Learning and immersing in the art of music has so many benefits for students of all ages. From learning how to read music to the benefits that music can have on one’s mood and even their education, including music in your life is a choice you definitely won’t regret. When playing music there are 2 main ways that a musician can learn their art: by reading music and learning the notes, and by just trying to play music that they’ve heard and liked.

What does ‘playing by ear’ even mean?

While you may not be making a conscious effort to be playing music ‘by ear’, no doubt you’ve been doing it for quite some time. Any time you hear a song, melody or set of lyrics and try to play them on your instrument, you are playing music by ear. This method essentially refers to the practice of playing music from the sounds you’re hearing rather than by reading sheet music. Playing music by ear is often how many budding musicians start. Even a child playing on a toy keyboard will often play music by ear before they learn how to read sheet music.

Playing music by ear has many benefits

At Capstone Music, we love students that want to learn and have fun with music. Whether you’re an aspiring Mozart, want to sing better in the shower, or pick up the guitar around the camp fire with friends to impress – we’re amazing teachers ready for you. If you’re in Burlington, give us a call or sign up for lessons online!

Learning how to read sheet music has its important place in the world of music, but the ability to play by ear has many benefits for new and experienced musicians alike.

Music by EarImproves memory

When you play music by ear rather than spending time learning how to read sheet music and memorizing the notes you will have a better ability to remember it.

Helps cultivate creativity

Creativity and improvisation are key factors in a great music career, whether you’re someone who just plays for fun or you want to turn music into a job. Playing music by ear gives you the opportunity to play around with notes and chords until you find the right one which will help you be creative with your music skills.

Increases confidence

There’s no better feeling for a musician as when they nail a song they’ve heard on the radio! Being able to hear a song and recreate it on their own instrument gives a great confidence boost to any musician.

Helps improve skills

As you pluck away at the notes trying to recreate a sound you’d heard on the radio or in another song, you’ll learn skills you may not have known you were ready to learn.

How to improve your ability to play by ear

Want to test your “ear” for music. Check out this quiz (and have fun with it!).

Practice makes perfect – The best way to improve your ability to play music by ear is just to keep practicing at it. The more time you put into replicating songs, cords and notes you’ve heard, the better you’ll get at recognizing the notes when you hear them.

Just listen – Another way to improve your skills at playing by ear is to take time each day to just close your eyes and really listen to music. Focusing on the music you’re hearing while eliminating all other sounds and distractions can help you pull out the chords and intricate notes you’re planning to replicate.

Don’t give up – Repetition is another important part of learning to play by ear. You likely won’t get it right on the first or even the fifth try, so keeping at it even when you feel like giving up is essential. Repeating what you’re working on learning is key to this.

Playing by ear is a great skill

Honing your ability to play music by ear is a great still to learn during your music career. If you want to create a band with friends, further your solo career or just pluck at songs around the campfire, your ability to hear a song you like and work at replicating it on your own instrument will take you far.