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How To Play Piano By Ear (For Beginners)


  • The piano is a beautiful instrument that has the ability to create a wide range of sounds and emotions.
  • Many people dream of being able to play the piano, but may feel intimidated by the prospect of learning to read sheet music.
  • However, it is possible to learn how to play the piano by ear, which means that you can learn to play the instrument simply by listening to and imitating the sounds you hear.
  • In this article, we will cover the basics of playing the piano by ear, and provide some tips and resources for beginners to get started.

I. What is playing the piano by ear?

  • Playing the piano by ear refers to the ability to play music on the instrument without the need to read sheet music.
  • This means that you can listen to a song, and then try to recreate the sounds on the piano simply by using your ear to guide you.
  • Playing by ear can be a challenging skill to develop, but it can also be very rewarding, as it allows you to play music in a more intuitive and expressive way.

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How to start learning to play the piano by ear

  1. Familiarize yourself with the layout of the piano keys: The first thing you'll need to do is become familiar with the layout of the piano keys. There are 88 keys on a standard piano, and they are arranged in a repeating pattern of 12 keys (7 white keys and 5 black keys).
  2. Listen to music and try to replicate the sounds: One of the best ways to start learning to play the piano by ear is to listen to music and try to replicate the sounds on the piano. Start with simple melodies, and try to play along with the music using just your ear as a guide.
  3. Experiment with different sounds and rhythms: As you become more comfortable playing the piano by ear, try experimenting with different sounds and rhythms. Pay attention to the way different notes and chords sound, and try creating your own melodies and chord progressions.
  4. Practice regularly: Like any skill, playing the piano by ear will take time and practice to develop. Try to set aside time to practice regularly, even if it's just for a few minutes a day.

Tips for improving your piano-playing-by-ear skills

  1. Pay attention to the melody: When you're listening to a song and trying to play it on the piano, pay close attention to the melody. The melody is the main theme of the song, and it's usually played by the lead instrument (such as a guitar or vocalist).
  2. Practice playing by ear with different genres of music: Playing the piano by ear is a skill that can be applied to any genre of music, so try experimenting with different styles to see what works best for you.
  3. Use online resources and tutorials: There are plenty of online resources and tutorials available that can help you learn to play the piano by ear. From YouTube videos to online courses, these resources can provide valuable guidance and feedback as you develop your skills.
  4. Find a mentor or teacher: If you're serious about learning to play the piano by ear, consider finding a mentor or teacher who can guide you and provide personalized feedback. A good mentor or teacher can help you identify and overcome any challenges you may be facing, and can provide guidance and support as you develop your skills. They can also help you set goals and create a practice plan that works for you.

Learning to play the piano by ear is a valuable skill that can open up a world of musical possibilities. By familiarizing yourself with the layout of the piano keys, listening to music and trying to replicate the sounds, experimenting with different sounds and rhythms, and practicing regularly, you can develop your skills and become a proficient pianist by ear. Don't be afraid to seek out resources and guidance along the way, and remember to have fun and enjoy the process of learning to play the piano. With time and dedication, you can become a skilled and expressive pianist who can play beautiful music simply by using your ear.

Even if you’ve never played a single note, Playground Sessions will get you hooked and having fun from day one.

QUINCY JONESCo-creator of Playground Sessions, winner of 28 Grammys and producer of Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

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