I was at a party once, and the topic of music came up. To paraphrase the conversation, one person said, “I took a lot of piano lessons as a kid, but I couldn’t play anything unless I had sheet music in front of me. If I sat at a piano without sheet music I just wouldn’t remember what to play!”. My ears perked up at this comment. She continued, “My husband can just sit at the piano and play anything he wants, just making stuff up. I’ll never be able to do that.”
Another person chimed in, “You know, some people are just born with that ability to play by ear.” There were nods of agreement around the room. Everyone seems to know one or two people who have the “musical gene”.
Then I jumped into the conversation, “I’m actually working on a book about how to play by ear. I believe anyone can learn how to do it”.
There are many books about music out there. Why should you read this one? I believe this book focuses on the skills that other books neglect. For example, I can play any song if I’ve heard it on the radio a few times. I can easily fit into any musical “jam”, even if I don’t know the songs other musicians are playing. I can improvise. I can sing with people and make up harmonies. I can make up a guitar part to a song that doesn’t have one. I can learn a new instrument fairly quickly. In short, I am fluent in the language of music. For me, playing music is as easy as speaking (sometimes it’s easier). This book is my attempt to show you how this works. Whether you want to play classical music or participate in a “jam” at a house party, I believe the skills you’ll learn from this book will enrich your musical experience.