Composition, Ear Training, improving as a teacher, Resources, Teaching Piano

Value of Teaching to Play By Ear

A couple weeks ago, I posted a list of melodies that work well assign piano students to take home and learn to play by ear.  Over at, Wendy Stevens talks about the value of teaching students to play by ear during a lecture she gave, Composition for Kids: Time-Saving Ways to Teach Composition in your Studio. (If you haven’t already, you really should check out the entire series of videos she has posted — they contain some very practical ways to encourage and teach composition in the piano lesson.)

Wendy also created a great handout that you can give to your students, to assign them tunes to play by ear, harmonize it, transpose it, and do something creative with it.  This handout is available on this post (the link to the actual handout is located just underneath the video).  Be sure to check it out!

Ear Training, improving as a teacher, Resources

Playing-By-Ear Activities

Learning to play by ear is one of the most natural ways to develop the ear – and one of the most fun!  Below are some lists of familiar tunes you can assign at the lesson for the student to learn to play by ear.  I found this valuable information about playing-by-ear activities to assign students in the book, Professional Piano Teaching, by Jeanne Jacobson.   I hope you find this information as useful as I did.

What to tell the student:

  1. Where to begin.  Example: “Start with finger 3 on Middle C.”
  2. The first interval.  Example: “The first interval is a fourth.”
  3. Which keys they will use to play the song.  Example: “You will be using the notes A, B, and C.” Continue reading “Playing-By-Ear Activities”