- 10 Tricks To Learn To Play The Guitar By Ear
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- 1. Wrong
- 2. Working on rhythm
- 3. Starting with small steps
- 4. Transcribe
- 5. Please unzip
- 6. Recognizing patterns
- 7. Sing
- 8. Listen and study your favorite songs
- 9. Practice transposition
- 10. Developing skills
10 Tricks To Learn To Play The Guitar By Ear
It seems that most aspiring musicians think that learning to play the guitar by ear is an impossible task as if it were a kind of “superpower” given only to the best musicians and the elite. Well, the truth is that learning to play by ear is a skill and as such can be learned and taught.
First of all, you need to know what it means to learn to play the guitar by ear: it essentially means learning the ability to reproduce music only by listening to it and without considering any kind of tabulation or printed notes. What most people don’t realize is that we all use this talent every day: every time we sing in the shower, for example, we use this talent. So, the only real skill needed to learn by ear is the ability to listen. The notes played are the same notes that you hear during the recording or in your mind. It is called “height recognition.
The best way to play guitar by ear is simply to start practicing. Here are 10 tricks to learn to play the guitar by ear that may help you.
Learning to play the guitar by ear is a process, and it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and mistakes are the order of the day. At first, you will make more mistakes than you expected, in fact, you will make a lot of mistakes. But it’s completely normal and it shouldn’t discourage you in any way: your mistakes will make you better guitarists if you are willing to try again every time. Playing the guitar gives you the freedom to experiment, an essential element to learning the ability to play by ear. The more you start experimenting, the more you’ll train your ears not only to identify the notes you want but also to creatively embellish them.
2. Working on rhythm
Your sense of rhythm is not preset for life and can change over time. When you learn to play guitar by ear, the pitch of a note is no doubt as important as the tempo of the notes themselves. Concentrate on developing the rhythm; to play songs by ear, you’ll need to match the overall tempo and notes of the melody to get a pattern to play.
3. Starting with small steps
The trick is to start a little at a time. Start with simple isolated notes, intervals and chords. Then, start connecting these skills to the real music. Only after you have mastered these basics like a pro can you move on to more complex exercises.
Transcription means understanding music by ear and writing it down somehow. The transcription process is actually almost the same as playing by ear. The only difference is that it gives you more space to experiment with trial and error, introducing a useful intermediate step between playing and listening.
5. Please unzip
When you learn to play the guitar by ear you need to develop your skills gradually. The best way to do this is to divide everything into small parts. If you want to learn to process a melody by ear, then you will need to try to identify some common melodic patterns. Immediately afterward you will realize that you are progressing almost unconsciously!
6. Recognizing patterns
Once you’re able to recognize small pieces of music, you’ll notice something right off the block. Melodies and chord progressions almost always contain sequences of common patterns with which you are now familiar. Once you start noticing these patterns you’ll improve in remembering chords to songs and you’ll be able to understand songs by ear even faster.
One of the most important aspects of learning to play the guitar by ear is being able to connect the notes to the music you hear in your head. How do you do this? Simply by singing. The voice is an important bridge between skills and will help you embrace the concept of singing simple melodies in the correct key. Don’t worry, you don’t need to have an incredible singing voice to do it effectively; all you need to do is be able to take the right note.
8. Listen and study your favorite songs
Gear up the gears you may wish to improve your learning by listening and studying your favorite songs. One of the things that will happen naturally when you learn to play by ear is that you will start to fragment the songs you listen to the most, only you won’t notice it. To improve your skills, try to do it consciously. Listen to your favorite songs and try to decode them by trying to reproduce them by matching the rhythm or choosing it separately. Not only will it help you become a better guitarist, but you will learn while having fun.
9. Practice transposition
Take a song you already know how to play and try to play it in a different key. This will help you to have some understanding of the basic theory of music regarding keys, scales and chord progressions. Be careful not to consider transposition as a purely abstract exercise in music theory. Always use your ears: choose a different starting note or another chord and try to reconstruct the piece from that starting point.
Since the song is familiar, you should find it easier to use the trial version or any errors to gradually process it by ear. By doing this through multiple keys and with different tracks, you will find that it will be easier and easier to learn to recognize the underlying patterns and train your ear to distinguish between right and wrong.
10. Developing skills
Once you start practicing trying to play by ear you need to constantly train this skill, using it more and more often in order to refine your technique and learn more and more songs. As mentioned earlier, it is good to start with the songs that are most familiar to you. Later, when you improve, you need to challenge yourself with more and more difficult songs and complex melodies. By maintaining good training you will finally master the art of playing the guitar by ear.