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Lesson Learned: Playing By Ear vs Sight Reading #2748374
06/30/18 04:45 PM
06/30/18 04:45 PM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 33
Los Angeles
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RhodesFanatic Offline OP
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Los Angeles
For any of you adult beginners, especially those who have pecked keys without any prior training, pick ONE method and stick with it. After rambling and getting stuck and giving up, I fully decided on PbyE. Saved me a lot of grief and frustration.

"The Secrets to Playing By Ear" by Jermaine Griggs helped A LOT. No affiliation whatsoever. He does use basic ledgers in some of his examples but most of the way ti's about chord progressions, intervals, inversions,and ear training. Easy to pick up as long as you follow along and stay focused his lessons.


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Re: Lesson Learned: Playing By Ear vs Sight Reading [Re: RhodesFanatic] #2748408
06/30/18 07:45 PM
06/30/18 07:45 PM
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 1,632
In the Ozarks of Missouri
NobleHouse Offline
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Originally Posted by RhodesFanatic
For any of you adult beginners, especially those who have pecked keys without any prior training, pick ONE method and stick with it. After rambling and getting stuck and giving up, I fully decided on PbyE. Saved me a lot of grief and frustration.

"The Secrets to Playing By Ear" by Jermaine Griggs helped A LOT. No affiliation whatsoever. He does use basic ledgers in some of his examples but most of the way ti's about chord progressions, intervals, inversions,and ear training. Easy to pick up as long as you follow along and stay focused his lessons.


I am happy for you that you have found a method that works for you. Sticking with the piano is the key to progressing and enjoyment.


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Re: Lesson Learned: Playing By Ear vs Sight Reading [Re: RhodesFanatic] #2748439
06/30/18 11:16 PM
06/30/18 11:16 PM
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 839
Moscow, Russia
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Iaroslav Vasiliev Offline
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Moscow, Russia
Glad that it works for you, but this piece of advice is not something I would agree with.

Re: Lesson Learned: Playing By Ear vs Sight Reading [Re: RhodesFanatic] #2748457
07/01/18 02:40 AM
07/01/18 02:40 AM
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 232
Sweden
Animisha Offline
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Sweden
I would say exactly on the contrary. Try different methods. I played Alfred's all in one piano course way, way too long. I wish I had discovered all the stuff Albert doesn't talk about in their books earlier. Book 1 and book 2, and not a single word about phrasing. frown


It is a happy talent to know how to play.
Re: Lesson Learned: Playing By Ear vs Sight Reading [Re: RhodesFanatic] #2748728
07/02/18 09:09 AM
07/02/18 09:09 AM
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 484
Toronto, Canada
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thepianoplayer416 Offline
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Toronto, Canada
The topic of playing by ear vs. reading music has been discussed before. Every have their way of learning their pieces. A few months ago went to a piano recital. This 9 year-old prodigy played an all Classical repertoire (Schubert, Mozart, Bach, etc.) for 40m entirely by memory. We assumed people who perform Classical music learn their pieces by reading. In a concert whether you have sheet music in front of you is irrelevant as long as you can get through the pieces.

Met a man a while ago who learned a few pieces of Classical music by watching video tutorials. He hated learning notations. Used to tell him if he is going to learn a 7m piece in 3 months would be easier for him to have the sheet music. He insisted music notations is a foreign language that would be too difficult to learn. Wouldn't even try reading an easy piece like "Mary Had a Little Lamb". Can't really say he has a learning disability. When you listen to him he plays his pieces very well but to this day still prefers to do the painstaking thing of watching people's hand patterns in videos.

A lot depends on the style of music you get into. With Classical people tend to associate reading music as a requirement. Some get to the point of being note-readers that they can't play a thing without the music in front. Some musicians can play both ways like reading through a piece and playing something improvised in the style of Chopin on the spot.

Re: Lesson Learned: Playing By Ear vs Sight Reading [Re: RhodesFanatic] #2748735
07/02/18 09:38 AM
07/02/18 09:38 AM
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 2,399
Owen Sound, Ontario
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Greener Offline

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Owen Sound, Ontario
Nice, fair balanced view, thepianoplayer416.

Thing is, in the long run both contribute to your musicianship in an important way, so the issue becomes less and less of an either / or.

The best thing is to be able to do both well. Many can too, so it's not like impossible or anything. Just takes time. The pendulum swings easily from one extreme to the other and the best solution seems to be somewhere in the middle.

Re: Lesson Learned: Playing By Ear vs Sight Reading [Re: thepianoplayer416] #2748739
07/02/18 09:51 AM
07/02/18 09:51 AM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 2,423
Tyrone Slothrop Online content
Tyrone Slothrop  Online Content


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Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416
Met a man a while ago who learned a few pieces of Classical music by watching video tutorials. He hated learning notations. Used to tell him if he is going to learn a 7m piece in 3 months would be easier for him to have the sheet music. He insisted music notations is a foreign language that would be too difficult to learn. Wouldn't even try reading an easy piece like "Mary Had a Little Lamb". Can't really say he has a learning disability. When you listen to him he plays his pieces very well but to this day still prefers to do the painstaking thing of watching people's hand patterns in videos.

This reminds me of the boyfriend of a friend of my wife's. He is a globetrotting entrepreneur who runs a string of companies who has a number of odd ideas. For example, he prides himself on running all of his companies from the road out of a single suitcase, which is so efficiently packed, he would put George Clooney's character in the movie "Up in the Air", to shame - probably one of the first digital "nomads".

But related to your tale about the anti-reading acquaintance, this person is a polyglot and knows to speak 10+ languages including Russian and Mandarin Chinese, however has never picked up a language book or learned to read these languages. That's because his entire purpose for learning languages is communication and culture. And reading/writing or even normal language learning systems are completely uninteresting to him. Instead, he dives in trying to communicate with people who don't know any of his other 9 languages and muddles through in this manner until he is fluent in their language. What he lacks in grammar and language structure though, he makes up in joie de vivre and and unmatchable ease in communicating -- almost like a child, with nothing holding him back in trying out new languages and expressing what is on his mind in a new language he has never spoken before. As an example, my wife's friend only speaks Mandarin Chinese and French, and yet neither is is first language, but he has no problems at all communicating with her quite freely. My wife and I tested his Chinese and Russian, and it was very impressive mastered, although he would not be able to read a single word of either language, nor would he want to.


across the stone, deathless piano performances
Re: Lesson Learned: Playing By Ear vs Sight Reading [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2748822
07/02/18 03:54 PM
07/02/18 03:54 PM
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 1,641
Warsaw, Poland
Qazsedcft Offline
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Warsaw, Poland
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
But related to your tale about the anti-reading acquaintance, this person is a polyglot and knows to speak 10+ languages including Russian and Mandarin Chinese, however has never picked up a language book or learned to read these languages. That's because his entire purpose for learning languages is communication and culture. And reading/writing or even normal language learning systems are completely uninteresting to him. Instead, he dives in trying to communicate with people who don't know any of his other 9 languages and muddles through in this manner until he is fluent in their language. What he lacks in grammar and language structure though, he makes up in joie de vivre and and unmatchable ease in communicating -- almost like a child, with nothing holding him back in trying out new languages and expressing what is on his mind in a new language he has never spoken before. As an example, my wife's friend only speaks Mandarin Chinese and French, and yet neither is is first language, but he has no problems at all communicating with her quite freely. My wife and I tested his Chinese and Russian, and it was very impressive mastered, although he would not be able to read a single word of either language, nor would he want to.

That's interesting but to be frank I find it quite stupid and limiting. Even if his purpose is just communicating with people reading and writing are pretty much necessary in the modern world. How would he read signs or a map to get around in a foreign country? How would he order things? People want to communicate online or through mobile devices too, and they do that in writing. It seems what he's doing only works if speaking with foreigner in his own country, which is a rather sad use of speaking 10 languages.


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Re: Lesson Learned: Playing By Ear vs Sight Reading [Re: Qazsedcft] #2748835
07/02/18 04:45 PM
07/02/18 04:45 PM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 2,423
Tyrone Slothrop Online content
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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
That's interesting but to be frank I find it quite stupid and limiting. Even if his purpose is just communicating with people reading and writing are pretty much necessary in the modern world. How would he read signs or a map to get around in a foreign country? How would he order things? People want to communicate online or through mobile devices too, and they do that in writing. It seems what he's doing only works if speaking with foreigner in his own country, which is a rather sad use of speaking 10 languages.

I personally agree with you. I have two languages I've been pecking away at these last several years myself, for which the sole purpose is to be able to read native-language literature. But if I were to describe what I think his rationale is, it is that he doesn't care much about functional literacy. As an affluent traveler, he really doesn't need to be functionally literate in any language except English to be able to make do. I directly know this from having worked in countries which speak languages very different from English. He does not really need to read street signs (and would probably prefer asking people where he is in their language anyways), he does not need to read a map, and I imagine if he can transliterate the language into Latin alphabet, people would still understand him. My wife and I transliterate other languages into the Latin alphabet all the time, and I myself have never encountered a problem. I just speculate that the problems you identify don't prove to be roadblocks for him. His entire goal though is sharing of ideas, for which I suppose he has decided requires him to speak other languages. I suppose that if he meets goal, then he is content, even though he continues to be functionally illiterate in those languages he is learning.


across the stone, deathless piano performances
Re: Lesson Learned: Playing By Ear vs Sight Reading [Re: RhodesFanatic] #2748838
07/02/18 04:53 PM
07/02/18 04:53 PM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 16,435
Canada
keystring Offline
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I respect the OP's choice, but I'm not happy seeing this presented as advice. If one can get a balance between hearing/ear and reading that is probably the best of two worlds, and they are interrelated anyway.

Re: Lesson Learned: Playing By Ear vs Sight Reading [Re: RhodesFanatic] #2748846
07/02/18 05:23 PM
07/02/18 05:23 PM
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Posts: 11,323
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bennevis Offline
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I'd say that if you have absolutely no interest in classical or in using lead sheets, and just want to be able to play what you've heard in your own way (however basic), there's no need to be able to read music. Lots of folk, pop, rock and jazz musicians get by without ever learning to read music.

The downside of course, is that you can never play anything you haven't heard before. A bit like relying totally on someone else reading 'War and Peace' (or 'Fifty Shades of Grey', depending on your predilection) to you, if you want to know the story. OK, there's always the movie...... wink

As for languages, I can speak four languages fairly fluently but only read & write in one easily. What little I learnt to read & write of the other three had long ago been lost from disuse. But there are two other languages which I can probably read more easily than I can speak, which is fine because I rarely ever have to speak in those languages.......


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Lesson Learned: Playing By Ear vs Sight Reading [Re: RhodesFanatic] #2748855
07/02/18 05:44 PM
07/02/18 05:44 PM
Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 780
Union SC
dobro Offline
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I dodged reading music while playing guitar for decades and only now realize I made a huge mistake.


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Re: Lesson Learned: Playing By Ear vs Sight Reading [Re: bennevis] #2748873
07/02/18 06:58 PM
07/02/18 06:58 PM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 2,423
Tyrone Slothrop Online content
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Joined: Apr 2018
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Originally Posted by bennevis
As for languages, I can speak four languages fairly fluently but only read & write in one easily.

Are you including English? Because if so, I am reading fluent English here, which means your native language must have been neglected. And that is just frown


across the stone, deathless piano performances
Re: Lesson Learned: Playing By Ear vs Sight Reading [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2748880
07/02/18 07:13 PM
07/02/18 07:13 PM
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 11,323
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bennevis Offline
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by bennevis
As for languages, I can speak four languages fairly fluently but only read & write in one easily.

Are you including English? Because if so, I am reading fluent English here, which means your native language must have been neglected. And that is just frown

Yes, my native language has long been neglected, because no-one uses it here in the UK, where I have been living for most of my life..........


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Lesson Learned: Playing By Ear vs Sight Reading [Re: Animisha] #2748913
07/02/18 11:05 PM
07/02/18 11:05 PM
Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 323
Not behind my piano
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Originally Posted by Animisha
I would say exactly on the contrary. Try different methods. I played Alfred's all in one piano course way, way too long. I wish I had discovered all the stuff Albert doesn't talk about in their books earlier. Book 1 and book 2, and not a single word about phrasing. frown


I am finding Alfred's quite *cough* boring as all get out *cough*. All of the arrangements are so weird!

Re: Lesson Learned: Playing By Ear vs Sight Reading [Re: JazzyMac] #2748940
07/03/18 03:26 AM
07/03/18 03:26 AM
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 232
Sweden
Animisha Offline
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Sweden
Originally Posted by JazzyMac
I am finding Alfred's quite *cough* boring as all get out *cough*. All of the arrangements are so weird!


Yes, it is soooo boring! In retrospect I wish I had started with a more exciting course. But it is never too late and I have so much more fun now when playing. smile


It is a happy talent to know how to play.
Re: Lesson Learned: Playing By Ear vs Sight Reading [Re: Animisha] #2748952
07/03/18 04:43 AM
07/03/18 04:43 AM
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 176
Liverpool, NY
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pathguy Offline
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Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by JazzyMac
I am finding Alfred's quite *cough* boring as all get out *cough*. All of the arrangements are so weird!


Yes, it is soooo boring! In retrospect I wish I had started with a more exciting course. But it is never too late and I have so much more fun now when playing. smile

Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by JazzyMac
I am finding Alfred's quite *cough* boring as all get out *cough*. All of the arrangements are so weird!


Yes, it is soooo boring! In retrospect I wish I had started with a more exciting course. But it is never too late and I have so much more fun now when playing. smile

When I began my formal lessons, I had played using an online tutorial and largely by ear for a couple of months. Managed to figure out a few songs I like, and played a little for my teacher during my first lesson. He was impressed, but did caution me that I might get a little...bored with Alfred’s. However, it forces me to learn the basics. He keeps things interesting by giving me songs to learn and then building upon them. I have to say Alfred’s is pretty dry, but it also can be frustratingly difficult.

Re: Lesson Learned: Playing By Ear vs Sight Reading [Re: RhodesFanatic] #2748962
07/03/18 06:28 AM
07/03/18 06:28 AM
Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 780
Union SC
dobro Offline
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I supplemented Alfred’s with lessons on video that have helped me a lot


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Re: Lesson Learned: Playing By Ear vs Sight Reading [Re: bennevis] #2748986
07/03/18 08:53 AM
07/03/18 08:53 AM
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 594
South Wales
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Colin Miles Offline
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Originally Posted by bennevis

The downside of course, is that you can never play anything you haven't heard before. .

The downside of NOT being a memoriser is that you always have to have the music in front of you.

Everyone is different in what they can or cannot do, so there is no one solution. Indeed, there are a myriad of 'solutions'.


Roland LX7

South Wales, UK
Re: Lesson Learned: Playing By Ear vs Sight Reading [Re: RhodesFanatic] #2748994
07/03/18 09:25 AM
07/03/18 09:25 AM
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 1,692
Orange County, California
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I find myself reading a lot more than memorizing, quite the opposite of when I first started. If the only thing I could do was play by ear, then I wouldn't be able to play anything smile My ear training highlight last week was figuring out maybe the first 16 notes of star wars by ear. But some of them were wrong and my teacher had to correct me, haha.


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