Playing by ear : LUSENET : Everything About Teaching and Learning the Piano : One Thread

Hello and God Bless everyone. I hope I wont be too long with this but there are some things that I would like to know. I was in church watching the organ player play and he was really sounding good. I went up to him and asked him how long has he played and how long it toook him to be able to read music. He said he's been playing for 11 years and doesn't read music. This really discouraged me becaus I have been playing for a little over a year now and reading music is coming along very slow so I said thats it I want to also learn to play by ear. What I want to know is when someone says they play by ear what did they do first to learn and play? I know they didn't just sit at the piano for the first time and start playing music. Did they first learn there scales and all chords? How do you practice to play by ear? Can anyone tell me what to start doing to play by ear? Sorry so long. Thank you and God Bless! Carl

-- Carl Burgette (, January 02, 2002


I think it's different for everyone. Many players just go to the piano and pick it out. There really is no preparation for "playing by ear" - you just do it. In my case, I was picking out all kinds of chords before I new what they were called. I just experimented a lot and tried to see what sounded good.

-- Jason (, January 02, 2002.

Read the "Playing by Ear" posting under the Practicing section of the old messages on this board.

-- Alan (, January 02, 2002.

I've played piano 20 of my 23 years and read music about as well as a kindergardner reads a Dick and Jane book. And actually you do learn to play by ear by just sitting and playing music. Noone can tell you how to play by ear, all you have to do is start playing and figuring out what sounds good together. I played (and even wrote) music for a long time before I knew what it was that I was doing. If I were you, I would learn basic Major and Minor scales (each note has a respective chord) and try to play along with some of your favorite music.

-- Josh Gregory (, January 06, 2002.

I've hunted and pecked on a piano since I was about 12 years old and did this off and on for 40 years. I Guessed at which key to hit until I got fairly good at it. At one point I thought I'd try lessons but I never had the stick-to-it attitude.

Eventually, I learned on my own what chords were and how to construct them, the scales and how to play them. Part was right the other part was wrong. You only need know how chords are contructed not scales or scale practice. Then I found on the the internet. This guy has it down. If you really want to play by ear, check it out. I'm playing with both hands and it sounds great. I ain't know Liberace but I'm quantum leaps from hunting and pecking with one finger. If I can hum the tune, I can play it.

-- Don Shonk (, December 27, 2004.

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