PLAY BY EAR MUSIC STUDIOS (CANADA) - POP PIANO, JAZZ PIANO, GUITAR AND ACCORDION IMPROVISATION MUSIC LESSONS | ADDRESS: 144 WESCAR LANE OTTAWA, ON K0A 1L0, CANADA | TEL NO.: (613) 447 - 3870 | EMAIL: INFO@PBECANADA.NET | OPENING HOURS: MONDAY - SATURDAY, SUNDAY CLOSED
Does it take a miracle for a person to play by ear? No, just like most other skills, the learning process is similar to language. We improvise with our words, we interpret complex sentences and rephrase them with our own vocabulary. We actually do this by first simplifying the sentence to get the gist of it, before rephrasing it. These all happen subconsciously. Rephrasing is like improvising. To learn to improvise music, you first learn using the simplest form of songs: fake sheets.
A fake sheet (lead sheets) allows a musician to learn a song easily and quickly because it only contains the melody line and the chords structure. Sometimes, lyrics are also included. A fake sheet can be considered the skeleton of a song; using only the minimum information needed to improvise, or to "fake it.". So improvisation and playing by ear becomes a smooth process.
When you speak a language, you have to listen to what you are saying. By listening, you will have a better grasp of the language. So the better you become at improvising, the better your listening abilities will be, which will create a new dimension in your musicianship skill. During your learning process, fake sheets will still be needed. Even if you know the tune and can play it by ear, it is impossible to remember the differences of every single song. We play by ear, not by memory. Fake sheets are good for educational purposes, and serve as an important reference, even for the professional musician.
Sight reading traditional piano scores can be daunting, especially for the beginner. These scores are all pre-arranged, leaving very little room for improvisation. Instead, we use fake sheets. Fake sheets are the skeletons of songs. You will see a melody for the right hand, and chords for the left. It is comparatively much easier to read, and by understanding the flow of the chords, your interpretation becomes much stronger. At PBE, we do not emphasise the skill of proficient sight reading, but we encourage and train our students to be able to read basic proper music notation.