There are two ways to learn to play piano: ear and sheet. Each methodology has pros & cons, which we are going reveal in this post. However, we would also focus on learning to play piano by ear to make you able to compose and create your own masterpieces. All the world-famous pianists and composers created their overtures by ear.
How To Play Piano By Ear? Easy Step-By-Step Guide
And many pianists, especially the beginning ones, are sure that they will never create masterpieces as Mozart or Chopin did because they are tone-deaf. However, only 4% of people on Earth have this diagnosis. So, follow the reading to meet guidance to learn the piano by ear!
- 1 What Does It Mean To Play Piano By Ear?
- 2 Playing Piano By Ear VS. Sheet Music
- 3 Can I Learn To Play Piano By Ear? – 4 Steps
- 4 How Long Does It Take To Learn to Playing Piano By Ear?
- 5 How To Play Piano By Ear: Final Words
What Does It Mean To Play Piano By Ear?
Most people are sure that the skill of playing by listening is a talent and gift from the Lord. Nonetheless, it’s absolutely false! The ability to make a harmonic melody without a note sheet is the product of training your ears through trial and error.
So, playing piano by listening means the feeling of chords & keys, memorizing notes, and making a balanced melody. This skill also lets to replicate favorite songs without reading music notes. For unfixed reasons, beginning pianists and composers are sure that they have to have a perfect pitch to sound good.
Nevertheless, playing piano by ear is a skill. You have to spend a lot of time near the keyboard of your piano and go through ups and downs to achieve chord progressions and make your own melody patterns. It’s unnecessary to fare the teacher to have piano lessons. Playing piano by ear is about improvisation and some technics, which you can study during you train your ear.
Is Playing The Piano By Ear A Gift?
No, it is not. In the first turn, creating and playing songs by ear is about skills, chord progressions, and never-ending hours of practice. You just have to learn some techniques of playing by ear and improvise.
From the first attempts, it may sound like a complete cacophony. This effect is absolutely normal for listening pianists, who only get started.
We should mention that there are also some cases when people get the perfect pitch of a God present. Such cases happen infrequently, however, the first features of capable nature pianists are visible from childhood. The gifted child will always intend to play the piano by ear and neglect the written music.
Playing Piano By Ear VS. Sheet Music
So, playing piano by ear and learning the theory of written music are the methods to learn piano playing. We should point out that sheet music lessons are counted as traditional ones and are more frequently chosen.
The lessons of note music may seem more professional compared because of scales and the wider diversity of specialists, which allows for deciding on a professional teacher. Despite this fact, it doesn’t mean that sheet musicians are more pro than ear ones.
The musical skills of ear and sheet music pianists are equivalent. However, the first type is able to recognize and replicate any song without notes. For its part, the second type can only figure out some aspects of piano improvisation and interpretate it in accordance with the note writing.
However, what is more perspective and allows you to build a career as a great pianist? Let’s reveal this equation below and figure out the advantages!
Advantages Of Playing By Ear
So, playing piano by ear demands a deep understanding of the theory of how to play piano and the basic knowledge of composition, including chord progressions. If the student has a reliable base of such knowledge, he or she will be ready to get started learning to play by ear.
The methodology of play by ear will be useful for the replication and repeating of well-known melodies. Such songs as “Canon” or “Clair de Lune” are famous and simple melodies to play by ear.
However, not every aced piano teacher and player will be able to play difficult compositions by ear. If someone can play Mozart or Chopin without notes, this person is definitely gifted with a perfect pitch.
Have you ever heard about rote memorization? So, this is very useful for learning to play by ear. The rote memorization method is also frequently utilized by teachers in sheet music lessons. This taking develops multitasking and allows one to concentrate on the hand placement and feeling the layout & scale of the piano naturally.
So, the method of playing by ear is very fascinating and opens a lot of career opportunities. However, learning to play by ear may become a bit stressful and disappointing because of the frequent ups and downs.
Advantages Of Playing With Sheet Music
Learning piano by sheet is the simplest and the most efficient way to learn to play piano by ear. Sheet music and the interpreting of sheet music are the basis of playing the piano. The ability to read music is required if you intend to make a career as a great pianist.
Besides, if you want to play other instruments in the future, the skill of music reading is also useful. If you play melody reading the notes, it means that you are knowledgeable and can read notes and dynamics, puzzle out how to place your hands correctly, and push the keys playing chords.
However, developing the ability of multitasking isn’t the main pro. Playing with sheets builds new neuro connections in your brain and motor skills. Sheet music is more about written-out melodies and notes than improvised chords.
And, finally, it is the simplest way to learn how to play piano. You don’t have to spend hours and stress a lot about creating a harmonic melody. With sheet learning, it’s enough to print the song, carefully study it and start playing. So, there is nothing hassle, just fun!
Can I Learn To Play Piano By Ear? – 4 Steps
Comparing sheet learning and listening, we decided that the second one is more uncommon and difficult. However, it also gives more career opportunities. Therefore, meet the 4-step guidance below to start playing the piano by hearing!
Step 1: Learn To Play Piano By Ear Listening To The Song
As soon as you decided on a melody you want to play, you should listen to it as much as possible until you will understand the possible concept of playing. After you got it, you are recommended to cut the song at intervals.
Listen to one interval as many times as you need and try to repeat it with your right or left hand. To prevent the cacophony, you should remember to press black keys as well as white ones.
A tip for you: start playing from the middle of the keyboard. Most of the preferable songs for ear training are orientated on this area of the keyboard.
In the deal of learning the playoff piano, it’s very important to ensure that you replicate the little intervals of a song. Otherwise, there is a risk of possible disappointment in your music skills.
Step 2: To Play Piano By Ear, Start With Your Right Hand
It is also important to start playing using the fingers of the right hand. The fact that most of the songs for piano ear training are played on the right center of the piano, it will be useful to play with the right hand for such a purpose. Always locate your hands on a keyboard corresponding to the song.
Step 3: Time To Introduce Some Music Theory
So, when music theory comes into play, you should switch on your left hand and play by it. To play C major chord, you have to explore the keyboard and find a place with two black keys. Then, you will find a “C” on the left side of this duo of black keys.
Place your little finger on the found key C, and then put your middle finger on the next white musical key E, and your thumb on the G key. Press these three keys at the same time and you will get a harmonious sound called a “C major chord”. As a rule, melodies contain these chords along with minor ones.
To find a minor chord, you need to move your middle finger (third finger) to the E flat key – that’s the black key on the right in a group of two black keys. Press these 3 keys together to hear the “C Minor chord”. You can change and diversify the chords and improvise with them. Just practice this technique on your favorite songs and you will see how it changes the patterns.
Step 4: Play The Melody & Add Some Chords
Finally, play the melody with learned chords and improvisation. Especially showing the improvisations with major and minor chords. Try to change the keys: skip some of them or add new ones. It’s also a good idea to use the techniques of the pedals to make the sound louder or toneless. Don’t be scared to compose and play songs by ear, it’s just about piano learning and mistakes could figure during the lessons.
How Long Does It Take To Learn to Playing Piano By Ear?
If you ask us how long learning piano without notes takes, we wouldn’t support you with a precise trial.
The term depends on so many criteria and one of them is the availability of experience in the past years.
If your hands are well-adapted and feel the instrument, it may take around 4 months if you have a really strong desire. Some pianists, which are well-orientated in the conceptions of playing piano with notes will be able to play their favorite songs by improvisation in a month.
If you have no experience at all and just want to play piano without notes, the studying process may take around one year. Pay attention to the fact, that around 8 months will be spent on learning. Below we mentioned some tips on how to shorten this period and make make the progress faster!
First of all, you should start your lessons with something simple. It’s a good idea to learn the basic key combinations, explore the simple melodies, and try to repeat them. We recommend deciding on songs, that have a similar time and key signature. Such songs are useful for beginners and support them with confidence during the play.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Learning playing the piano, you should always keep in mind regular practice. As soon as you learned new combinations, you should practice the theory on the keyboard. Regular play on piano develops the special motor skills and makes your fingers adapt. Get ready to make a lot of mistakes, but don’t get disappointed! We study and achieve high results only by making mistakes!
How To Play Piano By Ear: Final Words
So, playing by ear is an uncommon and unsimple way to learn how to play piano. However, the skill to make harmonic sounds by improvising them gives a lot of career opportunities and chances to become great composers & pianists!
This way of learning is affordable to everyone because you can study on your own and even download free online courses. Such online courses may train you how to make musical sounds. You should also get ready for a lot of mistakes. However, don’t become disappointed, just relish the studying process and have fun!
Hello! My name is Lucy.
I am a musician, pianist, and piano teacher with over 10 years of experience. I, along with my professional team, created this website. Here I want to share my experience and knowledge with you. I write articles about learning the piano, its features and history, and reviews of the best digital pianos and accessories.
I hope my site will be useful to you!