How Do You Play Piano By Ear?
To play by ear means to pick out pieces that you know or have heard, without reading sheet music. Playing your own compositions and improvising are also wonderful ways to create music and play by ear.
Some people just seem to naturally learn to play piano by ear easily, while others need to work harder. But as with everything else- it takes practice to make perfect. Here you will learn how to get started!
The trick is to start very simple.
Pick a very easy piece that you know very well- let's say “Hot cross buns".
Too easy? Pick anything you like, but start with something really simple-otherwise you might just give up.
Then, step by step...here's what you do:
1. Listen to the melody several times.
2. Play any key on the piano, and search until you find the first note of the melody.
3. Then find a few more notes. You can either hum along, which is the easiest, or keep playing and listening to segments of the recording.
4. Keep picking out the melody of the song one little bit at a time until you have it all. Focus only on the melody, not the background accompaniment.
5. Mistakes are allowed! Make as many mistakes as you need- you will actually learn to find your way around the keys of the piano better if you "fiddle around" a bit.
Once you have found the melody, play it several times so you learn it well. You can play only one hand- often the right for the melody, or both, or take turns. It gives you some extra practice.