How to Learn Music by Ear

The biggest debate among music enthusiasts usually doesn’t rage over what genre or artist is the best, but rather whether it is better to learn music by ear or by learning music theory.  Of course, many of the best musicians will be skilled to the point that they are fully competent when it comes to music theory, but are also equally capable of listening to something and replicating it immediately.


Who Learns by Ear?

Learning by ear tends to be associated with more simple types of music. Although many people might learn guitar or other instruments by ear, doing so will often be accompanied by reading tablature, or some other literature that directs them along the way.

Knowing Your Instrument

If you’re planning to learn music by ear, then it is worthwhile getting to know your instrument or the style prior to doing so. Even if you have a loose idea of notes, tone, and chords, it will help you to pick up what other people are doing quickly and easily.

From here, all you are left to do is to begin listening to the music you want to learn and replicate, before trying to put it together yourself. However, it isn’t as simple as just putting in your earphones and getting on with it. That covers the basics of what you need to do, but, as with learning music theory, breaking down music and training your ear will make things much easier.

Training Your Ear

You might have heard someone be described as being ‘tone deaf’. You might have even been called this yourself! However, musical ability isn’t something you’re born with and either have it or not; you can train yourself to de-construct music and identify notes and sounds, all of which will help you when it comes to learning by ear.

Chords and rhythm will be the big things you need to be able to pick up, which in turn will help you to train your tonal memory and become competent at learning music by ear.

Getting Help

While most people want to clearly define the differences between music theory and learning by ear, there are a number of music software platforms designed for theorists that are also excellent for learning by ear. EarMaster is a good example of such a service, although others are available.

Music by Ear

Learning music by ear can be challenging, but it is possible, even if you have in the past found yourself a little ‘tone deaf.’ Start by knowing the basics of your instrument, and how music is constructed, and you’ll find you quickly start to pick it up a lot easier. Most people who want to learn by ear would prefer to leave music theory alone, but it can actually be a great help in getting you started.

Image Source: eekoliteW

Leave a Reply

Related Posts

  • How to Get Good at Sax Quicker Than Your Friends Learning to play an instrument can be much more fun if you are doing it with a friend. But while it’s great to spend time jamming together with your mates, it’s also fun to beat them in their own game. If you want to impress your sax-playing friends with new skills, here are some great […]
    View All >>
  • How to Improve the Tone of Your Sax One of the most common struggles new saxophone players must overcome is the quality of the tone. The saxophone isn’t the easiest instrument to play, as you need to learn to manipulate the airflow in order to create the unique and pure tone. If you are struggling with a rough tone, sudden squeaks or bad […]
    View All >>

Latest Blog Entries

  • Is it Worth Being a Songwriter in the Digital Age? Being able to write songs is an exceptional skill to have. While many of the most famous musicians of all time also wrote the lyrics to their own songs a lot of the time, there have also been some brilliant lyricists who weren’t notable musicians in their own right. Bernie Taupin would be one such […]
    View All >>
  • How Can Your Gear Make a Difference to Your Sound? Here at Pro Music Tutor, in all of our guitar lessons series and saxophone lessons series, we have a short video included in each of them called “Tone and Gear.” The purpose of these videos is for the artists who tutor the series to discuss the equipment – their gear – they have used when […]
    View All >>

Blog Categories