If you are new to reading music and want to learn how to play any Gospel piano
songs by ear, there are a few good places to begin. Learning to read music can be similar to learning to read
a new language.
There are new terms to learn, locations of notes to remember, clefs and sharps and naturals to recognize. It can
feel somewhat overwhelming. There is another way to learn to play music and that would be by learning to play music
by ear. Learning to play music by ear may sound more difficult than it actually is.
However, if you already have some basic knowledge of how to play music, you will be able to learn to play by
sound rather than sight.
The first thing to learn when learning to
play piano songs by ear is to recognize the notes of the song. If you are still new at recognizing musical
notes by sound, you may want to consider simply sitting in front of the keyboard and practicing. Memorize the sound
of each note. Go through the scales and listen to the subtle differences between keys.
Once you think you can determine an E from a G and other notes, try doing it with your eyes closed. That’s
right, close your eyes and play a random key on the piano. Think about it for a moment and see if you can recognize
Open your eyes and see if you were right. This method takes time and
practice, so do not get discourages if that F sounded a lot like a G to you. It will take time.
Once you feel you can recognize notes, learn the different chords associated with Gospel music. Gospel music has
a distance set of chords it uses, as the music is particular to worship and prayer. Once you learn the chords most
often used in Gospel music and you can distinguish those chords by sound using the closed eyes method above, you
are well on your way to learning to play by ear.
Now, listen to your favorite Gospel song. Often. Memorize this song and its sounds. Learn to recognize this song
by just hearing one or two keys or chords played. Once you feel you know this song by heart, see if you can mimic
The easiest way to do this, particularly of it is a complicated chordal song, is to get the right overall tune
for the song in your mind. For instance, if you hear a chordal version of “Amazing Graze” you can determine upon
sound that the melody of the first five beats of this song is basically C-F-A-F-A. That’s a great start. Now, try
to follow the entire song by its sounds.
Once you feel that you have the complete basic melody of your favorite Gospel song, use your knowledge of chords
to play your song by chordal method. Chordal methods
can vary in gospel music, however, remember that the chords will be the same throughout and once you are able to
distinguish what thirteenth is playing, you can incorporate that chord into your basic melody.
Now that you can play the chords and the melody by ear, tie them together and you have learned to play your
song. Using this easy method you can learn how to play piano
songs by ear.
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