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  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Rory View Post
    That's how I got my play-by-ear start, thanks to the piano. Used to sound out old-school videogame music. Apparently this is not an uncommon thing. xD

    I do find myself envious of sheet readers. In your opinion, or anyone in general really, what's the best way you think to go about learning how to do so? I feel like there's much more of a structured regimen in place than there would be for someone trying to pick up playing by ear.
    The way I learned it was using the alphabet. We learned to associate A with being in the very middle of the bar, and then each line and space upwards is a subsequent letter in the alphabet. It took me maybe a couple of months to learn to tell what a note is at a glance, it's all in the alphabet. Once I had my ABCs properly worked in, then came practicing "moving" them up and down as needed, and that's some serious mental gymnastics! But I managed. Then I focused on learning the sharps & the bs, which came pretty easily to me as by then I was already very familiar with the position of each note. All I had to do was remember that sharps (#) are a half-tone up, & bs are a half-tone down. And that E# is the same as hitting F on the piano, Fb = same as hitting E, B# = C tangent, Cb = B tangent.

    All in all, I think it just comes down to a combination of normal memory & muscle memory. It's really a lot easier than it sounds, it just takes a lot of practice. I'm sure others may have different ways of learning it too, that may be even easier.


    Absolutely best way though, like Tica mentions below me (I'm tired x3), is to learn it from an instructor.
    Last edited by Tenaar Feiri; 01-17-2014 at 07:25 PM.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rory View Post
    That's how I got my play-by-ear start, thanks to the piano. Used to sound out old-school videogame music. Apparently this is not an uncommon thing. xD

    I do find myself envious of sheet readers. In your opinion, or anyone in general really, what's the best way you think to go about learning how to do so? I feel like there's much more of a structured regimen in place than there would be for someone trying to pick up playing by ear.
    The *best* way to learn how to read sheet music is to take classes with an instructor, wherein you either play an instrument or sing. (I did some sight-singing in college. It's awesome to be able to sing from nothing but a page of sheet music but it's generally much more difficult unless you have perfect pitch.) You can either take group classes--I did via concert band--or something like private lessons. A lot of people start with private piano lessons.

    If you can't afford classes, the next best thing is buying the same textbooks that the classes/private lessons use and reading them and teaching yourself that way. A lot of the time you can go to a music store and go to the sheet music section. Then look for the books specific to your instrument (in your case the piano?). There should be beginner books with scales and technique instruction. These books pair learning sheet music together with learning to play the instrument and can definitely be helpful. Start with the one for beginners and work from there!

    I'm sure there's also plenty of resources online if you look hard enough. I'd be sure to use a resource that pairs sheet music with the use of a specific instrument rather than vague music theory kind of instruction. I took music theory too (just a touch as an elective in college) and that kind of thing is what you take to become a composer.

  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Tica View Post
    The *best* way to learn how to read sheet music is to take classes with an instructor, wherein you either play an instrument or sing. (I did some sight-singing in college. It's awesome to be able to sing from nothing but a page of sheet music but it's generally much more difficult unless you have perfect pitch.) You can either take group classes--I did via concert band--or something like private lessons. A lot of people start with private piano lessons.

    If you can't afford classes, the next best thing is buying the same textbooks that the classes/private lessons use and reading them and teaching yourself that way. A lot of the time you can go to a music store and go to the sheet music section. Then look for the books specific to your instrument (in your case the piano?). There should be beginner books with scales and technique instruction. These books pair learning sheet music together with learning to play the instrument and can definitely be helpful. Start with the one for beginners and work from there!

    I'm sure there's also plenty of resources online if you look hard enough. I'd be sure to use a resource that pairs sheet music with the use of a specific instrument rather than vague music theory kind of instruction. I took music theory too (just a touch as an elective in college) and that kind of thing is what you take to become a composer.
    Nah, piano's just what I started out with. I felt more comfortable with the acoustic guitar and went down that path. Unfortunately I missed out on music theory and lessons during my time in college, although I'm sure I could find an instructor eventually. That might be a bit too heavy on my pockets for this particular hobby (I have a lot of different, unfortunately expensive interests x_x), so I'll continue down my path of self-teaching and take a trip to the music store. First I'll do some research online, though, armed with this knowledge. Thank you for the advice, both you and Tenaar.

  4. #14
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    I can kind of play by ear but it takes me awhile to figure out how to play a full song. I prefer reading sheet music simply because that's what I'm accustomed to.

    Alternatively, I can play from memory too. But that's only after I've read through the sheet music enough times.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rory View Post

    I do find myself envious of sheet readers. In your opinion, or anyone in general really, what's the best way you think to go about learning how to do so? I feel like there's much more of a structured regimen in place than there would be for someone trying to pick up playing by ear.
    The best way in my opinion is through instruction.

    But if you don't want to take lessons, it's like learning a new language. Start with basic scales and learn how to play them. And then you just kind of go from there.
    You keep at it and eventually you memorize that say the note C correlates to a certain fingering, and pitch, and position on the scale.

    Thankfully there's no shortage of resources for people looking to learn on their own. Hell, you could go to your local music store and find lesson books to help.

  5. #15
    I've always played by ear.
    I still can't read sheet music now, in fact.
    I guess for me, playing was more about memory. My fingers have become so accustomed to some songs that I can play them with my eyes closed and wearing heavy duty ear defenders.

  6. #16
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    The first three years of my guitar tuition was from stave reading and books etc. I then moved onto tabs and ear, but everynow and then I'll look at stave work. I have a skill level of Grade 5 theory (just never took the test, but did the uni admission tests etc.)
    I tend to go by ear or tab when I'm too lazy to sit and work something out.
    Singing wise, I sing by ear, but I can sing standard major and minor scale I realised yesterday so I'm not too bad there.

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  7. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Zack Valence View Post
    I guess for me, playing was more about memory. My fingers have become so accustomed to some songs that I can play them with my eyes closed and wearing heavy duty ear defenders.
    When I was first learning, I'd challenge myself a lot by playing in pitch darkness, or even while sitting in different positions so I could get to know the neck of my guitar in and out. Nowadays, I just practice while watching Netflix or something, which gives the same effect more or less. The muscle memory is important to all music, for sure. Playing in the dark or with your eyes closed is a great test to see how well you know what you're doing!

  8. #18
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    I do all by ear and cannot really read the sheet music (but with some effort I will be able to).

    This kind of stuff does work for me

    Playing in the dark is cool, I have experimented with that in past

  9. #19
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    I can do both. Usually it's sheet music for drums, but when I'm bored at school and in music class I like to try and work out a few tunes by ear on the keyboard (only on the right hand though - I'm too lazy to try and work out the left hand. I'd need sheet music for for the left hand).

  10. #20
    Hmm well I'm not much of a musician but I do play the keyboard when Im not doing on of my way too many other hobbies lol. Also I used to play the clarinet, and lol the ukelele in school. Some other things randomly but not much.

    I think that playing by ear is the best way to learn. In my opinion it gives you a better... Feel to how each note sounds, how its created and how different sounds can be made by using a different technique, moving your hand another way etc. of course it depends what instrument you are playing but I think playing by ear, and learning to recognize how to re-create a sound just by listening takes you farther then simply doing what is told to you. I feel like the way I played was, learn the note and listen to what you are playing, then listen to someone else play it, how or why is it different and how do you want your piece of music to sound? Of course having note to follow can be vey very helpful, but things written on paper, like speech can be made to sound so different.

 

 

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