Piano, Organ, and Keyboard/piano


I am listening to what I would call kind of simple songs. When doing this I am trying figure out the piano part in those songs. They sound easy to play but I jsutcan't figure out the exact rhythm and the exact notes being played. If people tell me exactly what to do I may learn the song after some practice time but with certain songs you will never get that kind of help. Do you have any tips on how to figure out the piano parts in simple songs? Since I can't her the exact rhythm and notes being played I don't think think any audience will. Is this a good reason why I shouldn't try to be so exact and just do my thing on the piano?

I think what you're talking about is called "ear training," or listening to a melody and being able to take it down as "dictation."  This is part of formal music training, usually in Music Theory.  There are likely materials to do that on CD/DVD, but, personally, I have never done it.  A lot of people play by ear and can replicate songs on the piano just by hearing them.  Doing this is probably a combination of inborn ability and practice.  I can pick out a simple melody on the piano.  Doing this may take practice, but it can be done.  It is very helpful to use lead sheets, which is the melody with chord symbols.  Chords are not something you may learn in piano lessons. I didn't. I learned them in college.  If you have a melody and know the chords, you can "do your own thing", musically.  Scott Houston, who has a TV program (and website) called "The Piano Guy" teaches how to use lead sheets.  You can even make your own lead sheets. Work out the melody and add chords.  When I took lessons, I learned to read music.  I have lots of books of arrangements, but it is neat to make your own.  It allows you to truly "make music" with the music. You don't need to do "exact" rhythms, you can make your own. Joel

Piano, Organ, and Keyboard

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Joel Bjorling


I can answer general questions about playing the piano, playing technique, and piano literature.


I have played piano for over forty years. I have taught private piano. I have also played in church. I am especially interested in the piano as a music ministry. I have also written several compositions for piano.

I'm a past member of the National Guild of Piano Teachers.

Making Music Magazine Newsletter of the Illinois Country Music Association

BA, Behavioral Science, Oral Roberts University (1975) MA, McCormick Theological Seminary (1980) I have had courses in Music Appreciation, Music Theory, and in Hymnology

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