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LWJ LWJ is offline
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Piano by ear?

Hello,

So my wife and daughter have decided to pick up piano lessons to dull the COVID blues. I am intrigued.

I played bass viol starting in grade school and moved to bass guitar in my teens. I was at one time somewhat proficient and played jazz, rock, and classical.

I think I have a serious learning disability when it comes to reading sheet music. It actually makes my head hurt. And, I am really poor at it.

Ear playing? Bring it on. I can (much better in the past) rip some blues / surf on guitar. No idea about sight reading for guitar. All by ear.

While my guitar / bass playing is mostly shelved, I am interested in blues / jazz for piano.

Any thoughts on taking "ear only" lessons? I had a strong grasp on music theory at one time. That part should be easy.

I have reservations on how this might shake out. Any thoughts?

Thanks!

Old 10-15-2020, 09:10 AM
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I thought you were going to tune the piano by ear.
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Old 10-15-2020, 09:12 AM
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Old 10-15-2020, 10:19 AM
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I'm the opposite.

Tone deaf, can't play by ear.

My wife claims I sing in the key of H.

I can not hear the difference between keys.

My wife and daughter, pretty much have perfect pitch.

They can both pick up instruments they've never held before and if you show them the mechanics they can start playing it.

Really annoying and makes me jealous as hell.
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Old 10-15-2020, 10:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LWJ View Post

I think I have a serious learning disability when it comes to reading sheet music. It actually makes my head hurt. And, I am really poor at it. Thanks!
I know exactly what you’re talking about. I get a sensation in my skull, not quite a pain or an itch, whenever I focus hard on sheet music. Odd to hear someone else admit the same!
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Old 10-15-2020, 11:33 AM
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^^^And French. Damn. I am BAD at languages!
Old 10-15-2020, 12:49 PM
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Playing by ear has to be really hard with all those keys. Using fingers should be a lot easier.
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Old 10-15-2020, 01:20 PM
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Two things that i can do relatively easily are pick up languages, and pick up an instrument and start playing it after i figure out where the notes are ( the accordion is the exception). I can read music, but i can't sing to save my life. My wife doesn't understand how i can play instruments but can't sing. Stomachmonkey, by the way, the key of H is also known as B.
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Old 10-15-2020, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
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playing by ear has to be really hard with all those keys. Using fingers should be a lot easier.
lol!
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Old 10-15-2020, 01:52 PM
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Any of you guys remember seeing the story about Kobe Bryant learning some piano piece by ear so he could play it for his wife on their anniversary?

Really an impressive feat if you ask me.
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Old 10-15-2020, 01:56 PM
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I think Jazz and Blues lend themselves well to playing by ear and improv. You just need to know the concepts behind the sound.
Old 10-15-2020, 02:27 PM
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^^^Funny. I am ONLY interested in jazz/ blues. Agreed. It is conducive to ear-training.
Old 10-15-2020, 04:02 PM
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Last week when people on the radio were talking about Eddie Van Halen, they often said how amazed they were that he never learned to read music. What guitar player learns to read music? Beyond tabs, anyway. I don't play piano, but if I can figure out guitar without reading music, why not piano?

My daughter learned few songs on piano, such as Great Gig in the Sky, by using an ipad app that shows the notes graphically.
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Old 10-15-2020, 09:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LWJ View Post
Hello,

I had a strong grasp on music theory at one time. That part should be easy.

I have reservations on how this might shake out. Any thoughts?

Thanks!
If you still have a grasp of theory the piano keyboard will make alot of sense to you. Scale degree intervals become visual on the keys and chord structure is easier to see than on a guitar fretboard.
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Old 10-16-2020, 05:04 AM
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Our daughter started at a young age playing by ear. We had her take lessons so she would learn proper technique. She still plays by ear a lot.

I have a hard time reading music and I played trombone in band for years. Also learned treble clef for guitar several times as I taught lessons. Still can't read it very well. Can't do tabs very well either. If i can't learn by ear, YouTube is my friend.
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Old 10-16-2020, 08:36 AM
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Quote:
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If you still have a grasp of theory the piano keyboard will make alot of sense to you. Scale degree intervals become visual on the keys and chord structure is easier to see than on a guitar fretboard.
So people, who can play the piano by ear may actually be seeing the notes rather than hearing them?
Old 10-16-2020, 06:31 PM
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Quote:
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If you still have a grasp of theory the piano keyboard will make alot of sense to you. Scale degree intervals become visual on the keys and chord structure is easier to see than on a guitar fretboard.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crowbob View Post
So people, who can play the piano by ear may actually be seeing the notes rather than hearing them?
In a sense yes. The interval between "B" and "C" becomes immediately apparent as they are two white keys next to each other w/out a black key in between. Then the interval between "C" "C#/Db" and "D" also becomes apparent due to the black key.. When you understand that spatial relationship, and your ear becomes attuned to their pitches you can then play by ear. In my experience anyway.
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Old 10-17-2020, 05:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stomachmonkey View Post
I'm the opposite.

Tone deaf, can't play by ear.

My wife claims I sing in the key of H.

I can not hear the difference between keys.

My wife and daughter, pretty much have perfect pitch.

They can both pick up instruments they've never held before and if you show them the mechanics they can start playing it.

Really annoying and makes me jealous as hell.
My brother is like that. We were taking care of the people's house across the street when they were out of town, cleaning the leaves out of the pool, that sort of thing. One of the daughters played violin, Lori I think. He had seen one played. First time he touches a violin, picks it up, noodles around on it a few seconds and plays Popeye the sailor. It was freaky. I bet he has 20 different kinds of musical instruments at his house. He has a mandolin that my grandfather made
He has an accordion, I remember it as being heavy

Old 10-17-2020, 06:42 AM
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