If you’re a songwriter, musician, producer, or performer who wants to step up their music game…

Acquire the ability to play music by ear.

Simply put, playing by ear is playing what you hear. Alternatively, you may play music that complements what you’re hearing.

Every artist should be able to do it.

Continue reading if you need assistance learning to play by ear.

What Are the Benefits of Playing by Ear?

In the world of music, there’s a saying…

If you take a musician’s sheet music away from them and they don’t know what to do with it, they aren’t a real musician.

It’s harsh, but it’s true.

Would you like to learn a new song? Why not join a band? Do you want to jam with other musicians? Solo?

All of this necessitates improvisation.

This ability will benefit you as a producer as well.

A lot of music production is basically playing around with different ideas. Trying out several riffs.

What Is the Best Way to Learn to Play by Ear?

Let’s go over the fundamentals of learning to play a song by ear.

This will provide you with the necessary skills to play along with a song simply by hearing it.

1. Listen

Although it may seem self-evident, this is an important step to take.

You should learn to play a song that you already know.

If you haven’t already, give the song a couple of listens. Over the course of a few days, listen to the song many times.

Learn the song’s lyrics. It will simplify the process of learning by ear.

2. Look for the First Note

Don’t attempt to memorize the entire song in one sitting. You’ll quickly become overwhelmed.

Instead, simply locate the first note. You can’t continue on until you discover the initial note, which may take some time.

Do it even if it means playing every note on your instrument to discover it.

Listen to the opening note of the song and the note you’re playing back to back once you’ve found it. Repeat this process a few times until your brain becomes accustomed to it.

3. Take each note one at a time

Go one note at a time after you’ve found the initial note. Don’t even try to get two notes at the same time.

You must study one note at a time, just as bricklayers stack one brick at a time.

Write down each note as you come across it.

Make a letter for the note. Make a notation for it.

Snap a photo of yourself playing the note, even if you have to take a picture of yourself playing the note.

Anything to aid in your memory of the notes.

4. Practice

Put it all together once you’ve located and written down all of the notes in the tune. Play it from beginning to end.

Then play it once more. And once more.

The only way to memorize music is to practice.

Learning to Play by Ear Tips

Here are some basic guidelines to keep in mind while you learn to play a song by ear, in addition to the preceding step-by-step approach.

Take It Slowly

Slowing down a song is one of the most effective techniques to learn it by ear.

Adjust the playback rate if you’re using YouTube.

Download the music, drop it into your DAW, and reduce the playing rate if you’re using another platform. Just make sure the pitch doesn’t alter in the process.

Slow down whatever you can, especially if you’re having problems memorizing it by ear.

Just concentrate on the melody

Don’t try to work out the chords when you’re learning to play by ear. Learn only the melody.

You can try your hand at discovering the other sections once you’ve mastered locating tunes by ear.

For the time being, simply concentrate on the music.

Notes should be written down

This has already been stated, but it bears repeating. Make a list of the song’s notes.

As you decide out what notes you’re going to play, jot them down in whatever method that will help you recall them.

Make use of the letters’ names. If you know how to compose sheet music, make a note of them.

Make a short video of yourself performing the music.

That way, if you forget how to play the music, you won’t have to relearn it.

Learn to Listen to Music

I know I’ve been giving off the impression that you don’t need to read music, but it may be really beneficial.

Playing by ear might be much easier if you know how to create and read tabs or sheet music.

It’s a simple method of remembering how to play a tune in case you forget.

Wait patiently

This is the key to learning how to play music by ear. Allow yourself to be patient.

If you’re learning a song note by note, it might take a long time. So just be aware of it before you begin.

Musicians must be some of the world’s most patient individuals. As you study music by ear, channel your patience.


Keep in mind that even the most gifted musicians may play by ear.

And now you know where to begin.