PianoMagic Members - From L2R: popeye, ramjam, Seaside_Lee, Anna Cooper, SkaDog, Mike726, Honeycomb...and Abercrombie the chicken

Piano Magic: The 'Secrets' of Playing Piano By Ear

Welcoming Piano Magic members from 120 Countries, and all 50 US States:

What does it mean to 'play by ear'?
It means that if you're doing it right, you're having a heck-of-a-lot of FUN! :-)

In 2016, I'll be entering my 50th year of performing and teaching these techniques to students around the globe, and I'll continue doing it for as long as I'm able, because it's easy, FUN, and just too important for you to miss...so don't!

In Piano Magic, I focus exclusively on teaching my students how to play by ear - without reading music - by predicting upcoming chords likely to occur over the next several seconds. This is THE skill that will get you playing quickly, will provide you with hours of daily playing enjoyment, and will give you a lifetime of musical FUN!

(CLICK HERE for: What makes PianoMagic unique from other online piano courses?)

Just so you know, reading music and playing by ear are both wonderful skills (I do both) and neither is in competition with the other. Instead, they are two distinctly different skills that enable one to play the piano, but each different skill is best learned one-at-a-time.

One of those basic skills for playing piano by ear, is to understand the expected and predictable movement of how one chord moves to the next. (Sometimes the 'clue' comes from the active chord being played, and sometimes it comes from the melody.) It's a hoot to do, sounds great and will provide you with a lifetime of playing enjoyment, once you know how to think like the music you want to play.

Before we begin, please watch the video below for a demonstration of the type of sounds YOU might play or compose, using the information and techniques taught within these pages. (You can enlarge the video to full screen.)

VIDEO: "How To Play Piano By Ear"
(Plus a PMMO Member Composition)

How To Play Piano By Ear (DEMO of what you will learn)
(Click the Pic)


Why should YOU learn to play piano by ear?
Answer: Because playing by ear is the most natural way to express yourself through music!

Learning to play before you read is the most logical first step, yet is completely overlooked in 'traditional' lessons. Learning to speak before you read, is the very foundation for understanding any language.

Think about this for a moment: If children were required to read English before speaking it, they probably would not speak intelligibly for many years; if ever! Yet, the majority of music students are taught that very method; read...then speak.

  • That's NOT how I learned to speak: That's NOT how I learned to play: That's NOT how I teach...because it's grossly illogical!


Now, think about this: It often takes years of lessons before a dedicated student can easily read and play a piece of written music in its entirety...but the person who created that same music (for music readers to 'read') first played it by ear! Weird, huh? There's more...

Most traditional instructors encourage their students to memorize their music, in order to perform without reading music. Unfortunately, because they are memorizing, instead of comprehending the structure of music that repeats through ALL tunes, they will soon forget...and THAT is a SHAME! All that work, and then it simply evaporates.

In my (almost) 50 years as a professional pianist, I have forgotten every piece of music I memorized.
By contrast, I have retained the ability to play every piece of music I understood and could comprehend, and my repertoire includes hundreds (if not thousands) of tunes at any moment in time.


For self played music to be enjoyable for a lifetime, it has to be FUN!
According to a survey by the National Piano Institute, about 90% of 'traditional' piano students drop out of lessons before the end of the first year. PianoMagic students often comment that 'traditional' lessons were too hard, didn't show how to play the music they wanted to play and were NO FUN! It doesn't have to be THAT way!


"I am delighted finding I can't wait to get home to my keyboard!"
- Barbara Albrecht -

"Your personality and enthusiasm come right out of your materials. Extremely beneficial and fabulously interesting!"
- Sharon R. Franchini -

"Excellent, Exciting, Useful."
- Buzz Sommers -

"I love it! Your instructions are clear and it all makes sense!
It is FUN!"
- Susan Johnston -

"Just right to spark my interest and desire to PLAY!
This should be a TV course"
- Lee Holcomb Jr. -

"This will cause me to neglect husband, house, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, Tigger the cat and Queenie the dog. Thanks!"
- Trudy Trawick -

I learned more toward understanding the keyboard in one night, than in 8 years of music lessons. This is really great. You make it fun, entertaining and very worthwhile. Good Teacher!"
- Judy Turnell -


Playing music by ear for personal enjoyment can be one of the easiest and most fulfilling activities you'll ever experience. It can be learned in a few hours, and practiced for a lifetime! IT'S CALLED PLAYING FOR A REASON...IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE FUN!!!

PianoMagic students learning to play by ear in my live piano workshop.


If your hobby is taking lessons, I can't help you. But if you want to learn how to play SOLO piano creatively and artistically, playing music for personal enjoyment AND the entertainment of your audiences, come on in! PIANO MAGIC is here, and it was created specifically for YOU to learn how to play the tunes you already know; the tunes you already can hum, whistle or sing, played on the piano by ear!



In general, Free Piano Lessons are like Free Cheese in a mousetrap! The idea sounds good, but usually comes with a surprise ending! Still, the Free Sample Lessons provided in the following pages are excellent for beginners (catch the Tour Bus below) ...and are required for ALL STUDENTS, with or without previous playing experience.

You may have seen this info before, but if you really learned it, you would already be able to Play By Ear and would NOT be seeking such instruction! Regardless of your previous experience, if you don't play by ear, you are a beginner (at 'playing by ear')!

Don't skip or skim these lessons...your future performing success depends on YOU knowing this BASIC info forwards, backwards and inside out!

The info will seem extremely simple...and that's just exactly how we want it to seem! If it's simple, YOU can THINK IT and DO IT well enough to ENJOY IT!

Once you understand the Basics of Piano Magic, you'll be able to take your new found playing ability and musical freedom as far as your FUN can take you!

Keep your thinking SIMPLE and you'll go farther than you ever dreamed possible, but complicate it and progress will be slow. Simplify...always Simplify.

The tour bus below will take you to the Free Sample Lessons mentioned above. To view video and hear audio instructions, you'll need Windows Media Player 6.0 (or higher). If you don't have WMP 6.0 (or higher), click here to get the latest version direct from the Microsoft web site... for FREE!


Catch the SCHOOL BUS for

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