How to Choose? Play By Ear, Play By Chords or Learn How to Read Sheet Music
When choosing a piano lesson program, evaluate your goals as a pianist and choose a method that would meet those goals and fit your personality. There are many ways to learn how to play the piano.
There are many ways to learn how to play the piano. Once you understand the three most common approaches, you can choose the best fit for your goals and learning capability.
1. Playing by ear
2. Playing by chords
3. Reading sheet music
Playing by ear is the most popular choice for people who cannot or don't want to learn how to read sheet music. Usually you start with the melody, as you sit at the piano and try to pick out the individual notes of the song. Then, you might add in some simple chords. So playing by ear requires developing good memorizations skills and some basic knowledge of chord theory and chord voicings.
By using a wider variety of chords, chord patterns and chord voicings for more complex accompaniment styles, playing by chords expands on the approach of playing by ear. Create your own melodies by improvising. Branch out. Natural risk takers and those who are explorative will like the freedom to create music like this.
Reading sheet music is by far the most popular option and encompasses about 90% of the piano playing community. This is the most popular method of learning because you can play any song almost instantly even if you have never heard it. It's just like reading words. Once you know the alphabet, you can read anything.
There is something positive to be said about pianists who fall into each category. Each type of pianist has a specific goal and so the way they play piano matches their goal. Sometimes and in some ways that also matches their personality.
Playing by ear shows a pianist with more confidence who likes to have a list of songs memorized to play anytime a piano is available. Improvisation is favored by many of the impressive performers who play by chords.
People who read music tend to be organized, appreciate a challenge and like to follow directions and take precisely calculated risks. They may own a nice collection of a variety of music books in all styles including classical, jazz, hymns, pop, holiday music and children's songs.
People who read music may play for their own personal enrichment, but are also usually the ones who become church, school or community pianists, piano teachers or concert pianists.
So, before choosing a piano lesson program, evaluate your goals as a pianist and choose a method that would meet those goals and fit your personality. The best way to success is by choosing an approach that fits you.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lisa has been a piano teacher for over 25 years with special recognition from Disney in 2003. For more information about learning piano and applying piano skills to life skills, please visit the following link: Piano Lessons with Lisa