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Play Guitar By Ear - Developing Your
When learning to play guitar by ear the name of the game is to
make a conscious decision to pay attention to the sounds
How do people play by ear ... by making a mental note of audio
information with the intention of recalling this information at a
The key is to make a conscious effort to notice the sound you
want to remember.
Doesn't everyone do this? The answer is no.
Let's to a close look at this business of playing by ear.
Apart from a person who is deaf, everyone can hear. Hearing is
not the same as listening.
An example of hearing would be you 'hear' a motorbike drive past
you in the street.
An example of listening would be to be able to discern, (a) what
make of motorbike (b) what the pitch did the motorbike's engine
produce (c) whether the bike was being driven on a wet road
You see, when you as listening intently to a sound a lot of
extra information is available to you.
Of course, not many people would be standing on a street corner
listening to a Harley Davidson's engine range between the pitch
of 'G' and 'Gb'. Which is exactly my point!
We hear sounds all the time and we don't pay too much attention
to them. To learn to play by ear we simply need to make some
slight changes in how we listen to musical sounds.
It's like the old saying "fish discover water last", that's
because they are in the middle of it, they are surrounded by it,
... it's the same with music, we hear music all the time from a
wide variety of media.
The important distinction is we 'hear' music all the time but we
are not making a conscious effort to 'listen' to that music for
the purpose of recalling this information at a later time.
Let's say two group's of student's were watching the same movie.
Group 'A' simply watched the movie and then went on about their
Group 'B' however, were given a notepad and pencil, they were
told that they would be asked questions about the movie later and
that their answers would count as part of their end of term exam.
Which group would retain the most information about that movie?
Group 'B' of course, why ... because their nervous system
would be more alert, they know they have to retain this
information for instant recall at a later date.
The way this information would be stored and filed in their
brain's would be different than the group that just casually
glanced at the movie.
By the way, talking about movies, have you ever tried to recall
the titles of movies you have watched recently?
If we can't recall the titles, how much of the other details
would be able to recall? The information is stored in our
brain somewhere, it's just difficult to retrieve this information
because we did not make a conscious effort to file it away for
future reference, an so the information is lost in the mist of
the information overload fog.
I give this example to show how we must make a slight change in
our listening habits, start by paying attention to the sound we
are producing in our practice sessions ... they are all
Listen closely to the two chord progressions, and feel the eight
bar phrases and try to think of melodies that would fit over
these progressions, that's how you play guitar by ear.
How to Play Guitar
Rave Reviews for Express Guitar:
a student of Mike Hayes since 1999, I have found his teaching methods
and products to be first class. Whatever style or area of music I have
been interested in, he has provided me with useful information, advice
and study materials. His style of teaching and teaching products
enabled me to progress through his guitar course far quicker than I
ever imagined. He also helps in teaching yourself to find and develop
your own style of music. Mike’s teaching gives his
student’s the ability to become useful musicians, not just
Stephen J Reid
Guitarist & Musician
course teaches us how to learn, how to retain, and how to recall
information quickly. This entire program is built around "connected
learning" with key phrases, picture words ( yes there is such a thing )
and the most dynamic personal motivator I have ever had the pleasure of
Ken C Simpson
Business Owner & Guitarist
course is varied, in-depth and well-structured, making learning and
comprehension fast, thorough and enjoyable. It’s a great way of
learning, as you can pace yourself and move onto the next stage when
you feel competent. I find this course both innovative and
inspirational. I find myself leaving Mike’s lessons with the
determination to reach my new goals.
Karl J Ricker
Sunshine Coast, Australia