How do I learn to play music by ear?

How do I learn to play music by ear?
Caden Lockridge Aug 3 0 Comments

Dipping Your Toes in the Melodious Waters

If you're anything like me, you know that music is an essential part of life. It's that magical ingredient that makes my heart beat a bit faster, that pushes me through tiring jogs and even more exhausting household chores. I mean, you should see how my german shepherd, Bruno, takes off when he sees me approaching with a broom instead of a fetch ball. Thankfully, my turtle, Shelby, always holds her mossy ground, bless her!

So, why not take that passion for music further? Have you ever thought about being able to hear a tune and then playing it by ear, no sheet music required? Sounds like a superpower, doesn't it? Please keep reading as I share the secret ways to unlock this remarkable skill. Brace yourself for our musical adventure.

Understanding the Basics of Music Theory

Before we jump on to practical activities, let's start with some basic music theory. Just as you can't build a house without first laying a foundation, you can't play music by ear without a basic understanding of how it all fits together. Music theory might appear intimidating, just like how my son Dominic looked the first time he tried vegemite, but it doesn't have to be that way. You only need to grasp the components of melody structure, chord theory, and rhythm patterns. These elements will come in handy, believe me!

Learning to Recognize Intervals

The art of playing music by ear is strongly based on recognizing pitch differences, known as 'intervals'. It's like when you ask your daughter, Beatrice, to get dressed for school and in response, she flaunts her Halloween vampire cape. You have to recognise the difference, right?

A solid understanding of intervals will help transform your music-listening skills. It will make the task of identifying the relations between different notes come naturally, like knowing that the beloved jingle bells melody starts with a 'perfect fourth' interval.

Training Your Ears with Applications and Websites

Nowadays, there's an app for anything! Just like there are apps for keeping your plants watered, there are apps to help you exercise and refine your ear. Websites also offer exceptional resources to assist with the same. These can help you drill scale identification, detect note differences, and distinguish chord types, which are integral parts of this journey.

Transcribing Your Favorite Songs

I think it's safe to say that we can recall the lyrics of our favourite songs without even flinching. So, why couldn't we do the same with the melodies? Transcribing your favourite songs is a practical method of ear training. You'll be surprised how it enhances your ability to identify unique song elements, such as rhythm, chord sequences, and melody lines, without even using an instrument.

Practising with Your Preferred Musical Instrument

Playing music transcends feeling notes— it requires your ability to express them as well. Luckily for us, translating what we hear onto an instrument has never been easier. Be it a piano, violin, or even an ukulele, consistency and perception are key. A few minutes of practice each day and I guarantee, you'll be playing by ear sooner than you think – almost as quickly as Bruno can demolish a chew toy!

Making Use of Online Tutorials and Learning Platforms

As we navigate this new era of digital learning, it's a good idea to use online resources to your advantage. Platforms such as YouTube offer free lessons which can guide you through the process and clear up any lingering doubts.

Having Patience and Keeping the Process Enjoyable

Lastly, remember that learning to play music by ear is a journey, and every journey takes time. We all learn at a different pace. Dominique may solve puzzles in minutes, while Beatrice might take an hour. In the same vein, some people may understand intervals faster than others. That's okay! The beauty of learning exists in the strides we make, no matter the speed.

Keep your sessions enjoyable, there is no rush. Remember, the joy of melodies isn't solely in the destination, it's in the journey.

Learning to play music by ear is a valuable skill, but it's also a ton of fun! You'll enjoy your favourite songs on a deeper level and connect with music in a way you never have before. Just stay patient, keep practicing, and remember to enjoy the experience. After all, music is all about joy.

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