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#1521295 - 09/23/10 05:33 PM How to teach playing by ear/harmony
WinsomeAllegretto Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/18/10
Posts: 832
A student of mine wants to learn to play by ear and some basic theory/harmony so she can improvise. Does anyone know of any good resources for teaching these things? Any easy songs it wouldn't be hard for an intermediate student to learn by ear? Also some melodies that have simple harmonies, such as Amazing Grace, or Jingle Bells?


Edited by WinsomeAllegretto (09/23/10 05:34 PM)

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#1521382 - 09/23/10 07:41 PM Re: How to teach playing by ear/harmony [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Part of the challenge for publishers wanting to provide resources for teaching student to play by ear is that a book kind of defeats the purpose. So then you are down to recordings, and just figuring it out.

But you raise a sensational issue: imagine if there were a series of increasingly challenging pieces for students to work through learning learning from listening!! That would be so outrageously fabulous.....

Having gone off on my fantasty tangent, what I would suggest is that a prerequisite for being able to play by ear is an excellent grasp of keyboard geography - knowing from experience that E D C is the same as A G F and B A G and Bflat Aflat Gflat (and so on) only in transposition. Being able to visualise the geographic realisation of what the student is hearing is the key to fast and accurate playing by ear.

Obviously, this is not a skill traditionally taught by piano teachers.

This is a bit of a philosophical divergence, rather than a list of resources, but I hope it's helpful?!
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

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#1521482 - 09/23/10 11:13 PM Re: How to teach playing by ear/harmony [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]
WinsomeAllegretto Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/18/10
Posts: 832
Thanks, I like your ideas. I have decided that when I get some beginner students, I will do ear training with them as well as learning to read music, and I have ideas for that, but I'm not sure how to do it with slightly more advanced students.

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#1521741 - 09/24/10 10:24 AM Re: How to teach playing by ear/harmony [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]
Gerard12 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/19/10
Posts: 787
Loc: South Carolina
Excellent point, fantasy or otherwise, Elissa. I increasingly come across students whose learning orientation tilts towards visual 'cues' - like keyboard geography. It used to be exhibited only by children, but now it's endemic to lots of students under the age of 30 or so. It's almost as if they abhor looking at the printed music placed in front of them, preferring the entertainment value of staring at their moving hands on the keys.

So, for playing by ear, what you describe is a natural process for most students. Though I think that some would not approve.
_________________________
Piano performance and instruction (former college music professor).

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#1521761 - 09/24/10 10:46 AM Re: How to teach playing by ear/harmony [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Mind you, the keyboard geography thing is only partially visual, it's mostly physical - the student needs to know the *feeling* of the sounds, otherwise it's impossible to play by ear......

But I think it does come naturally to children to explore the topography of the keyboard, and to figure out the patterns and become mesmerised by them - why not?!
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

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#1521789 - 09/24/10 11:51 AM Re: How to teach playing by ear/harmony [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]
D4v3 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 503
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Isn't ear harmony a dating website?
_________________________
Currently learning composition:

Some of my compositions

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