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I think it is important for every musician to know how to play by ear. Yes I know that many music teachers disagree with me. I hear stories of teachers who go so far as to punish children that play by ear. But playing by ear is a functional skill, meaning a skill that is actually very useful in real life. It is also a skill that is learnable just like any other music skill. Don’t buy into the myth that you have to be born with the ability to play that way. I did not play by ear until I was out of college with fifteen years of music education behind me.
Which is better: reading music or playing by ear?
A tip for sight reading
Identifying chords by ear
How to begin playing by ear
How to begin playing by ear (Part 2)
Charting by ear – An example
Playing by ear – A short primer
Why some songs are hard to play by ear
For parents: An easy summer project for your children