Playing The Piano By Ear

Playing The Piano By Ear

There are two ways people play the piano. One is by reading sheet music, the other is by ear. 

Reading sheet music is a practiced skill. You learn to read the notes, learn the placement of your fingers, and put the two together to make music. 

But playing the piano by ear takes talent. It takes great listening skills. And it takes lots of practice. But this isn’t a skill you have to be born with. This is something you can learn on your own. Here’s how. 

Start by picking out a familiar song. If you know it well, and can sing along easily, you’ll be able to pick the melody out on the piano. 

Find the starter notes. You can usually find the range or scale to which the song is set. This gives you the ability to pluck out the tune. 

Once you have figured out the first three to five notes, it’s easier to find the rest of the notes in the song. Most songs are built on a few chords, so once you get the first few notes down, it’s easier to continue on with the song. 

Reward your success. Once you’re able to pick out a few tunes, you can challenge yourself to do this with other songs. This is a talent that can build quickly if you pursue it. Younger kids may need help and encouragement at first, but once they have the ability to play full songs, they will enjoy this method almost as much as learning how to read music. The two can complement each other and build to make them a better piano player overall. 

You can also look for a variety of resources online that will help encourage your child to play. Realize that every person learns differently. If one method doesn’t seem to work, don’t be afraid to try something else. 

The key is finding ways to enjoy what you do.

Have you or your child ever played piano by ear? What strategy worked best for you?