Playing Piano By Ear

Playing Piano By Ear - When it comes to playing piano, why do people want to "play by ear?" What do they mean by that?

I asked my best buddy Pat, who happens to love piano (and music, in general)...AND he plays nicely too (better than he'll ever admit).

Anyhow, I asked him the question and it took about 4 email transmissions back & forth between us for me to decipher what his idea of "playing piano by ear" was.

Longer story short, after we both agreed "playing piano by ear" is not banging the side of your head on those keys (please do NOT do this), it boiled down to the point where we determined that playing piano without music in front of you is "playing by ear"... at least, that was his take on it.

Is this your perspective, too?

It's okay... there's not necessarily a "right" or "wrong" answer here, but I what about the person sitting at the piano who's just playing a rendition from memory exclusively (if that's possible, really... after all, some listening might be involved in most cases)

My take on it is this: "Playing piano by ear" involves the ability to reproduce sounds at will on those keys because a confident association between certain sound distinctionsand certain keys or combinations of those keys on that keyboard has been made.

How do you develop this association? Well, the same way you learned how to speak. You heard "ma ma" or "da da" and, once you got the hang of how to make those lips and vocal chords work together in harmony, you were "singin' that song"rather quickly :)

It works the same way on the piano. Play a sound (combination of notes, a chord, etc.), hear it, make the association of what you're doing with the resulting sound you're getting, and whaaala! You can reproduce it.

Make sense?

There's not one tool in our store that cannot help with that. The "Play By Ear 5 Pack" has been ever so popular with our site members ( available at our store ) My latest video deals with this on a level of chords; specifically, playing triads and creating some interesting sounds within the context of that universally popular hymn "Amazing Grace"

The main point is this: your "musical ears" are ALWAYS being trained, whether you think about it or not. If the only thing you ever learned was how to play a C major chord on the piano, then you're able to reproduce it every time you go to the piano. You lay those three fingers down with confidence, right?Yep, and QUITE PREDICTABLY, you get that sound youheard before...

It's no different with major chords, minor chords, 7th chords, 9ths, 11ths, 13ths, improvising, piano fills, etc... IT WORKS THE SAME WAY, and that's great news for any aspiring piano stylist, improvisor... in short, anyone who wants to learn how to play piano by ear.

The solution: sit at that piano or keyboard more often, play, listen, play it again to get that same sound... whatever it is. Keep doing this and you'll be making more accurate predictions that those weather guys and gals (hope that's good news: ))

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