Fly Little Birdy

This is a stark lesson of playing by ear.  When you’re done taking lessons and know your chords, you’ll settle down on a comfy perch atop your plateau of skill. You aren’t seeking out advanced courses in styling or other courses and maybe don’t have the time.  You ‘re satisfied with how you play but…

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The Black Hole In The Music Galaxy

Being able to play piano by ear is more than just playing the piano.  It is a science of numbers that lets you keep track of where you are and where you are going.  You play intelligently because you understand chords and how to put them together. It really is that easy.  Knowing the basic…

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Bach Was a Hack

There’s no “who’s better or best” comparison between the classical pianist and the play-by-ear hack.  They both wish for the talents of the other but what they want most are the skills of the hack; to understand the instrument and be able to play by ear. Embarrassment and Snubbery A“hack” is one that lacks technical…

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Avoid One-Dimensional Theory

Throughout taking standard piano lessons, we are piece-mealed music theory at the rate and order that the teacher thinks best.  When you end lessons, you may grasp some theory but overall, lack the full picture because you don’t have all the pieces to the puzzle. It’s a puzzle that you cannot see without first having…

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And It Was Good – Composer Intent

I took a play-by-ear hiatus and visited Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.  It took Mr. Gutzon Borglum 14 years to blast out the rock and chisel the faces.  Then, they were done. Just think about the day he made that final decision.  Realizing finality-of-task, he looked at his work and, in His best image as…

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Counting Is the Key to Playing Anything

Reading music is a major part of playing the piano by ear.  Ideally, you want to look at any lead sheet with chords and make your own arrangement.  The Ultimate End Game is to quickly interpret and play any song that is written; familiar or not. The best music in your future is stuff you…

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The “Gift” of Playing By Ear

  When it comes to playing by ear and playing the piano in general, there are always people that play better than you.  Just like any skill, some people just have natural abilities but the deck is stacked against you if you don’t have at least one “gift.” You might have more than one if…

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Chords Lay The Path To Playing By Ear

When playing the piano by ear, the science of music organizes your musical mind and controls how you get around.  It’s the plan.  It’s what all musicians that play by ear have in common; they all  know how to get around. While many get lost in the notion that “getting around” is some mysterious skill,…

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The “Play By Ear” Hoax

Hoax is a big word in playing by ear.  “Yeah, I play a little piano . . . “ doesn’t really mean much in most cases.  We wore out an already worn-out piano in my grandma’s basement playing chopsticks.  My sister Marjorie played Heart and Soul. To me she was Queen of The Keys.  We…

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Simplicity Versus Anti-Music

One student that took piano lessons from me was self-taught.  He could play by ear with some coordination and rhythm but couldn’t identify the chords.  He had no idea what he was doing.  He’d been playing for years but had stagnated in his own limited box of knowledge. “Play something.”  I asked “Let me play…

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