Most piano students learn how to play the piano via the traditional classical way and although they have some aural lessons, they are not trained to play the instrument by ear. Those who can play by ear usually picked up the skills themselves.
That is why many piano players are almost always amazed by other pianists who can play any song they wished to without the scores in front of them and even without looking at the keys they are playing. Are you one of those who can’t play by ear? If so, the good news is that it can be learnt.
Here are some tips on how to practice and learn how to play by ear:
Play with other musicians as often as possible – Or even start your own band. Making music with other musicians forces you experiment with new ways of playing and listening to music. Although you may play from printed scores, in a band, everyone has to learn to listen to the other players and responds accordingly. Over time, your brain’s analytic and logical training to music will give way to your hearing and instinctive responses.
Practice playing with your eyes closed – This is to wean you away from looking at the scores and the keys. It takes time and practice, but once you can play a song with your eyes closed, you will discover new ways of playing the piano and at the same time, wired in other neurological muscle memory of your fingers into your brain.
Play along with a CD without using a score – This is really training you to play by ear. You can replay certain segments of the music again and again until you get it right. In the beginning, you may fumble and get the notes wrong, but you will see improvements sooner rather than later.
Have fun – Take a break from serious practicing and play the piano just for the heck of it! Play anything you fancy or you have just heard. Plonk away and experiment. Play a memorized song and improvise on it at will. By doing this, your hearing skills will continue to develop without the music scores.
Experiment with a friend – Close your eyes and have a friend play a note, any note, then you try to play the exact note. When you are able to do so, then try with a few running notes and you do the same. Then you can progress to playing with the chords.
By doing this, you will develop an aural image of the notes pitches in your brain. Slowing, it will become instinctive.
Join the jam sessions – Many musicians hold open jam sessions and welcome others to join in. Although this can be intimidating for some, it is a great way of developing your playing skills and confidence. Besides, the more experienced musicians will often help the newbies to blend into their style of playing.
As your skills developed and you become more comfortable playing the piano by ear, a whole new wonderful musical world opens up for you! Your piano playing becomes much easier and so much more enjoyable and you can now say, play me any song and I will play it for you.
By 3dman_eu from Pixabay