Image by Mikey G Ottawa via FlickrI found this very cool article online this morning written by Isaac Whitfield.
It's called Play Piano By Ear - Practice Is The Key. I couldn't agree more. I hope you find some interesting tips to help you bring your piano playing to the next level.
Practice is a big part of learning to play piano by ear, but another is natural ability and some musical background. If you have a family member who is a musician and seems to be able to play anything they want, that is natural ability. If not, then there are ways of learning, but it will take a lot of practice to achieve your goal.
Those who are lucky to have been born with perfect pitch have no problem at all learning to play piano by ear. If not, more practice! Begin by sitting at your piano. Now close your eyes and strike a note. Without looking at what note you played, identify it. Were you close? Get it right on the money? Keep at it. This is a big part of playing by ear. Note: Make sure your piano is tuned!
Listen And Listen Some More
Play a favorite song on your CD player, and just as the first drill, try to identify what notes are being played. Listen to just the melody. Play it again and listen to the bass line. Play it again and try to identify any other instruments being played. Learn everything about the song. Choose a song that has some easy piano parts in it.
Play The Melody
Now that you have studied this song with your ears, try to play the melody, one note at a time from memory. Play the first few bars over and over. Turn your CD back on and play the first few bars or whatever you can remember. Keep at it until you have learned the basic melody.
A big part to learning to play piano by ear is to associate what you hear with the notes on your keyboard. By mastering the first drill of playing a note and identifying it with your eyes closed, this association will hit you like a ton of bricks someday and you will yell-I got it!
Take It Slow
Learn the melody first, then begin putting some bass lines into it. If you know basic chords and scales this process will be easier. Hop online and check out some video tutorials. There are audio lessons available as well, created specifically for ear training.
By following these tips learning to play piano by ear can be achieved, but the big word here is practice!