You really have to practice the coordination between the mind and the fingers, the ideas and the body. You have to find the idea on your horn at the same time it comes into your head. It’s a matter of developing instant touch.
– Art Farmer, Thinking in Jazz
Learning to play music by ear is the gateway to:
Inner hearing is imagined music. Throughout a lifetime of listening to, singing, and playing music, you have developed a personal repertoire of music in your imagination. This is one of your greatest assets as a creative musician. Do you ever get songs stuck in your head? Do you ever hear licks in your head that you wish you could play on your instrument? These are examples of your inner hearing. Imagined music can evoke the same emotional response as listening through speakers.
If this is your first time playing by ear, choose a simple melody you know well, like “Yankee Doodle,” “Happy Birthday,” or “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” Choose a song you can vividly hear in your imagination.
Repeat this process with dozens of songs. You will build a foundation to transcribe music from recordings and capture original melodies that pass through your inner hearing.
I invite you to join the conversation in the comments.
How do you incorporate ear-training into your practice?
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