Ever watch those Youtube piano covers of songs and turns out that the person is playing by ear?
Playing by ear is a great arsenal to have when you learn how to play piano. It allows you to be able to compose your own music by scratch or play along to a song playing on the radio or allows you to jam with friends on other instruments.
Here are some tips to get started on how to play by ear on the piano.
1. Actually understand how music works.
Many people will say that you don’t need to know any music theory to learn by ear but that’s a myth. Also, the people who say that are naturally gifted to play by ear without music understanding.
Unfortunately, understanding the music means actually playing and practicing your scales and chords. Once you master some scales and chords, you can then start to improvise some chord progressions and melodies without hitting a wrong note. This is a huge start to being able to play by ear.
When you learn songs, don’t just memorize songs. Memorize the patterns.
A ton of songs have exactly the same patterns, especially today’s pop hits. If you know how to play a certain pattern or chord progression, you can do some slight modifications to resemble an actual song. To a regular person, they may think that you know a lot of different songs but in reality, you actually know just the main pattern for it but know how to change things up.
Remember, the melodies of the songs may be different, but the chord structures
are mostly the same.
This is a good example of the similar patterns idea
Playing by ear is all about listening. Listen to the tones, do they go up? down? Does a chord sound creepy? (diminished). Does it sound sad? (minor) or happy? (major)Different types of chords have feeling to them. If you can listen to the feeling, you can figure out what chords they most likely are and play them.
Intervals in the music world mean distances between notes.
There are many types such as unison, seconds, thirds, fifths, sixths and sevenths. The intervals also help name the chord that you play such as C major 7th, etc..
You may keep studying how to play by ear but nothing is going to come out of if if you don’t put action.
Get on your piano and practice.
Remember, practice makes permanent so always make sure that when you practice, you’re practicing right. If you mess up, start over. Even go slow if you have to.