I am not fortunate enough to have the ability to play piano by ear. But there are many people who possess this skill. It’s a skill I am trying to learn. While you may come across the extremely rare prodigy that can do this with ease, it is not a common occurrence. If you would like to learn to play the piano by ear without taking formal lessons, here are some tips you should find helpful.
Here are 5 useful tips for playing piano by ear:
1. Learn a Song
I don’t mean that you should be a casual listener of one of your favorites songs. You should select a song that is not very familiar to you and devote time to learning it inside and out.
This includes listening close and taking note of all sounds, emphasis and changes. Choose a song with a nice melody. It will be more likely to hold your interest.
2. Start Singing
Do not worry if you don’t have the best voice. This has nothing to do with learning to play the piano.
You need to sing while you are playing around with the keys and focus on the sounds coming from the keys meshing with the melody you are creating vocally. You can hum if you are really not a fan of singing and you feel like it would hinder your progress.
3. Learning Patterns
This is essential when trying to learn to play piano by ear. It is not as simple as memorizing everything. While it is possible to play songs based on memory alone, do you want to be stuck in a world where you are limited to what you can create once your fingers hit the keys?
Once you learn to master patterns, you will have the ability to impress people once they see how many songs are in your repertoire.
4. Recognizing Intervals
When it comes to music, intervals are the spaces that exist between notes. If you learn to recognize these, you will be that much closer to teaching yourself to play the piano.
Two kinds of intervals exist, Melodic ones exist between individual notes while harmonic ones are between two specific chords that are being played at the same time. Virtually all songs contain both types, so recognizing them is a big step when trying to learn piano.
Even if you are a relatively intelligent person, this will have no bearing on your learning ability. The only way that you will get better at playing by ear is with plenty of practice. Keep in mind that there is no guarantee that doing so will make you some type of piano expert, But there is no way to find out if it is a possibility without making a solid attempt.
If you don’t have time and patience to devote to this process, it will never work. Learning to play by ear is for people who understand that great things often take longer than one would like. For those who cannot grasp this, you would be better off signing up for formal lessons.
Have you tried playing piano by ear? How did you learn to do it? Share your tips and advice below!
Hello! My Name is Scott and I am the Piano Dad! I started taking piano lessons as an adult to spend time with my 8 year old daughter and love every minute of it. I created this site to help other pianists learn more about playing piano as an adult. Hope you enjoy and learn a little something!