The benefits of playing by ear

Welcome to the second post in our series on how to play by ear. The last post was pretty straightforward. It answered the question: what is playing by ear. In this post we’ll go through the incredible changes to your playing that you’ll experience when you can play by ear.

Learning to play by ear will transform your playing in so many ways. I didn’t call this series of posts how to play by ear and transform yourself into a musical superhero for nothing.

As I mentioned in the last post, when you can play by ear you’ll be able to play anything you hear either with your ears or in your head. This will allow you to:

  • Play any melody you can remember, meaning you can play any song you can sing from memory and memorise new music just by listening to it.
  • Play anything you hear so you can learn new music from recordings or friends.
  • Play any idea that pops into your head so you can improvise freely and naturally.
  • Work out or recognise new chord progressions so you can jam on music you’ve never heard before.
  • Interpret music when you play, adding your own unique phrasing and embellishments so you start to develop your own sound.

All of this adds up to one thing: musical freedom. You’ll be able to understand what you’re hearing in music whenever you hear it and play exactly how you would like to. There is simply no comparison between playing by ear and the way you go about playing right now.

This freedom is an incredible feeling. Along with is comes a much greater sense of confidence whenever you pick up your instrument. I believe that increasing your confidence as a musician is probably the biggest benefit of all ear training, and when you start playing by ear you’ll experience this to the fullest.

Do you like the idea of feeling confident and free to play however you would like whenever you pick up your instrument? If so let’s get down to business. In the next post I’ll tell you the 3 steps to playing by ear.

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