Playing Piano By Ear: Complete Guide for Aspiring Musicians

Learn to play the piano by ear and to read chord charts. Practical lessons anyone can learn.
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Instructed by Roy Denton Music / Instruments
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  • Lectures 59
  • Length 4.5 hours
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
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    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 11/2015 English

Course Description

This course is designed to take you from no knowledge of the piano to becoming a musician. And not just a musician, but one who can play by ear. Impress people by hearing a song and being able to sit down at the piano and play it without sheet music.

This course is structured starting as if you have no knowledge of the piano at all. This does not mean this course is not for people who already have some knowledge of the piano. There are many people who play by note, but would love to learn to just "hear" it and play it. This course if for both of these types of musicians and anyone in between.

What are the requirements?

  • You will need access to a keyboard or piano for this course.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Have a base knowledge to build your own creative ear
  • Know scales in every key
  • Play chords
  • Read Chord Charts
  • Play piano by ear

What is the target audience?

  • This course is for anyone with a desire to play the piano with emphasis on playing by ear and chord charts

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.

Curriculum

Section 1: Introduction
02:02

Hello! My name is Trey and we will be learning the piano together throughout this course. In this section I give an introduction to playing the piano by ear. This lecture will give an overview of what playing by ear is exactly and why it is beneficial. I also go over the curriculum and the things that we will learn together through this course.

Section 2: Understanding the keyboard
09:20

In this lecture, we dive into the layout of the keyboard. We take it step by step in understanding where the notes are as well as their names. We also talk about the sharps and the flats. By the end of this section, you will know the layout of the keyboard, where each note is, and what you are looking at when you look at a keyboard.

When you complete this lecture, download the blank piano diagram and use it as practice to write down and become familiar with the notes on the keyboard.

Section 3: Scales
06:45

We will learn what Major and Minor scales are as well as taking a look at how the two differ. We also start into learning scales by learning the C Major scale.

02:46

In this lesson, we learn to play the D Major Scale.

05:30

In this lesson, we learn to play the E Major Scale.

05:32

In this lesson, we learn to play the F Major Scale.

03:37

In this lesson, we learn to play the G Major Scale.

04:08

In this lesson, we learn to play the A Major Scale.

03:26

In this lesson, we learn to play the B Major Scale.

04:04

In this lesson, we learn to play the C# (or Db) Major Scale.

02:49

In this lesson, we learn to play the D# (or Eb) Major Scale.

02:47

In this lesson, we learn to play the F# (or Gb) Major Scale.

02:31

In this lesson, we learn to play the G# (or Ab) Major Scale.

03:38

In this lesson, we learn to play the A# (or Bb) Major Scale.

00:56

Continue to learn scales with these practice excersizes.

Section 4: Nashville Number System
03:40

We learn in this lesson what the Nashville Number system is, why we use it, and the benefits of knowing how to use it.

09:21

We will go over the Nashville Number System in this lesson. We look at what numbers in any given key are assigned to each note. We look at it in a couple of keys to show how it really applies to whatever key you would like to play in.

01:58

Here, I will give you some practice exercises with the Nashville Number System.


I have attached a chart as a reference for you in all the major keys of what the numbers and chords will be. You can use this throughout the next several sections to refer to.

Section 5: Chords
10:48

We begin to dive right into chords in this lesson. We will learn what a chord is, how to piece together a chord using notes, and what it looks like. We also go over what a major chord is and how to play the major chords. This is where we start putting all of what we have learned so far together.

05:15

Now that we have gone over what a major chord is, we look at minor chords. We see the difference between a major and minor chord and also learn how to play your minor chords.

05:04

After looking at triad chords in the previous 2 lessons, we learn how to add a 4th note to our chord. Sometimes chord charts call for this and we learn what it means and how to play them when they do.

04:31

Now that we know the chords and how to play them, we look at a couple of different ways to voice or play these chords. These are called inversions.

03:51

It's time to put all we have learned about chords together in a practice exercise. Here I give you some ways to practice using chords.

Section 6: Rhythm
02:05

In this section we will be covering rhythm and timing. We go over what measures are and take a look at a couple of the most common time signatures.

09:58

We look at what 4/4 timing is in this lesson. I will also give you a rhythm pattern in 4/4/ timing to practice and get use to playing and hearing 4/4 timing.

04:44

In this lesson we go over 3/4 timing, how to play a pattern with it, and look at an example of a song with 3/4 timing.

10:15

We learn what 6/8 time signature is in this lesson. We learn a rhythm pattern and I show you a song that has 6/8 timing.

02:14

Practice what you have learned in this section with this practice exercise.


I have added a link to a metronome where you can select 4/4, 3/4, and 6/8 time signatures as well as change the bpm (beats per measure) or speed. Use this to hear what the rhythms sound like and to play along with.

Section 7: Left Hand Basics
07:38

We move from to using our entire left hand. We expand from what we have been using in our left hand.

02:55

We start to put it all together in this practice section. Put the rhythm, chords, and left hand together.

Section 8: Chord Charts/Nashville Number System
08:14

We learn how to read chord charts as well as Nashville Number System charts in this lesson.

02:25

Here is some practice for you on chord charts and Nashville Number System charts.

Section 9: Song Keys
09:05

We will look at how to examine and analyze songs to determine what key the song is in. We look at what chords are major and minor in any given key.

Section 10: Breaking Rhythm & Using the pedal
02:02

In this lesson, we will learn how to break away from the rhythm patterns we have learned. We use the rhythm patterns to keep us in time, but do not actually play them out.

15:48

In this lesson, we will learn how to break away from the rhythm patterns we have learned. We use the rhythm patterns to keep us in time, but do not actually play them out. We also look at what the sustain pedal does and how to use it in our playing.

Section 11: Chord Progressions
02:17

We preview what we learn in this section: chord progressions.

02:55

We go over and listen to what a 1, 4, 5 chord progression looks and sounds like.

02:04

We go over and listen to what a 1, 4, 6, 5 chord progression looks and sounds like.

02:49
We go over and listen to what a 1, 5, 6, 4 chord progression looks and sounds like.
02:52
We go over and listen to what a 6, 4, 1, 5 chord progression looks and sounds like.
03:56
We go over and listen to what a 1, 6, 5, 4 chord progression looks and sounds like.
02:17

We talk about practicing chord progressions in this lesson.

Section 12: Playing by ear - Hearing Intervals
02:19

We begin to train our ear by looking at how to listen to different intervals.

03:23

We learn what the intervals of 1, 2, 3 and then 1 to 3 sounds like as well as training our ear to hear them.

02:28

We learn what the intervals of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and then 1 to 3 to 5 sound like as well as training our ear to hear them.

02:01
We learn what the interval of 1 to 4 sounds like as well as training our ear to hear it.
03:27
We learn what the intervals of 6 and 7 sound like as well as training our ear to hear them.
03:59

We talk about practicing the intervals we have learned in this section.

Section 13: Playing by ear - Chords
02:00

In this lesson, we continue training our ear to hear and play by looking at chords. We look at how different chord changes sound in relation with each other.

04:55

We go over how it sounds to go from a 1 chord to a 4 chord.

04:17
We go over how it sounds to go from a 1 chord to a 5 chord.
02:42

We go over how it sounds to go from a 1 chord to a 6 chord.

03:20

We go over how it sounds to go from a 1 chord to a 2 chord.

05:59

We go over how it sounds to go from a 1 chord to a 3 chord.

03:09

We wrap up our training of hearing chords with some practice.

Section 14: Runs, Licks, & Fills
02:24

We talk about what we will learn in this lesson and how it makes our playing sound better.

09:35

We learn a couple of runs, licks and fills to enhance our playing and make it sound great.

02:28

It's time to practice our runs, licks and fills. We go over practice in this lesson.

Section 15: Farewell
02:33

A wrap of all we have learned and where to go from here.

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Instructor Biography

Roy Denton, Musician

I learned to play the piano at a very young age and now have over 20 years of experience in playing by ear.

I have a passion for music, especially the piano. I have had the opportunity to play all over the world. I love to share my knowledge and teach people music. It is rewarding to see people develop skills in an area that they have always had a desire to do.

I am currently the music minister at my church and I have had the privilege of directing bands, choirs, and teams throughout my music tenure. My experiences have lead to a developed skillset of how to teach and direct in music.

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