How to learn music by-ear

Learning intuitively, by-ear, is the easiest and most rewarding way to learn music.

How it works

The teacher takes the music that is to be learned by the student,
and breaks it down into small bite-sized bits, phrase-by-phrase

The teacher demonstrates how to play each small phrase/passage/bit
and the student emulates what s/he hears and sees.

Repetition is key. At first, the musical notes are played at a slow tempo. Gradually, the tempo increases, as the student's grasp improves.

By this method, the student can both see and hear what the teacher plays, and the manner in which the music is played -- and emulate.

This is the most natural and intuitive way of picking up music, or language.

First , the phrases are played at a slow tempo.
   with repetition -- as the student gains confience and fluency -- the tempo increases.

Once the student gains a good grasp of (and confidence with) what has been demonstrated, emulated, and practiced repeatedly,
those small component ideas/pieces/bits/phrases are then chained/combined together into larger, longer passages.

The student can learn musical passages / components one hand at a time

-- first, right hand,
then left hand
-- seperately.
  At some point, once the student can play the individual hand parts with fluency,
the right and left hands can be combined.
In other words, the student can start playing the music with both hands together, simultaneously).

To recap, in a nut-shell:
  • small bits/phrases , working progressively into longer passages (sections).
  • slower tempo progresses to faster tempo
  • individual hands (seperately) progresses to hands together, simultaneously.
  • If the student understands (at least basic) chord vocabulary, 
    the teacher can simply say something like:
    a minor to  F Major,
    a min. 7  to f# min. 7  , or something like that.
    In other words, the instructor can describe what music the student should play, in terms of chord names.
    Or, if the student understands some basic music theory, 
    some musical passages can be described by the teacher in terms of
    scale or modes, or even degrees of a given harmonic context (mode/scale).  
    For example, scale degree "1" is the root note (pitch). 
      See modal "Hanon" exercises, like:
        D, E, G,  E, F,  A   : ||
    That pattern/phrase can be described in terms of scale degrees
     ( based upon 'D' minor/dorian )
        1, 2, 4,  2, 3,  5   : ||
    File under: Pedagogy

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