In this 12 part series titled, "How To Play Piano By Ear", professional piano instructor, Guy Faux, discusses why listening to ear training exercises is only the first step in being able to play by ear.
The following series will help anyone understand all that is
required in the ear training process.
Part 1 - Listening Exercises
There are many ear training courses on the market today claiming that if you just sit back and listen to their new-fangled, super-colossal ear training exercises, then you'll be able to know the exact notes that you're hearing and thereby play your instrument much better.
Now I'm not here to critique all of the relative pitch and perfect pitch ear training courses being offered on the Internet, but I would like to say that you will need to understand the structure of music before you can effectively play any instrument by ear.
The first step in this process is to begin learning simple melodies by ear.
If you're new to music and the associated musical terms; a melody consists of single notes played one by one, and is played along with sung lyrics.
If there are no lyrics, then the composition is referred to an instrumental or musical piece instead of a song.
A song is generally thought of as a musical composition with lyrics. In any event, learning to hear and then play a single note at a time is much easier than learning to hear chords, and learning single-note melodies will prepare your ear to hear two, three, and four-note chords much easier when the time is right.
So, while ear-training listening exercises can be beneficial in developing your ear, it's much better to take a more proactive approach to playing by ear, and there's no better way to do this than just sitting down at your instrument and learning simple melodies.
In Part 2 of this series, "How To Play Piano By Ear", I'll discuss a good step-by-step approach to learning how to play melodies, and what to do if you don't read music notation, or find it challenging to write out melodies.