However, it is important that you possess at least some appreciation and knack for rhythm as well as pitch in order to grasp the required intervals within music and the appropriate speed at which songs need to be played. Your appreciation and knack for rhythm will go a long way to help you learn to play the piano by ear.
Are you a singer? Do you enjoy clapping along to the beat? If you answered in the affirmative, it is likely that you can succeed at playing piano by ear to at least a passable degree.
Conventional piano study requires that you begin with learning how to read written music. But consider the fact that prior to knowing how to read written words, you already had the ability to speak. The same principles can actually apply here.
Most piano instructors prefer that their students learn sight reading primarily because it facilitates teaching using written sheet music. But, if you already have the ability to play the piano by ear alone, you may not even need sheet music at all. Ultimately, this means that truly committed, disciplined individuals can learn to play piano by themselves without a need for costly teachers and lessons.
Start by listening along to some music. It can be any kind you like. Begin humming the melody. Hit upon the proper tone for the song’s beginning and you will have the first essential building block for the rest of the tune.
You could always decide to play the song in an entirely different key just by beginning with a different note and proceeding the perform the music, complete with identical intervals to the original version. It will surely sound different than you thought it might, so make sure to get the correct key right off the bat as you are learning to play by ear.
Now you can work your way through the song, note by note, ensuring that the intervals are timed properly. Understanding scales and their progression will come in handy at this point, and running up and down scales in a hum is a practice tool you can employ even when you are away from the piano. When sitting at the keys, depress any one of them and start singing the octave up and down. To verify that you have the correct notes, just press the subsequent note in the progression prior to vocalizing it.
After you have conquered the song’s melody, listen once more to the song and try to play along with it. This helps you grasp its rhythm. It will become easier to naturally decide when rests occur and when certain notes ought to be held. These details would, of course, be contained in the sheet music for whatever song you have chosen, but if you practice enough, it is possible to learn these patterns yourself by ear.
Once the tune and the melody have been mastered, listen to the first version another time to begin learning the harmony. See if you can close your mind off to the melody so that your focus is able to remain on the harmony alone. It can be tougher to concentrate in this way, but if you work hard enough, the dividends for doing so will be great. If you have some existing knowledge of chords, the process will be even simpler. Therefore, make at least some effort to learn everything possible about the primary chords in all keys.
In the end, to learn to play piano by ear simply requires you to train yourself to hear obvious melodies but also the subtle distinctions of harmonies. Just as those who learn via sight reading eventually acquire real skills at the piano, your time spent training your ears will ultimately give you the ability to play beautifully.
Here are 5 tips for playing the piano by ear for beginners:
Tip #1: Understand how music works
Tip #2: Master the patterns rather than memorizing stuff
Tip #3: Learn to listen
Tip #4: Become a pro at recognizing intervals
Tip #5: Practice and get some real-world experience