2017 was our 20th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments.
Over 100,000 members from around the world.
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
Who's Online Now
77 members (ambrozy, 36251, anotherscott, alexii, boo1234, accordeur, Abdol, Alfred La Fleur, 18 invisible), 1,113 guests, and 396 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Page 2 of 4 1 2 3 4
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,825
K
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
K
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,825
ChazG,

Look for a branch of the Simply Music program. Improvisation and playing "by ear" are taught from day one alongside of note reading and theory. I know a young man who studies from this program. His parent are best friends with us so I get a lot of chance to see what he is working on. His mom took classical lessons until leaving High School and she thinks the program is great. Say's even she learned some new tricks for playing extemporaneously from progressions. I think you might like it. I know of 3 branches here in Los Angeles so they're pretty well distributed. The web site, I'm sure, could point you towards a branch local to you.

Kurt

addendum, I agree with M.M. Wherever you are in So Cal, you're probably not far from a college with a jazz program. You could call the program head and look for a referral. Go to a bar that has a cocktail/jazz pianist and see if they teach or know who does. A local music store (sheet music) will know who the jazz teachers in your area are. Same thing with the piano stores.

Kurt

Last edited by KurtZ; 12/31/14 05:20 PM.

**********************************************************************************************************
Co-owner (by marriage) and part time customer service rep at an electronic musical equipment repair shop.
(ad)
Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 63
C
ChazG Offline OP
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
C
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 63
Thanks Michael and KurtZ. I will try looking into these options in finding a way to learn how to play piano by ear.

Joined: May 2012
Posts: 561
I
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
I
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 561
My 2 cents. Take a song like "House of the Rising Sun" by the Animals circa 1965ish. Figure it out using your ears.
Hint: A C D F etc. Listen to the bass part. Pluck it on the piano. Notice the notes movement. Notice how one chord
follows another. Don't think of just C F and G chords. Realize this is a I IV V harmonic progression. "House of the Rising
Sun" is a I (minor) III IV VI. Internalize these things into your mind's ears by plunking at the piano and using trial
and error. Very simple to say, much work to do.

There is a wealth of ear training in the Beatles music. Lately I've been working on some 1940's stuff by Louis Jordan and
his Tympany Five. 1940's jump blues with tons of 9th chord voicings in this stuff. Figuring these things out at the piano
while playing the recording are invaluable. The trial and error process is the real teacher here. In my opinion.

David
https://soundcloud.com/david-goethe/tracks

Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 63
C
ChazG Offline OP
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
C
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 63
Hello David,

Thank you for the input. I will try hearing some of these pop songs from the past. I will listen for the bass line and then figure out the chords from there. As you suggested, I need to practice hearing many songs and figure out what chords are being played. I have to start somewhere. I tried hearing the piano part intro to True by Spandu Ballet and figuring out the key. It has been very difficult to figure out how to play the piano part, probably because it is a minor key not the regular major three chord song.


Last edited by ChazG; 01/11/15 05:26 PM.
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 63
C
ChazG Offline OP
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
C
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 63
Hello Michael,

I finally got a copy of the Simon Schott - "Play Piano by Ear" this past week. I am now anxious to start reading and working through the book to see if I progress in learning how to play piano by ear.

Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 384
E
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
E
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 384
Originally Posted by ChazG

I finally got a copy of the Simon Schott - "Play Piano by Ear" this past week. I am now anxious to start reading and working through the book to see if I progress in learning how to play piano by ear.


The book in original German apparently was never called Play Piano By Ear according to the discussion in another thread. And was titled simply as a cocktail piano book !!

You will see that the Play By Ear description in this book mostly aligns with the Lead sheet based improvisation definition. But not the 'play by ear from scratch' definition you gave in your earlier posts.

So Spielen Sie Barpiano

Quote
You might check out the English translation of Simon Schott's book. Here it's called "How to Play Piano by Ear" -- an unfortunate choice. The original title is "So Spielen Sie Barpiano" -- how to play cocktail bar piano.



Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 516
M
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
M
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 516
The Schott book shows you how to add chords to melody notes, and how/where to use substitute chords and that sort of thing, with the idea that once you get your ear familiar with the sounds and flavors of the chords, you will be able to harmonize melodies yourself. In other words you won't need to refer to any written music, you "play by ear."

Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 88
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 88
Here are the steps I use to teach people to play by ear on a simple level:

1) Picking out a melody. Doing this well and accurately takes time but even a child can pick out a melody on a piano without even a first lesson.
2) I, IV and V chords. Because obviously, you can play 90% of 90% of songs with those chords.
3) Secondary dominants. This is the toughie. Secondary dominants are very confusing even to trained musicians but the problem is that you can't get around knowing them if you are going to play by ear. An average song will have at least one or two. The good news is that secondary dominants is about as far as you have to go. Rarely do run across a situation in music where you cannot use either I, IV or V or a secondary dominant.
4) Simple texture. Left hand arpeggios, block chords, etc.


Free downloads, arrangements, piano lessons and tips for pianists at http://www.greghowlett.com/freechristianpianomusic.aspx
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 516
M
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
M
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 516
good point on the secondary dominants. important.

Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 384
E
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
E
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 384
Originally Posted by Greg Howlett
...
1) Picking out a melody. Doing this well and accurately takes time but even a child can pick out a melody on a piano without even a first lesson.
...


Not really the case if you see experiences posted here by people unable to do that 'simple' step.

Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 63
C
ChazG Offline OP
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
C
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 63
Hello Greg, yes, I find that the secondary dominants or minor chords are the hardest to hear in music. I know that some of those secondary dominants are substitution chords that can be used in a four chord song. At least, I am able to pick out a melody and play the I, IV & V chord in a simple three chord song. I am just trying to go the next step in playing more complex songs that you hear in everyday recordings, that include those secondary dominants. Many of the songs I hear today include the I, IV & V, but then I know that a minor chord becomes part of the song.

Hello EM Deeka, I found that many play by ear tutorials involve learning how to play from lead sheets and not playing spontaneously of what you hear in a recording. I guess there are two ways to learn how to play piano by ear - either by lead sheets or without lead sheets.

Hello Michael, yes, it is all about harmonizing the notes to create the chord.

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,663
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,663
Don't forget about the Circle of 5ths: smile

http://www.angelfire.com/fl4/moneychords/circleprogressions.html

B-E-A-D-G-C Cycle

Last edited by Elssa; 01/13/15 03:19 AM.
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 384
E
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
E
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 384
Originally Posted by ChazG
...
Hello EM Deeka, I found that many play by ear tutorials involve learning how to play from lead sheets and not playing spontaneously of what you hear in a recording. I guess there are two ways to learn how to play piano by ear - either by lead sheets or without lead sheets.
....


I am well aware of that. I was just pointing out that your original stated goal was different :

Originally Posted by ChazG
My main goal is to listen to music, and then just play it as I hear it, without using sheet music and lead sheets.

Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 516
M
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
M
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 516
Originally Posted by EM Deeka
Originally Posted by Greg Howlett
...
1) Picking out a melody. Doing this well and accurately takes time but even a child can pick out a melody on a piano without even a first lesson.
...


Not really the case if you see experiences posted here by people unable to do that 'simple' step.


If you can sing it (hear it in your head) but not clearly, then you will have a hard time picking it out on the piano.

Originally Posted by ChazG
Hello EM Deeka, I found that many play by ear tutorials involve learning how to play from lead sheets and not playing spontaneously of what you hear in a recording. I guess there are two ways to learn how to play piano by ear - either by lead sheets or without lead sheets.


ChazG, you know your three chords in C. Try adding the following chords in the songs you already know. Sometimes they will fit. Sometimes they won't fit. Experiment:

G7#5 = g b d# f
G7b9 = ab b d f
Dm7b5 = ab c d f
Dm = a c d f

Last edited by Michael Martinez; 01/13/15 03:20 PM.
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 5
S
Junior Member
Offline
Junior Member
S
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 5
The best way to become proficient in playing by ear, IMHO, is to play a lot of different types of music and listen to a lot of different versions/songs withing that style. Start out with something you are already familiar with and enjoy (jazz/blues, etc.). Then learn a lot of songs from that genre. Being in a cover band or something really helps, or if you don't have a band, sit in on jams, it won't be long before you've been forced to learn 20+ songs.

After some time, you'll find there are only so many patterns/changes out there and it's not long before you've come across the majority of them and when applied to new songs, you can start predicting those changes when they come. As for melodies and riffs, that still holds true, you'll start hearing parts of one melody in parts of others and using that to identify the patterns there as well. Then move onto another genre. I started myself strictly playing blues and rock. Then I started getting into some more soul/funk and it was like, pow, a whole new vocabulary started to open itself up to me. I started finding new patterns to unlock that I couldn't figure out easily on my own at first.

Then I started playing in some country/bluegrass bands and again, a whole new set of patterns. Playing in a live band setting is probably the best way to learn quickly. When I first started out, I'd have to sit for hours on end in front of the piano, looking up sheet music, chord charts just to work up one set of music (FYI, I got real good at reading guitar tabs, especially when learning hooks/riffs, etc. and as many of you know, sheet music for contemporary music is pretty sparse, so brush up on your guitar tabs, because you can almost always find what you need there!). After a while, I started to find that I didn't need to print/read from charts much anymore. I could find the chord changes quickly (based more on experience and recognizing the patterns than on my "good ear", which isn't great to be truthful). Now I can prepare for an entire brand new set of songs for a night in probably an hour or two tops. In fact, I've learned many songs on my drive to the gig in the car, listening to them for the first time, never even rehearsing them. Just being able to envision myself moving across the keys following the patterns, hearing the intervals, minor vs 7th, vs maj7th, etc. I am not pitch perfect (sometimes I can't tell if it's an A or a G without reference) but that doesn't matter, as long as I know the form, I can transpose to whatever key they call out before the song. But I also found, it did train my ear better over time as well, as I can recognize intervals much quicker than I used to, without ever spending time specifically on "ear" training.

But the reality is, it's all been ear training in the long run. Now this may not work for you, but it did wonders for my playing and my listening. Not too mention what this did for my improvisation skills, playing in a group setting, where you just learn the song structures and then wing the rest (riffs, solo's, turn-arounds, etc.).

Now all of this can be enhanced by one's ability to read and understand some theory. I never want to underestimate the value in that path either as it would have probably taken me much longer to progress had I not started with that knowledge/foundation before even playing in group settings. So know your basic theory, learn all your chords, all inversions, learn your major scales in all keys, learn your Pentatonics/blues scales, learn your diminished scales, work on your arpeggios, rhythm, timing. Then play with a group.

So, for a long answer to a shorter question, unfortunately, there is no surefire quick way to train your ear. The best way I feel, is to listen to and play a lot of music and as often as your schedule will allow. And in the meantime, try to spend a little time understanding the theory behind it all (why does this pattern appear so often and why does it work so well, etc.) I know this is probably so obvious, but when I started, I spent a lot of time trying to work out sheet music, and it bored me to tears, so I just hung that all up and auditioned for my first band, to which I was told, "please do not come back", more than once! But eventually, I found the some guys that believed in me and helped foster the little talent I had, and I've played or sat in in probably 20 projects since with hopefully another 20 more to come.

Last edited by Steve J.; 01/13/15 05:59 PM.
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 384
E
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
E
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 384
Steve thanks for sharing your experience. How long have you been paying the dues ?

Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 5
S
Junior Member
Offline
Junior Member
S
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 5
EM, I started playing music in my teens (am now 43) but I've swapped instruments around quite a bit (I get restless smile. Played Trumpet for about 5 years, some guitar, some mandolin, accordion and harmonica and then keys for the last 10 or so. But I will say this, I never really understood music until I moved onto keys. I could play it well enough on each instrument, but keys really helped me become a musician, more so than just a player. And maybe that had more to do with timing than the instrument shift, but I definitely feel I found my calling on piano/organ. I still pick up mandolin or guitar for fun at home or when friends come over for an acoustic session (folk/bluegrass), but I only play in bands now on keys. Plus I've probably invested more time in the past 10 years to music than the rest of my life put together. So that also has a lot to do with where I'm at right now.

Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 516
M
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
M
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 516
Excellent post by STeve J. Every style of music has its own patterns, and on the piano these are: ways to voice chords and favored chord progressions, not to mention rhythmic considerations. And as SteveJ mentioned, the best ear training is to work on real songs. As I've said repeatedly, start by picking out melodies to simple songs (folk tunes, Christmas carols) and harmonizing them by ear. Do this on a bunch of songs, you can do it all in the key of C if you want. Later you find it's easier to progress to stuff that has more color in it. "Music theory" really isn't necessary except when you get to advanced harmonies in jazz or 20th century "classical" music.

Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 3,165
D
3000 Post Club Member
Offline
3000 Post Club Member
D
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 3,165
Originally Posted by Michael Martinez

ChazG, you know your three chords in C. Try adding the following chords in the songs you already know. Sometimes they will fit. Sometimes they won't fit. Experiment:

G7#5 = g b d# f
G7b9 = ab b d f
Dm7b5 = ab c d f
Dm = a c d f

- are you serious?

Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 63
C
ChazG Offline OP
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
C
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 63
Elssa: Yes, it very important to know the Circle of 5ths.

Steve J: Thanks for sharing your personal experience. You seem to be very talented in knowing how to play many different instruments. Yeah, I can see that playing for a group or band can really teach one to learn how to play by ear quickly. I have seen alot of times that certain key signatures are needed for particular songs in order for others to sing along. It all stems to just practice until one gets good. I have to learn how to listen for the common patterns among songs. I plan to really listen to recordings and then study how the patterns are formed. This way, I can develop good ear training.

Michael Martinez: I see that many learn in the key of C and then progress from there.

Page 2 of 4 1 2 3 4

Link Copied to Clipboard
(ad)
Pianoteq
Steinway Spiro Layering
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Learning and strong emotions...
by CianistAndPomposer - 09/16/21 06:21 PM
Gift Piano from Elton John?
by JohnSprung - 09/16/21 04:54 PM
Kawai ES520 user's own thread
by 36251 - 09/16/21 04:11 PM
For those who love Martha Argerich...
by AaronSF - 09/16/21 03:17 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
Forum Statistics
Forums42
Topics209,142
Posts3,132,736
Members102,747
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

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
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 | MapleStreetMusicShop.com - Our store in Cornish Maine


© copyright 1997 - 2021 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5