Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2.7 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
Find a Professional
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers

Advertise on Piano World

(ad)
Accu-Tuner
Sanderson Accu-Tuner
Who's Online Now
87 registered members (आँशिका, Burkie, Bett, BoisePhil, Akaitsuki, Calllu, Bruce In Philly, 26 invisible), 950 guests, and 474 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Quick Links to Useful Piano & Music Resources
Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano & Music Accessories
*Live Piano Venues
*Music School Listings
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Directory/Site Map
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords & Scales
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Page 1 of 2 1 2
How to teach to play by ear? #1660307 04/14/11 08:31 PM
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 127
B
bobinski Offline OP
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
B
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 127
Hello!
I had a peculiar question...
I am a musician who plays by ear. I have had formal education in music and can read sheet notations, but that came later.
My daughter, who is 9years old has been taking piano lessons for about a year. She is showing great progress and according to her teacher, is quite advanced for a 1yr student. However, she obviously reads notation and plays. So far, she has completed Bastein's level 4, Mark Nevin's level 3 and is currently working on essential keyboard repertoire by lynn Olson.
However, seeing me improvise, she keeps asking me when she will be able to "listen" to a song and play it. I keep telling her that it will come with time if she keeps practising her books. However, she tries to play popular songs, which she obviously cannot and gets frustrated.
Honestly, I do not know how to teach to play by ear, neither I know how to answer her questions. She says that I don't just want to play what I read but I want to play what I hear as well. Also, most of what she plays by "reading" is classical and baroque, which she says she likes as well, but what she wants to play by "ear" is mostly pop....what her 9 year old friends listen to...she says she loves classical, but doesn't want her friends to think she is boring.
Any suggestions about how to guide her? Also, will someone's playing by ear eventually develop if he or she keeps reading and practising? At least thats what I have been telling my daughter to pacify her...but I don't want to lie.
Thanks in advance


There is no real substitute to knowledge.
(ad)
Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
Re: How to teach to play by ear? [Re: bobinski] #1660311 04/14/11 08:45 PM
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 933
daviel Offline
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 933
I thought playing by ear was just a gift; I did not know you could teach it. I have always floated along with that viewpoint. It would be interesting to hear from someone who really knew if it is teachable or not. I never thought it could be taught.


"Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."
David Loving, Waxahachie, Texas
Re: How to teach to play by ear? [Re: bobinski] #1660323 04/14/11 09:08 PM
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 304
B
blueston Offline
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
B
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 304
There are definitely ear training exercises you can teach to improve certain elements of improving your ear. But putting it all together to learn a complete song by ear is another matter and obviously depends a lot on the difficulty of the piece and your experience.

Once you have done a lot of ear training exercises you are ready to start learning simple songs. It's really a process of trial and error sometimes. Then gradually try to learn more difficult pieces.

But I definitely think if you learn lots of songs in the genre you are interested in by READING it will GREATLY help in learning similar songs by ear much faster because you will already be familiar with many of the common elements and possibilities of that style.

Ear training can start with simple exercises while the student is not looking while using a second person to

a) play 2 notes any distance apart then ask if the second one was higher or lower than the first

b) then learn the intervals (2nd, 3rd, 4ths... octaves). Have someone start by playing them and telling you what they are, then after they've heard them a few times switch over to have the student start guessing, then correct as necessary.

c) then move on to triads (major, minor, diminished, 7th etc) in the same manner.

d) then try "repeat what I do". Play any note and then ask the student to find and play that note.

e) then do groups of notes, play 2 separate notes, and ask the student to find and play them. increase to 3 or 4 separate notes in a row and see if they can play back these 4 notes.

f) play a chord in any inversion and ask student to find and play it back. You could also do this one in arpeggio form.

g) Now that you've improved your ear and know what a lot of the different elements sound like, you can pick a relatively easy/slow/small piece and see if the student can figure it all out by ear. Like I said before, if you want to make it easy, pick a piece that is very very similar to 2-3 pieces the student has already learned from notation. Or that is built on the building blocks of scales, intervals, and chords.

h) Then go on to more difficult/longer/faster pieces from there.



Re: How to teach to play by ear? [Re: blueston] #1660354 04/14/11 10:09 PM
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 127
B
bobinski Offline OP
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
B
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 127
Thankyou, blueston. That was really helpful.


There is no real substitute to knowledge.
Re: How to teach to play by ear? [Re: bobinski] #1660376 04/14/11 10:38 PM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,725
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,725
Play by ear is possible if only your daughter has the ability to hear notes.

I do not think she has perfect pitch ability, if by now she is still not able to play by ear, it is obvious she does not have that ability. From my observation, kids with perfect pitch ability will be able to hear the notes after a month or two of lesson. Therefore, you need to improve her hearing by relative pitch approach. Guessing notes like what Blueston suggested is not effective. One cannot tell a note if they do not have the reference in one's mind.

The first step is to train her to be able to sing notes. For example: She needs to memorize the interval (C to D, C to E, C to F etc), how to do accomplish this. She needs to be able to sing E after you press the C,etc. She needs to be able to do this without thinking at all...instantly. From this, you can start practicing simple melody, because now she has had reference in her mind.

Re: How to teach to play by ear? [Re: bobinski] #1660380 04/14/11 10:51 PM
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 412
B
Brinestone Offline
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
B
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 412
Intervals are key to picking out melodies. Once you can do that, chord theory is essential to fleshing out the piece. I teach my students how to play by ear, and almost all of them have been able to do it to some extent or another. Obviously talent plays a role too, but it can be learned. I suppose it helps that I teach them note reading using an intervallic method, so they're used to thinking in terms of "Is that moving up or down? How far?" I also allow a great deal of experimentation: "Okay, what do you think the next note is? That's not quite right. Is the note higher or lower than your guess?" When they get it, they can tell. Practicing doing this tends to help them get better at it so that there's less guesswork and more successes.


Piano teacher since 2008, member of NFMC
Re: How to teach to play by ear? [Re: daviel] #1660564 04/15/11 09:23 AM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,965
K
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
K
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,965
Originally Posted by daviel
I thought playing by ear was just a gift; I did not know you could teach it. I have always floated along with that viewpoint. It would be interesting to hear from someone who really knew if it is teachable or not. I never thought it could be taught.


Sure it can be taught, but...

I don't think there is any aspect of musical skill where I've seen such a huge variation in innate ability as this. I've known kids who can immitake a melody sung to them on the piano almost perfectly, first time, almost from the time they're old enough to reach the keyboard. And I know competent musicians who can't do it at all.

So, yes, it can be learned; but I think if you're brain isn't wired that way to start with, you should expect an uphill struggle.



Re: How to teach to play by ear? [Re: kevinb] #1660657 04/15/11 11:44 AM
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 127
B
bobinski Offline OP
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
B
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 127
Thankyou all. My daughter isn't tonally deaf. She could figure out the right hand notes of Fur Elise, just by listening. It's just that I wanted to know whether there is a technical way to develop it further. Now, thanks to all of you, I know there is. We will work hard on it. I believe in the saying 'where there's a will, there's a way." I think that my daughter has the will, and you guys have shown the way. Thank you again. Just one thing though, is it ok if I tell her teacher to start working on it or will it be inappropriate to suggest anything? I respect all teachers and do not want to look like I am trying to teach a teacher what to do. In fact, I wait outside the studio and never interfere with her lessons. We both (me and my daughter) are very very happy with the teacher and her progress....so I do not want to offend the teacher in any way. It's just this playing by ear thing, which is not being covered in her regular lessons.


There is no real substitute to knowledge.
Re: How to teach to play by ear? [Re: bobinski] #1660677 04/15/11 12:25 PM
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 34
C
calis Offline
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
C
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 34
bobinski,

Like you, I grew up playing by ear and became an "educated" musician later. I think that playing by ear is something that everyone can do to one extent or another. For some of us, it was easier to learn than for others.

You may be interested in this...

http://www.amazon.com/Contemporary-...mp;s=books&qid=1302887915&sr=8-1

This book may be a bit heavy for your daughter, but it approaches ear training in a way that is very practical and applicable to your daughter's needs. All of Mark Harrison's books focus on contemporary styles and this one is no exception. I think you may be able to use it (perhaps in a simplified way) to help teach your daughter.

Just a thought. Hope it helps.

Sincerely,

Justin

Re: How to teach to play by ear? [Re: bobinski] #1660724 04/15/11 01:41 PM
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 788
L
Legal Beagle Offline
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
L
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 788
Originally Posted by bobinski
is it ok if I tell her teacher to start working on it or will it be inappropriate to suggest anything?


Bobinski, I'm not a teacher, but given the situation as you describe it, rather than asking her teacher to start training her to play by ear, I think you should try doing a bit of it as a side pursuit in addition to her "proper lessons" and see how it goes. You're the one who she sees playing by ear, and my sense is she probably admires you for it.

As long as it's approached carefully on your part, with lots of patience, I see a wonderful opportunity here. I'm betting it would mean a great deal more to her to have this special thing that her dad (mom?) taught her, and it's an opportunity to really enrich your relationship with her and spend some quality time together on the piano bench that she'll treasure the rest of her life. Of course, it would depend on where your relationship with her is now and how patient you each are with one another... it could obviously go the other way also, and nobody would want that.

Re: How to teach to play by ear? [Re: bobinski] #1660736 04/15/11 02:06 PM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 4,534
G
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member
Offline
4000 Post Club Member
G
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 4,534
If she's taking classical lessons, then she won't be able to play by ear, because classical is the antithesis of by-ear playing. And don't expect any classical teacher to teach by-ear playing, because that would be invalidating the whole system of classical instruction.

The way she can learn by-ear playing is to simply sit down and dig in with both hands and play completely by ear, with no concern for theory, or right or wrong notes, or right or wrong anything. This is how you really learn about the instrument and what you can do on it, and how you train your ear (this is probably similar to how you started out on the piano by ear)--you don't get any of this in formal piano instruction.

What she's aiming for is to get to the point where she knows more or less what keys to press in order to get the sound she wants. This is going to take practice, but anyone can achieve this in a relatively short time, say, a couple of yrs. or so.

Re: How to teach to play by ear? [Re: Gyro] #1660853 04/15/11 05:36 PM
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 127
B
bobinski Offline OP
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
B
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 127
Thankyou, Calis, Legal Beagle & Gyro.

Calis, thanks for the link.

Legal Beagle...you're right. That way, I won't interfere with her classical training. I love spending time with my daughter, taking her to her classes, etc. Thanks for the tip.

Gyro...You're right. You see, she loves to play classical and strangely (for her age) likes listening to it as well. However, she wants to be able to play popular pop songs by ear, not classical. She says that her friends think she is weird when she says she listens to, say Rachmaninov (She is 9 and so are her friends.) Thanks for the support.


There is no real substitute to knowledge.
Re: How to teach to play by ear? [Re: bobinski] #1660884 04/15/11 06:47 PM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 6,261
currawong Offline
6000 Post Club Member
Offline
6000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 6,261
Originally Posted by bobinski
Gyro...You're right. You see, she loves to play classical and strangely (for her age) likes listening to it as well. However, she wants to be able to play popular pop songs by ear, not classical.
Originally Posted by Gyro
If she's taking classical lessons, then she won't be able to play by ear, because classical is the antithesis of by-ear playing. And don't expect any classical teacher to teach by-ear playing, because that would be invalidating the whole system of classical instruction.
bobinski, what Gyro says here is misleading. There are indeed classical teachers who also teach by-ear playing. Playing by ear involves familiarity with chords and harmonic progressions, by using them, and this complements classical playing. They are two sides of the one coin. Gyro would have been better to say "not every classical teacher will teach playing by ear"...


Du holde Kunst...
Re: How to teach to play by ear? [Re: bobinski] #1660913 04/15/11 07:52 PM
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 1,101
L
ll Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
L
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 1,101
Do you know how many kids there are on Youtube playing popular songs on the piano?

Most of them have "I've been taking piano lessons since I was 5..." on their profiles. As Curra pointed out, it's a skill that can be taught and is taught by certain teachers. Not all teachers think it's important, and some students wouldn't either, so it's not something you can just say yes or no to.

Any ear-training method would do, and it's vital she does any theory at the piano so she HEARS what the stuff she's writing down means (if she does it - which hopefully she does!).


II. As in, second best.
Only lowercase. So not even that.
I teach piano and violin.
BM, Violin & Percussion Performance 2009, Piano Pedagogy 2011.
Re: How to teach to play by ear? [Re: RonaldSteinway] #1661183 04/16/11 10:30 AM
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 304
B
blueston Offline
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
B
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 304
Originally Posted by RonaldSteinway
Therefore, you need to improve her hearing by relative pitch approach. Guessing notes like what Blueston suggested is not effective. One cannot tell a note if they do not have the reference in one's mind.


I just want to add a correction here as I think you missed the point entirely. The exercises I listed were not meant to teach, or rely, on perfect pitch. Learning what the intervals sound like and what chords sound like does not rely on perfect pitch in any way. I have never heard such a thing.

Also, as far as the other exercises with individual notes, maybe I did not explain it well but the point is you find the note using relative means. It should not be expected the student finds the correct note the very first guess. Instead it teaches how "quickly" you can find it using your ear, and over time to reduce the number of guesses required. Once the first guess is played the student will use "Relative" means to find the original note. The first guess is the reference note.

This is an essential skill to work on to be able to learn songs by ear. Often you will listen to a note or a few notes, then take a first guess. It will often be close but wrong, then from there you will take 1 or 2 or more guesses to find the correct note(s). This is absolutely a skill that can be improved without any reliance on perfect pitch.

Re: How to teach to play by ear? [Re: bobinski] #1661210 04/16/11 11:09 AM
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 1,516
R
R0B Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
R
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 1,516
From my own experience, Kevinb absolutely nailed it.
I teach people to play by ear, on a daily basis, and have some measure of success, depending on the student.

And to Gyro, you can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?
For too long I have read your posts about improvising/playing by ear, etc., and have no idea if you know what you are talking about.
Post a video, showing how you put your theories into practice, so that we can all learn from your profound wisdom.
In other words, put up, or ...............


Rob
Re: How to teach to play by ear? [Re: R0B] #1661216 04/16/11 11:17 AM
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 2,572
L
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
L
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 2,572
Originally Posted by R0B

In other words, put up, or ...............


It is highly disagreeable coming across this rude comment. I hope that you're just having a bad day.

Re: How to teach to play by ear? [Re: bobinski] #1661227 04/16/11 11:32 AM
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 1,516
R
R0B Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
R
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 1,516
Had a great day, actually :), teaching students who really get what playing by ear, is all about.

Rude comment you say?
Gyro has been full of sh1t, ever since I joined piano world.
He gives bad advice, and even goes so far as to give damaging medical advice, on occasions.

I realise PW considers him as a well meaning, if badly informed participant, and the management seems to give him some leeway, for reasons I don't understand, but the truth is, he never backs up any of his claims, with any factual evidence, and it is getting very old, very quickly.
Sorry if this offends the sensitive souls here.

Report me and get me banned if you like.

Apologies to the original poster. I will back out now


Rob
Re: How to teach to play by ear? [Re: R0B] #1661243 04/16/11 11:58 AM
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 178
MrsCamels Offline
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 178
I teach ear training/improv to my students and it does depend greatly on how well their pitch recognition is. That is, if the student can sing on key, they can sing their way through a piece and pick it out note by note. If they have trouble singing on key, hunting and pecking notes won't be doable - just as blueston suggested. He was right - she'll have to train herself to be more on pitch and then she'll be able to do it.

I think it'd be best to get a computer game that teaches ear training. There are lots of them out there. essentially, all the games will play intervals and she'll have to identify what they are. It can be alot of fun for someone her age and in no time, she'll be improving her recognition and will have more success when she tries to figure things out.

Also - you can ask her teacher to connect the theory she's learning to playing by ear. For example, if she learns I IV V progressions, she'll can intellectually understand that would be a great guess when trying to figure out the progressions of her favorite songs, etc.

I teach ear training in lessons by helping students identify intervals and also guide them through figuring out songs on their own. I might supply the left hand chords, for example and give them the starting note and then ask them to figure out the next few notes, etc. And build on that at each lesson.



Teaching since 2004
Private studio owner since 2008
www.ecsorota.com
Re: How to teach to play by ear? [Re: bobinski] #1661245 04/16/11 12:01 PM
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 178
MrsCamels Offline
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 178


Teaching since 2004
Private studio owner since 2008
www.ecsorota.com
Page 1 of 2 1 2

Moderated by  Ken Knapp 

(ad)
Pianoteq
PianoTeq Bechstein
Shop our Store for Music Lovers!
PianoSupplies.com is Piano World's Online Store
Please visit our store today.
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Dampers on a Yamaha upright
by JuanTenorio - 12/06/19 08:44 PM
Another mental health thread: What if....
by malkin - 12/06/19 08:43 PM
Telecom Beethoven Competition
by pianoloverus - 12/06/19 08:36 PM
Note reading: low to high?
by DutchTea - 12/06/19 07:38 PM
Chopin 10/8 —Do I have idiots ffor fingers
by Coda9 - 12/06/19 07:03 PM
What's Hot!!
Our August Newsletter is Out!
------------------
Mason & Hamlin Piano Factory Tour!

-------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
Forum Statistics
Forums41
Topics195,538
Posts2,899,227
Members95,167
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers


Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers


 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter |


copyright 1997 - 2019 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.3