldn’t learn to play keyboard by ear. So you put it all together, here’s a guy who has learned all these songs, and it’s all because of his ear. By the way – to this day, he hasn’t worked on reading notes from a piece of paper. The question is: is this you?
Who should learn to play keyboard by ear?
People who will benefit from this method are those:
– Who find themselves working with melodies, notes, and chords quickly thanks to some kinds of innate talent. Basically, you will need to hear a tune, get a general sense of the contour of the melody, write down that melody contour, and match the melody to appropriate chords. If you hear it wrong, the result will be a lot different from the original piece.
– Who memorize well using tonal memory to recall the song heard. In addition, some songs do sound alike, even though they are totally different when you look at the sheet music.
– Who have enough patience to learn the skill, practice, and not go crazy when making too many errors.
– Who want to develop their style and compose their own music. That said, you lack the means to put your melodies to paper without a proper understanding of notes.
If you just found out that playing by ear might not be the perfect method for you, it’s okay. There are other ways for you to choose – after all playing by ear is not the only method to learn piano.
The important thing here is research and pick the method that works well and makes you happy when learning piano, not randomly choosing the one commonly used. In the worst scenario, you will not simply waste your time, money or effort – you will also lose your passion for this amazing instrument and the opportunity to have a great experience that lasts a lifetime.
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