What Is Learning Music by Ear Called

What Is Learning Music by Ear Called?

Learning music by ear is a method of acquiring musical skills without relying on written notation or sheet music. Instead, individuals who learn music by ear use their ability to listen to and reproduce melodies, chords, or entire songs solely by hearing them. This approach is commonly referred to as “playing by ear” or “aural training.”

Learning music by ear is a valuable skill for musicians of all levels and genres. It allows musicians to develop a deep understanding of music theory, improve their improvisation skills, and enhance their overall musicality. By relying on their ears, musicians can develop a strong sense of pitch, rhythm, and phrasing, allowing them to play with greater expression and creativity.


1. Can anyone learn music by ear?
Yes, anyone can learn music by ear. However, some individuals may have a natural inclination or ear for music, making it easier for them to pick up melodies and chords. Nevertheless, with practice and dedication, anyone can develop their ability to learn music by ear.

2. What are the benefits of learning music by ear?
Learning music by ear offers several benefits. It helps improve your listening skills, enhances your ability to recognize different musical elements, and strengthens your memory. It also allows you to play music in real-time without relying on sheet music, which can be especially useful in jam sessions or performances.

3. How can I start learning music by ear?
To start learning music by ear, begin by selecting simple songs or melodies that you enjoy. Listen to them attentively, trying to identify the different notes and chords used. Sing or hum along with the music to internalize the melody and rhythm. Gradually, try to play the melodies or chords on your instrument of choice. Patience and persistence are key as this skill takes time to develop.

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4. Can learning music by ear replace reading sheet music?
Learning music by ear should be seen as a complementary skill to reading sheet music rather than a replacement. Being able to read sheet music provides a solid foundation in music theory and allows for precise interpretation of complex compositions. However, learning music by ear expands your musical repertoire, improvisation skills, and understanding of music beyond what is written on paper.

5. Are there any resources available to help me learn music by ear?
Yes, there are various resources available to assist you in learning music by ear. Online platforms, such as YouTube, offer tutorials and videos that break down songs by ear. Additionally, there are ear training apps and software that provide exercises to develop your listening skills. Seeking guidance from a music teacher or joining a music community can also be beneficial in honing your ability to learn music by ear.

Learning music by ear is a rewarding journey that allows musicians to tap into their creativity and musical intuition. It is a skill that can be developed over time, opening up new possibilities for musical expression and understanding.