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#1134117 - 09/01/08 01:25 AM Play Piano by Ear - Shawn Cheek
Ragtime Clown Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/08
Posts: 684
Loc: Ireland
Shawn Cheek is a very popular www.webpianoteacher.com and I have bought many of his tutorial videos.

Recently he has uploaded five new videos demonstrating how he plays a songs from the bottom up in 5 steps. The entire tutorial lasts 45minutes.

Today I downloaded all five movies and was quite impressed at how simple the process of arranging a recording can be done. Shawn takes you through examples and explains the method and technique of playing by ear and lets you into to secrets of how he uses the well-known 'white-board' technique to play piano by ear.

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#1134118 - 09/01/08 06:57 PM Re: Play Piano by Ear - Shawn Cheek
Serge88 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/27/06
Posts: 775
Loc: Canada
I've seen his video they are great but most of the time he sings and it's only the accompaniement without the melody.

Serge
_________________________

“Being able to hear recorded music freed up loads of musicians that couldn't necessarily afford to learn to read or write music. With recording, it was emancipation for the people.”
-Keith Richards


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#1134119 - 09/02/08 08:09 AM Re: Play Piano by Ear - Shawn Cheek
Ragtime Clown Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/08
Posts: 684
Loc: Ireland
Serge88, what is your playing style?

Have you previously tried either youTube videos, Sudnow or Piano Magic. What are your opinions of them?

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#1134120 - 09/02/08 07:41 PM Re: Play Piano by Ear - Shawn Cheek
Serge88 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/27/06
Posts: 775
Loc: Canada
I have no style, I just want to play what I like to listen on my ipod, popular music and a little bit of classic.

Yes Sudnow and PianoMagic, I learned from both course and I still use what I learned. I didn't renew my subscription at Pianomagic because playing by ear was not my priority and I think to become good at playing by ear you have to only focus on that.

Serge
_________________________

“Being able to hear recorded music freed up loads of musicians that couldn't necessarily afford to learn to read or write music. With recording, it was emancipation for the people.”
-Keith Richards


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#1134121 - 09/10/08 02:29 AM Re: Play Piano by Ear - Shawn Cheek
swingal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/05
Posts: 1094
Loc: England
Serge,

"I think to become good at playing by ear you have to only focus on that."

I'm sure you are correct with the above. Indeed it is only loads of practice that fills the subconscious brain with the relationship of the sounds of each note in an octave so that your memory can automatically play the correct notes for the sounds you want. So with chords and all improvisations in jazz.

Is that what you mean? Take a trumpet player, they have to use their lips to form the sound I suppose, how difficult that is. I tried it once.

swingal

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#1134122 - 11/14/08 04:41 PM Re: Play Piano by Ear - Shawn Cheek
simpleshinji Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/11/08
Posts: 7
Can anyone elaborate on what the 'white-board technique' is?

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#1134123 - 11/15/08 04:36 AM Re: Play Piano by Ear - Shawn Cheek
swingal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/05
Posts: 1094
Loc: England
Ref above.

quote "Can anyone elaborate on what the 'white-board technique' is? "

I have never heard of the white-board. Or am I just not 'with it' ?

swingal

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#1134124 - 11/15/08 04:37 AM Re: Play Piano by Ear - Shawn Cheek
swingal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/05
Posts: 1094
Loc: England
Ref above.

quote "Can anyone elaborate on what the 'white-board technique' is? "

I have never heard of the white-board. Or am I just not 'with it' ?

swingal

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#1134125 - 11/15/08 08:51 AM Re: Play Piano by Ear - Shawn Cheek
dannac Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/07
Posts: 601
Loc: USA
"White-Board Technique"

He has a white marker board behind the piano keys. He marks the actual notes to be played on the marker board.

You can find many of his videos on youtube.

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#1134126 - 11/16/08 03:14 AM Re: Play Piano by Ear - Shawn Cheek
swingal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/05
Posts: 1094
Loc: England
OK, thanks dannac for that explanation. I wonder if that method develops the brain to transfer a song in the subconscious brain to the sounds that all the keys have,into the piece you wish to play. Or,memeorise the song then play the correct notes from the memory of the sounds each key gives.

The white board method could be a help in playing by ear, provided you remember the sounds from the indicated white board key connections. Just one complete octave would do I guess.

Alan. Swingal

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#1134127 - 11/16/08 03:17 AM Re: Play Piano by Ear - Shawn Cheek
swingal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/05
Posts: 1094
Loc: England

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#1134128 - 11/17/08 06:03 PM Re: Play Piano by Ear - Shawn Cheek
Ragtime Clown Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/08
Posts: 684
Loc: Ireland
Recent productions that Shawn has done were pretty poor/ I sunscribed to his latest offerring and found the actual presentation was terrible, the white board was difficult to read and generally lighting and clarity were poor.

I emailed him at least 8weeks ago about this and did not receive a reply!

I have bought nothing since.

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#1134129 - 11/17/08 06:38 PM Re: Play Piano by Ear - Shawn Cheek
btcomm Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/05/07
Posts: 278
Loc: California
Ragtime Clown ------ I too had purchased an item from Shawn Cheek about a year ago which was a nightmare trying to get them to get my order to me. I have several times emailed them for one thing or another since and have never received a response back to any of my questions or concerns. Great way to run a business, eh? Apparently he just makes the "videos" and his wife does all the rest -- accounting, orders, duping DVD's, and "responding" to emails and requests. I think they are in way over their head.

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#1134130 - 11/18/08 07:41 PM Re: Play Piano by Ear - Shawn Cheek
Agathis Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 420
Loc: Southwest
had same experience, i sent him an email over a year ago just saying great work because i think i actually am friends of one of his relatives... no answer...

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#1134131 - 11/18/08 10:34 PM Re: Play Piano by Ear - Shawn Cheek
TX-Dennis Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/05
Posts: 4126
Loc: Texas
 Quote:
Originally posted by swingal:
Take a trumpet player, they have to use their lips to form the sound I suppose, how difficult that is. I tried it once.

swingal [/b]
Actually, having played both in college. I thought trumpet was far easier than piano. Maybe it was just me. \:D Blowing the trumpet gave me a more or less constant headache, so I eventually gave it up. It was more fun than a barrel full of donkeys, though. ;\)
_________________________
Dennis

flickr


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#1134132 - 12/03/08 02:58 AM Re: Play Piano by Ear - Shawn Cheek
swingal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/05
Posts: 1094
Loc: England
I still feel the best way, other than learning to play correctly with reading music,is to learn to play by ear. This may be confusing as there does appear to be more than one meaning of the subject. I took the 'term' by ear to mean that you memorized in the sub-conscious brain the relationship of the piano keyboard and the sounds each note and chord you played represented. As an example a singer can produce a sound from their vocal chords without any technical or mechanical means.

So therefore the keyboard should be easier to master as the sounds are there in front of your eyes. Your brain and memory work together I suppose and with practice and time the keyboard is mastered, at least we know some people do play this way.

A lot of practice is required to build up a memory of the whole ability. It does work with me and others in jazz. Though classical would be a different story, however you rarely see concert pianists playing form the written score.

Does this ability ring any bells from member's of this forum ?

swingal

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#1134133 - 12/04/08 02:11 AM Re: Play Piano by Ear - Shawn Cheek
Ragtime Clown Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/08
Posts: 684
Loc: Ireland
I have been looking at Shawns videos again and I am in the process of working my way through the Beatles song 'Blackbird'.

Today I plan on printing out the 'whiteboard' by taking a 'screen dump' of the actual video and working through the song. I think I was a bit critical on his presentation which may be an unfair comment but he does have the knack of playing these songs really well. I'll report back later!

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#1134134 - 12/04/08 04:55 AM Re: Play Piano by Ear - Shawn Cheek
Arabesque Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/16/05
Posts: 553
Loc: Japan
Dennis,
How long would it take a pianist to become proficient at the trumpet? Are those headaches the result of noise or air pressure? I'd like to learn a second more portable instrument for when I'm out of the house. Trumpets get attention that's for sure.
_________________________
It don't mean a ting if it don't have dat swing

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#1134135 - 12/04/08 08:38 AM Re: Play Piano by Ear - Shawn Cheek
dannac Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/07
Posts: 601
Loc: USA
Arabesque

I've played trumpet approx 5 or 6 yrs ...longer than piano (3 yrs) ... play nearly every Sunday with church choir.

No offense to TX ... but if you get headaches from blowing a trumpet, you are doing something wrong ... probably not using air/breathing correctly.

Trumpet is physically demanding now ... but it should not cause pain.
It takes tome to build endurance.

If you can get a buzz sound with just your lips, you can blow/get sounds out of a trumpet.

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#1134136 - 12/04/08 08:56 AM Re: Play Piano by Ear - Shawn Cheek
dannac Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/07
Posts: 601
Loc: USA
.... and about the thread .... Shawn Cheek

I subscribed for a 3 month.

Downloaded many video's using Quicktime.
(you need the pro version of QT)

All videos are well done and he is a fantastic player.

But looking back, I wish I had put my money to something that would show me the how/why this could be played this or that way ... more theory behind the playing I guess. I will not subscribe again.

If you want to learn a certain song, it's good.
But thats all it teaches.

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#1134137 - 12/07/08 02:51 AM Re: Play Piano by Ear - Shawn Cheek
swingal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/05
Posts: 1094
Loc: England
I imagine the White Board is of use to learn to play a particular piece of music using a different means than the conventional way. It does not seam to teach anything about playing from memory, or by ear. Yes, it will develop the ear method by a different route.

My interpretation of 'by ear' is to memeorise the piece of music you wish to play as if you are singing it. Then the brain is recalled at the piano and you know what keys give the sounds that the song requires from your subconscious brain. The piano keyboard octave must be memorised to let the brain and fingers connect to the right notes. The white board only tells you the name of the note, correct? Or I suppose gives you the sequential fingering too. That would be OK. That is like someone teaching you the notes to play but until you master the piano keyboard in your memory that is not very useful.

swingal

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#1134138 - 12/15/08 08:00 AM Re: Play Piano by Ear - Shawn Cheek
Ivory Dreams Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/12/08
Posts: 210
Loc: Central NC
I like the Shawn Cheek videos. He pulls some good licks down into their simple most form. If I had to explain them to someone, my best offer is:

MONKEY SEE - MONKEY DO.

No slur intended. I can sight read. But I would have never learned/memorized Sweet Home Alabama without Shawn and that white board.

With that said: He is no substitute for written sheet music.
_________________________


You can own a Chickering, Christifori, or Steinway, but if you can't play it.... It is just a piece of eye candy.

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#1134139 - 12/16/08 03:16 AM Re: Play Piano by Ear - Shawn Cheek
Ragtime Clown Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/08
Posts: 684
Loc: Ireland
Ivory, it took me some time to realise that there are more than one way to play the piano. Printed music is how I work best but I also am able to pick up on songs by ear also. The big drawback with playing by ear for me however is that each time you visit the piano you add a different touch to a song.

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#1134140 - 12/16/08 06:08 AM Re: Play Piano by Ear - Shawn Cheek
Ivory Dreams Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/12/08
Posts: 210
Loc: Central NC
I'm not proud. I'll use any..... and every tool I can find to enhance my piano journey.
_________________________


You can own a Chickering, Christifori, or Steinway, but if you can't play it.... It is just a piece of eye candy.

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#1134141 - 02/15/09 07:03 PM Re: Play Piano by Ear - Shawn Cheek
rhymes and chymes Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/17/09
Posts: 5
I'd like to add my two cents on this. I was classically trained and I'm a good sight reader. Now as an older adult I'm trying to learn to play by ear, ie, without written music, in pop/folk/etc styles and it's not easy. The problem is the rhythms. The notes, chords, and technical demands in most pop and folk piano styles are not difficult, but the rhythms are, for me at least, very challenging. And here is where I find the big lack in online piano instruction--in breaking down, or slowing down, how to play the rhythms in these different styles. I think the reason is that what's going on rhythmically is complex and not easy to convey.

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#1134142 - 02/15/09 07:29 PM Re: Play Piano by Ear - Shawn Cheek
BJones Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/08
Posts: 1043
Loc: Queens, NY
 Quote:
Originally posted by dannac:
but if you get headaches from blowing a trumpet, you are doing something wrong ... probably not using air/breathing correctly.

Trumpet is physically demanding now ... but it should not cause pain.
[/b]
This is absolutely true. It's a well known scientific fact that throughout history trumpets have been carefully designed and painstakingly modified to solely give the listeners at close quarters a migraine headache while the trumpeteer remains quite comfortable.
If the sound causes the player pain as well as the listeners, something is horribly wrong. ;\)
_________________________
Some recent improvisations:

Cool School Chopin:

http://www.mediafire.com/?d1yc1mmitew

Improvisations:

http://www.box.net/shared/bjv6yc34oo

http://www.box.net/shared/8lmc3hzikl


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#1134143 - 02/16/09 02:51 AM Re: Play Piano by Ear - Shawn Cheek
swingal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/05
Posts: 1094
Loc: England
To rhymes and chymes,

I think you need to concentrate on building up your memory of the music you wish to play. You need to have rhythm in your subconscious brain. This would come by lots and lots of listening to the music you wish to play. Get rhythm in your whole being, morning noon and night! Sounds easy, but I realize that practical daily events preclude that way, sometimes.

As it is impossible to know what any other human being can hear,feel or taste we can only make suggestions based on our own brain.

I have never learned music in any form. I cannot sing a note but I know all the sounds on all the keys in a piano octave and semi-tones too. But I have been playing since age about 3. My mother showed me how and taught me how to relate the keys on the piano with a sound in my head. That was 78 years ago.

Life's vagaries and needs preclude the massive piano input that develops in the subconscious brain facility. Therein lies the answer to building the memory and fingering that such an instrument requires to master.

It is vital to have rhythm in your soul. I suggest you listen to the rhythms and beats so much that you find yourself beating out sounds both in your memory, humming when possible, tapping your fingers as often as possible and so forth.

All in all, it is your whole being that must digest the music you want to play so keenly, thereby have a store of that music tucked away in the brain, awaiting your recall. We all have that ability I believe.

As an aside, I also play-along with CD,s which is a good way of learning by ear. It is the way to enable the subconscious memory and recall to function. Though I think some people have difficulty in using such a brain facility,we are not all wired up the same.

Back to 'rhymes and chymes' questions. I would think you can only try getting some score to teach you the basic beat that gives the left hand rhythm. Or listen or watch someone playing and see what the beat is like to play. I understand this is not simple any more that I find in reading music which is impossible for me.

Alan (swingal)

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#1134144 - 02/16/09 05:41 AM Re: Play Piano by Ear - Shawn Cheek
dannac Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/07
Posts: 601
Loc: USA
 Quote:
It's a well known scientific fact that throughout history trumpets have been carefully designed and painstakingly modified to solely give the listeners at close quarters a migraine headache while the trumpeteer remains quite comfortable
:D \:D \:D

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#1405847 - 03/28/10 09:25 PM Re: Play Piano by Ear - Shawn Cheek [Re: dannac]
Play 4 times Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/20/10
Posts: 1
Hello everybody,

I have signed up for the lessons of Shawn Cheek but I am not able to download the video lessons to my pc. Is it possible to download the video clip to pc?

Could you please give me a hint to do it?

Thanks,

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#1407936 - 03/31/10 03:42 PM Re: Play Piano by Ear - Shawn Cheek [Re: Play 4 times]
dannac Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/07
Posts: 601
Loc: USA
Quicktime .....you need the pro version.

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#1407948 - 03/31/10 04:02 PM Re: Play Piano by Ear - Shawn Cheek [Re: dannac]
Legal Beagle Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/24/09
Posts: 776
Just a note of clarification re: Shawn Cheek and "playing by ear."

I've looked at some of his videos, and I agree it's a pretty decent way to learn a particular song... but OP should understand that the white board has nothing to do with teaching you to play by ear. The "playing by ear" part is done by Shawn before the video. He listens to recorded music, picks out the notes (he has perfect pitch apparently), and writes them down on the white board to teach you in the video. The white board is simply a different notation system, writing down the names of the notes instead of using standard notation.

Advantages IMO: easy way to learn a particular song; more accessible for those without good reading skills on a grand staff; and also... good arrangements (this is of no small importance; because Shawn picks out the parts by ear, he usually gives you exactly what the artist is playing on the recording, or at least very close, and that's sometimes hard to find in sheet music).

Disadvantages: it is indeed "monkey-see, monkey-do." You're going to learn a song, but not much else in the way of pianistic skills; if you learn to read standard notation instead of relying on his white board notation, the whole world of music is open to you instead of the few songs he decides to transcribe.

Final note: the video described by OP seems to be different, where Shawn actually explains to you the process he uses to pick out the notes and transcribe them... but that has nothing to do with the white board notation and the bulk of his videos. I haven't seen this particular video, but I also doubt it's really teaching you how to "play be ear," but more probably teaching you how to transcribe from a recording (which is of course related, but not the same thing).
_________________________
"Wide awake, I can make my most fantastic dreams come true..."
- Lorenz Hart

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