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5 thoughts on “Learn to Play by Ear 1”

  1. Lloyd Fajardo

    Hi Nina,

    Great lesson.

    It’s been 10 months playing the keyboards at church and I applied all the techniques and lessons I’ve learned. It was amazing to see where I progressed where I first started.

    Today I was really frustrated. We practice a song and it was on the Key of G#. When we played live, all of the sudden our lead singer voiced changed and it didn’t matched what we practiced. I was so embarrassed.

    Is there a best way how to know on the spot what key/chords the singer is singing?



    1. Hi Lloyd, it’s possible – but it would require some practice on your end. Before I tell you what practices to work on – I first want to say that lead singers can often confuse song keys, and it is on them, not your fault at all. It actually happened to me a couple of times as well, and as I kept playing, the singer eventually figured out the correct key and was able to sing as we practiced.

      In fact, changing the song key might make things worse because it might be wayyy to high or too low in the chorus and might make things even harder on the singer! The best thing to do is to remain on the key that you practiced in, and allow the singer to figure out the correct key. (This is why I had all my singers FIRST sing the correct note in their head, or without the mic, and only then step into the song – even if it takes a minute!)

      As far as figuring out a song by ear on the spot – you can try and practice this by turning on random worship songs and figuring them out at the piano. Do this with many songs. Eventually, your mind will start picking up songs faster and faster. The speed of figuring out a key comes with practice.

      Hope that helps!

  2. Thank you Nina for your feedback! Your lessons help me a lot. I’m on my first year with the band and I can say it’s truly an incredible experience to play for the Lord.

    God bless!

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