Learning to play piano by ear may not be for everyone. For those of us who may not fully understand music theory, playing piano by ear provides an awakening of the soul...an unlocking of gifts and abilities that lay within, waiting to be discovered! Not everyone learns by rigidity, rules and detailed structure.
I tried traditional piano lessons as a child but never understood music theory. Although my piano teachers were very kind, they did not know how to teach a child who did not understand musical theory and notation. Regardless of the patience afforded me, it never made sense to me and was a constant source of personal frustration. It was as if there was a permanent disconnect in my brain that disabled me from comprehending theory.
One day as a child, I had an extremely difficult piano lesson...more difficult than usual. I was not able to sight read despite hours of reherasing. Every piano lesson was painful for me. Practicing at home with my music books was agonizing.
During this particularly uncomfortable piano lesson, my piano instructor told me to ride my bike home (just a couple streets away), get a tape recorder and a blank tape, then return back to my lesson.
When I had returned with the tape recorder and blank tape, my instructor placed the blank tape into the recorder and pressed the record botton. Then, she began to play the song as it was written, thus recording it on the device. I went home with that tape and listened to the song over and over again without looking at the sheet music again. When I attended my next piano lesson, I had learned the song flawlessly just by listening to the recording and even added my own personal twist. That piano lesson was my last lesson with a conventional piano teacher. I had reached a musical impass at about eight years of age.
How can you teach music to "ears that cannot see and eyes that cannot hear?
Colorado wedding pianist