Welcome to the first post in our series: How to play by ear and turn yourself into a musical superhero.

We’ll get to the how-to in a moment but first things first: what exactly is playing by ear?

I’m sure you already have a pretty good idea of what playing by ear is so I’ll keep this short and sweet.

A musician who can play by ear is able to hear music and play it. They don’t have to work the notes out using trial and error and they don’t need any written music. The moment they hear a passage they know exactly what notes they heard and they can play them straight back on their instrument.

There’s one final detail that’s worth mentioning here.

There are two ways that we hear music.

  1. We hear music with our ears – whenever we listen to recordings or live music we’re hearing it with our ears.
  2. We hear music in our heads – the other place that we can hear music is in our minds. This happens whenever a tune pops into your head.

When you learn to play by ear you’ll be able to play anything you hear either with your ears or in your head. It’s worth making note of this here because a lot of the biggest benefits that come with playing music by ear come from being able to play the music you hear in your head rather than the music you hear with your ears.

In the next post in the series you’ll find out exactly what those benefits are.

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