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#3069548 01/15/21 05:51 PM
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Please take a look at LINK
and give your opinion.

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I didn't look at the video, but the idea that one is better is a mistake.

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I also didn't watch the video and I agree with pianoloverus.

I never saw someone play classical by ear. It should be pretty hard.
And sometime beginners want to learn to play by ear because they think it will be easier.

Last edited by Serge88; 01/15/21 08:41 PM.


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Simple - if you want to play classical, you have to learn to read music. (If you want to read Shakespeare - or John Steinbeck, or even Dan Brown smirk , you have to learn to read, right?)

Everything else - play by ear.

BTW, I also didn't watch the video.


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Yes if you want to play non classical music with other musicians, playing by ear is a must or at least be able to hear chords change.



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First off .... you have to recognize that this is advertising for his site.

However, he makes a good point.

I believe you could become a good player without learning to read notes.

You would need very good instruction .... not a tip here and there ....

If someone taught you musical structure from the ground up with attention to his 4 pillars it could work.

One caution ..... do not make the mistake of thinkiing that it would be "easier" or that just by fooling around on the keyboard "by ear" that you will become good any time soon. Nope, not going to happen.

You need to have the equivalent of a music degree without learning to read music ... then it might work.


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A well-rounded musician is supposed to be a good reader as well as a good listener. Both skills would be used simultaneously even when we're reading through a new piece. When we read a note wrong, our ears would pick it up as something that doesn't sound right.

Having a good ear is often confused with having a good memory. If you dial a friend's new phone # the first time you need to look it up on paper. This is reading. Dialing the same # every day for a week you won't need to look it up. It's in your memory. If you repeat a section of music often enough you would be able to play it without having to read (maybe). There are people who after weeks of learning a piece still rely on the sheet music to some extent.

Jazz improvisers have a good ear. They listen to a melody and would fill the bass line with good sounding chords. This is creating music on the spot. When we're playing a piece that was written down, the first thing is to sight-read (reading the first time). We would need to re-read the pages after to make sure we get all the right notes. A lot of beginners & intermediate players would assume what is on a page is 100% correct and play accordingly. Someone who is more advanced would be able to pick out notes on a page that sounded "wrong" and make changes by ear.

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Originally Posted by Serge88
Yes if you want to play non classical music with other musicians, playing by ear is a must or at least be able to hear chords change.
This is only if the music is improvised.

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Originally Posted by dmd
First off .... you have to recognize that this is advertising for his site.
However, he makes a good point.I believe you could become a good player without learning to read notes
This is extremely rare. Not possible for
classical music except for blind pianists and extremely rare for jazz and popular music.

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Originally Posted by bennevis
Simple - if you want to play classical, you have to learn to read music. (If you want to read Shakespeare - or John Steinbeck, or even Dan Brown smirk , you have to learn to read, right?)

Everything else - play by ear.

BTW, I also didn't watch the video.
One can perhaps reach a low level playing pop or jazz playing by ear, but almost all the good jazz pianists can read music. There are endless books with pop and jazz arrangements from beginner to advanced, and one needs to be able to read music to play those arrangements. Studying jazz harmony and the jazz performances of the great jazz pianists is much easier if one can read music.

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Reading music is not rocket science. I fail to see the problem.

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I don't understand why so many people seem to be almost religiously opposed to reading notated music? Are they creating a justification for themselves because they think it would be too difficult to learn?

I think anyone who doesn't put in the effort required to read music is greatly limiting their musical horizons. I sometimes play old parlour music that I download from various university libraries. Part of parlour music's attraction for me is that I might be the only person who has played any particular piece in the past hundred years, and I get a kick out of knowing that. If I couldn't read music that particular type of entertainment would be out of my reach since I can't listen to the Admired Air of Paddy Carey or the Celebrated Know Nothing Song on youtube.

Again, it seems to me that the effort you put in to learn to read music definitely pays off, and I just don't see how that could even be up for debate. Yet it is up for debate, right here in this thread. Call me confused, I guess.


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Originally Posted by Serge88
I never saw someone play classical by ear.
Now you can see (as in the famous hymn).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgPXOW5bpZk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8_Xj6te_Gg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khOJYhXC5E0

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Originally Posted by FrankCox
Again, it seems to me that the effort you put in to learn to read music definitely pays off, and I just don't see how that could even be up for debate. Yet it is up for debate, right here in this thread. Call me confused, I guess.
I guess some piano students have to find justifications for their laziness, and use the examples from the jazz & pop world as proof that you can be 'world-class' without knowing your treble clef from a flat. Unfortunately, they then use Synthesia (and the like) to "learn" to play, rather than actually develop their ears.
Which leads to the anomalous situation where pianists who can read music fluently are able to play by ear (because they've actually developed their aural skills, learnt harmony etc) much better than those who can only play by ear. In fact, I don't know of any experienced classical pianist who cannot play by ear, to a greater or lesser extent. (And I'm not talking about blind pianists, who often have no choice but to learn to play by ear, as Braille is so limiting.)

Yet these days (in my experience), people are ashamed to admit they are illiterate, and would do all they can to overcome that deficiency.....


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Originally Posted by Serge88
I never saw someone play classical by ear. It should be pretty hard.
As a child Peter Feuchtwanger learned piano by listening to records on a gramophone and he couldn't read sheet music.
Funny enough the gramophones he listened to ran slightly to fast so that he played all the pieces one halfstep to high.
But he could transpose and play them immediately without any effort in the right key when he was asked to do so by the first teacher he auditioned.
Originally Posted by Serge88
And sometime beginners want to learn to play by ear because they think it will be easier.
i seriously doubt that.
If playing by ear was easier there wouldn't be so many "tone deaf" amateurs who are screwed when you take away their music sheets or if they are asked to transpose a piece "on the fly".
And if the mindset that learning to play by ear is easier was spread more widely there would be more beginners who take that path instead of mainly concentrating on how to play by sheet music.

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I watched the video (you can put it at 1.75 speed, and fast forward bits). He admits that the title is clickbait. He states that for those who want to learn to play gospel by ear, and who do not want to become professional pianists (earn their living through piano), they're better off learning the skills needed for that task. If you do work professionally, and someone hands you a score saying "learn this by tomorrow", you'd better by able to read music. That's it for that question.

What he actually wants to do, it seems, is set out the skills that need learning for "playing gospel by ear" and he lists 4 of them:
- be able to recognize intervals, "by ear and in theory" (you know them when you hear them; you can also name them)
- be able to recognize chord qualities "by ear and in theory"
- the relationship of chords by degrees i.e. IV V etc., so that F is IV in C major, Dm is ii etc.
- be able to rely on your ear (? - can't read my scribble)

He himself learned classical and had to study and get good at all the things in the classical education, because he had no choice.

-------
A couple of things I was curious about. When he did mention theory/ear, it looked very much like classical theory, the same way I learned it. I'm wondering whether those who studied "non-classical", if some of what you learned looked a bit different, or was phrased differently. One thing I noticed is that he mentioned the "augmented fourth" instead of saying "tritone".

Food for thought:
He defines the major chord as having an M3 + m3 and the outer shell of P5 ---- which in root closed position it does. C/G (closed position) has P4 + m3 and the outer shell is an M6. C/E has m3 + P4 and the outer shell of m6.


In non-classical, are major and minor chords set out in this way? I'm not seeing it as wrong but I'm curious.

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Originally Posted by brennbaer
Originally Posted by Serge88
And sometime beginners want to learn to play by ear because they think it will be easier.
i seriously doubt that.
If playing by ear was easier there wouldn't be so many "tone deaf" amateurs who are screwed when you take away their music sheets or if they are asked to transpose a piece "on the fly".
Why would any pianist need to transpose any piece on the fly, unless they were accompanying a singer who can't sing at the written pitch, or other musicians who can't play what's written?

Professional classical accompanists (for singers) develop that skill, because they have to. Jazzers, ditto - but then they don't have to play all the notes.

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And if the mindset that learning to play by ear is easier was spread more widely there would be more beginners who take that path instead of mainly concentrating on how to play by sheet music.
Actually, most beginners only play by ear from the start, unless they decide that they want to learn classical, or they have a (non-Suzuki) teacher.


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My Daughter learned piano to a high standard at one of the Uk's top private schools. Although she studied for many years when it came to simply playing that needed understanding I had to spend many hours explaining what was actually happening within the music she wanted to play as she had no comprehension of what she played. There is a great way that I explain following on from the literary example above. If you study say Pitney Bowes touch typing course you learn to type blind not keys but the written either shorthand or handwritten but touch typing will not make a person become a wonderful author.
We all use the notes on the stave to a degree but to be an all rounder one needs to stick to the three disciplines of good practice scales, sight reading and playing the instrument.
All the good books on Jazz use examples using proper notation alongside Their own symbols and believe me when using model harmonisation or any other source material you do need a very deep understanding of how music actually works and that far out strips simply sight reading graded pieces. Jazz is not a lazy way to play!

Last edited by Killomiter; 01/16/21 07:59 AM.

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I think there is no need to oppose one and the other. Both are usefull. I dont agree with the video separating pros and amateurs. Only playing by ear may have been a possibility 100 years ago, but nowadays, even for people who are playing non classical, it is a significant handicap. Unless one has very limited objectives, being able to read notation is a big advantage. Since he is talking about theory, one can certainly learn only by ear but having access to methods, lead sheets and books implies reading abilities. But certainly depending on their targets, people can focus more on one or the other.

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I did watch parts of the video and from my experience knowing how to read sheet music can hinder / slow down learning styles like Jazz, the Blues etc. My example is from learning how to build out lead sheets. All you typically have is a one note melody and chord symbols. From there you can take it where ever you want. The "problem" I had (and still have) is that when watching videos explaining different styles, for example playing the chords in a stride pattern, I found myself reading the sheet music example on the screen rather than under standing how the stride pattern was used. For example the one pattern I am working on now is a basic turn around I-VI-II-V with the root note then chord shells alternating between 7-3 and 3-7. The first time through while I understood what was being said I was reading the notes and playing those without really understanding the structure. I have to go back to the lead sheet with just the chord symbols and play from there to get a real understanding of what is going on. Being able to read sheet music is very helpful but I have to make a conscious effort to not rely on that when trying to understand even the basic concepts of Jazz.


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