A Beginner's Quick Guide To Start Playing The Piano By Ear

Have you ever wished you had the ability to play a song on the piano by simply listening to it? If the answer is yes, then you are not alone – many people wish that they could easily play the piano without going through the rigours of learning how to read sheet music. And the good news is that this is not impossible at all. As a matter of fact, if you browse through the internet, you will find a number of self-taught pianists who only play the instrument by ear.

By having excellent listening skills and considerable talent, you can also train yourself to play the piano without sheet music. Playing the piano by ear is not something that you must be born with, as you can develop this ability through constant practice. Read on below as we share some useful pieces of advice that can help you acquire the skill of playing the piano by ear.

Listening is the key to playing the piano by ear

First and foremost, playing the piano by ear is an ability that you can acquire by sharpening your listening skills. After all, listening is the secret of playing by ear.

Begin by selecting a song that you want to play. It should be a song with a strong melody that is quite easy to identify. Then, listen to the song multiple times. You can sing along as well to better internalise the melody.

Now, try matching the melody’s notes with the keys on your piano. At the start, you are likely to commit a lot of mistakes, but you will surely get better over time. Once you have matched a couple of notes, repeat them several times to make sure that you will remember them. Then, gradually move on to the succeeding parts of the melody. Once you have finished the entire song, play along with it and make some final adjustments, if necessary.

Learn the four magic piano chords

As mentioned earlier, you do not need to have knowledge of music theory or any music reading skills to play the piano by ear. That said, learning a few of the basics does help. This is because a lot of pop songs make use of the same set of basic piano chords, which can be played in numerous different ways and in a variety of combinations. These combinations are referred to as ‘chord progressions’. It is these chord progressions that create a rich array of sounds. By knowing the most common piano chord progressions, you can work out the chords of a song much more quickly.

Regularly practise with a friend

Listening skills can always be developed and improved. While some people are born with a perfect pitch that makes them able to sing or name a particular musical note without a reference point, you can still become a very good pianist by training and sharpening your listening skills. By regularly practising songs on the piano, you can surely boost your listening skills, which are the key to playing by ear. To make your practice sessions more effective and fun, consider practising with a friend who has a piano.


Even as an adult, learning how to play the piano by ear is not easy but is certainly doable – one does not need to be an expert in music theory to be able to play the piano. By simply strengthening your listening skills, learning the basics of the piano, and practising on a regular basis, you can surely develop the ability to play any song you want on the piano, even without the aid of sheet music.

Apart from the essential pieces of advice shared in this article, having an excellent piano is also crucial to improving your playing skills. For the most high-quality piano that matches your skills and needs, Mun Kai Piano Company is the supplier you can count on! Mun Kai Piano Company is a reputable piano store in Singapore where you can purchase or rent a piano manufactured by world-renowned brands such as Yamaha, Kawai, Steinway & Sons, and more. Whether it’s renting or buying a used Yamaha piano, please do not hesitate to visit our showroom at Ang Mo Kio to learn more about the pianos we offer!