Home » Arts and Entertainment » Music

Piano Playing Tips - How To Play Piano By Ear

Sep 16, 2008
Most piano students receive some ear training at their piano lessons, but it is done away from the instrument. Unfortunately this theoretical training has very little practical use for learning how to play piano by ear. To take music making to an advanced level, musicians need to be able to play what they hear in their heads at the piano, and without looking at the keys!

Often, players want to learn how to play piano by ear, but they don't know where to start. Here are some ways musicians can practice so that they will know how to play piano by ear:

Play with other musicians as often as possible.

Making music with others encourages new ways of playing and listening to music. Playing from printed scores or lead sheets is usually necessary, but in a group everyone has to learn to listen to the other players. Slowly, the brain's analytic hold on music making lets go, and the ear will take over.

Practice familiar pieces with eyes closed.

Musicians need to let go of the need to watch printed music if they are going to play piano by ear. It takes practice, but once a piece can can be played through with eyes closed, new ways of playing are discovered. There will be an extra layer of security when performing: an aural image of the piece will drive the performance.

Play along with recorded music without using a score.

Play a recording of an easy tune and play along. At first finding notes will be difficult, and can feel strange. Slowly, more of the notes will be found. This will take at at least six months to see big improvements, but is very worthwhile.

Sit down and create original music spontaneously.

Take a break from practicing and play for fun! Play a memorized piece or create an improvisation. The ear will continue to develop whenever the printed score is put away!

Test your ear with a friend.

Turn away from the piano and have someone play a note. Try to play the exact note played.
Develop an aural image of the note's pitch in your head. Keep practicing this exercise, trying to reach for the note as it is heard. Slowly, this will become instinctual with practice. This is very useful for playing large leaps accurately. If a player can find the correct notes without looking at the keys, their playing will be much more secure.

Participate in group sessions.

Many musicians hold open sessions and welcome players to join in. This is intimidating for some players. If this is new, they can start by just listening in. Experienced players will often help other players, and are available for private lessons. For the best lessons to learn how to play piano by ear, find a teacher that will teach by example - jamming - without using printed scores.

To learn to play by ear, a musician needs to practice ear training at the piano so that the ear takes over.
As a players becomes more comfortable playing piano by ear, new musical worlds open up! Their playing becomes easier, more enjoyable, and all aspects of their musicianship improve.
About the Author
PianoJournal.com is a resource site for piano players, with articles and videos of piano playing tips, including how to play piano by ear.
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 166
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Acne
    • Aerobics
    • Alternative Medicine
    • Beauty
    • Cancer
    • Cosmetics
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases and Conditions
    • Fitness Equipment
    • Fitness
    • Hair Loss
    • Heart Disease
    • Medicine
    • Men's Health
    • Muscle Building
    • Nutrition
    • Skin Care
    • Supplements and Vitamins
    • Weight Loss
    • Women's Health
    • Yoga
    • Arts and Crafts
    • Babies
    • Collecting
    • Elderly Care
    • Genealogy
    • Hobbies
    • Parenting
    • Pets
    • Pregnancy
    • Woodworking
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources