Today we’ve got a slightly different viewpoint on playing by ear to share with you, from Eugene Cantera of the excellent Discover, Learn, Play website.

Eugene’s joined us here before, writing about ear training technology and we’ve covered the DLP programme; but today our focus is learning to play by ear.

Eugene CanteraI think the phrase “learning to play by ear” is a bit of a misnomer….


Hear me out… lol!

Stevie Ray Vaughan: An Aural MasterThere are those examples in history of great musicians who practiced 10,000 hours in a shed somewhere and came out playing like monsters. And it’s always amusing when my students bring up those kinds of stories as if the fact that “Stevie Ray Vaughan failed music theory” matters one iota in their case! Believe me, musicians like Vaughan are blessed not only with the drive and desire to succeed, but the listening skills and facility that the rest of us mortals must work on diligently.

That being said, strengthening your listening skills is an important cog in the process wheel of becoming a better musician.

At DLP we include basic ear training examples in the Kore Course quizzes and listening examples on the Lesson pages of the Jazz Course.

And when more specific ear training work is desired, whether it be rhythm, interval, or chord recognition, we love sending folks to Easy Ear Training.

Ear training is like vegetables in your diet or stretching in your workout routine, a vitally important element of a well rounded program!

Are you eating your (musical) vegetables?

Are you eating your (musical) vegetables?

Eugene Cantera is part of the core team at the Discover, Learn, Play programme for learning music online. He teaches saxophone at the Dallas School of Music but has played and taught just about everything over the past 20 years… including mandolin!

His recent articles include “Manage Your Practice Time”, on how to approach regular instrumental practice, for Making Music Magazine.

What do you think? Is ear training as essential to your musical diet as vegetables are to your way of eating?

What’s the ear training equivalent of sprinkling veggies in olive oil and roasting them until they’re delicious? Leave a comment and let us know…

Thanks to AndyRobertsPhotos@Flickr for the veggies and mrbill@Flickr for the Stevie Ray Vaughan photo.