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Play Piano By Ear

Being able to play the piano is a useful skill. Being able to play anything you hear on the piano is even cooler.

Unfortunately, many people feel that playing the piano is nothing more than a pipe dream. Most people don't have the time or inclination to take lessons, and feel they may never be able to learn to play music.

Well fortunately, this doesn't have to be the case. It is very possible to pick up the piano by ear, i.e. to learn the piano by listening to the sounds it produces, and how they relate to your favorite songs.

Learning to play the piano by ear does require a certain musical aptitude, and indeed not everyone will be naturally able to learn this way (translation: you may have to start the old fashioned way with lessons). If you want to start, the first thing you should be thinking about is gaining access to a piano or keyboard. You are never going to learn an instrument without being able to play and practice – you can practice in your mind all you want but without a physical instrument it won't matter all that much. Ask friends and family, see if you can book a music room at the local school, or pop into your local music store to pick up an instrument. A keyboard might be best to start with, as a portable miniature version of the larger piano which can allow you to pick up fingering technique, and allow you to practice other generally applicable techniques. And they're far cheaper than a big ol' piano to boot.

Once you've got access to a piano (or a reasonable facsimile thereof). Try a song you like that sounds to you as if it may be easy to play. Start by fooling around with the keys in the middle of the keyboard, and try to play the main tune of the song you're trying to learn. Try to play with the correcting timing, singing along to keep yourself right if necessary. After that, add a hand down at the bottom, or to the left of the keyboard. Try pressing one note that corresponds complimentarily to the tune you are playing. This will form the basis of a chord, and add the necessary harmony to your melody to produce a more comprehensive sound.

Learning to play the piano by ear is a step by step process. Remember to walk before you run, and take it very gradually to progress to playing more songs, adding different parts and working out chords. Eventually, you will begin to spot patterns, and adapt your playing techniques to accommodate your style. In no time at all, you will be able to play songs, and have the necessary skills to work out how to play others.

I'll admit this is a pretty quick 'n dirty way to explain how to play piano by ear, if you'd like to learn more about how to do it, then I'd recommend checking out this pretty darn nifty course… Piano By Pattern

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