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Play by Ear

Where do I listen to a tune?

Listen to the piece afrom Musescore.com using the links below. You can either listen to it using a web browser or through the Musescore App. You do NOT have to pay for subscription. Recommendations: Set the playback speed to 50% at first and gradually increase it if it suits you.

Where do I print the song sheet for a tune?

They can be found here.

What do I need to do for each piece?

  1. Figure out the melody note by note. Press pause on Musescore.com or on the Musescore app (subscription is NOT required) when you have heard what you needed to. You might have to keep replaying the melody 1000 times to get it. It’s okay. Be patient. It will come to you eventually. Fill in the letter names and/or notes of the melody.
  2. Figure out the rhythm of the melody. Count the melody using takadimi / metric along with the metronome
  3. [not required for pre-grade] Figure out the chords to the song
  4. Play the tune on the piano/keyboard. Think of how you would like to arrange the tune for the piano. 
  5. [not required for pre-grade] Transpose the tune to one of the keys for the grade.
  6. [not required for pre-grade] Vamp and sing the tune and/or have another person(s) sing the tune as you vamp 
  7. [not required for pre-grade] Transpose the vamp and sing to any other key for the grade which was not chosen in task 4

Song listing

Pre-grade

  • Hot cross buns (3 notes)
  • Mary had a little lamb (5 notes)
  • Lightly row (5 notes)
  • One man went to mow OR London Bridge (6 notes)
  • Skip to my Lou or Lavender’s Blue (6 notes)
  • Polly wolly doodle (5 notes, 2 chords) OR Jingle Bells (5 notes, 3 chords)
  • When the Saints go marching in (5 notes, 3 chords) OR Twinkle Star (6 notes, 3 chords)

Grade 1

5 notes

  • Do wah diddy diddy
  • My old man’s a dustman

6 notes

  • For he’s a jolly good fellow (required)
  • Pop goes the weasel
  • This old man
  • Old Macdonald
  • Go tell Aunt Rhody
  • Pease pudding hot
  • You are my sunshine
  • Kum ba yah
  • Michael, row the boat ashore
  • Mary Ann by Seamus Moore

Grade 2

7 notes

  • Blowing in the wind by Bob Dylan
  • If you are happy and you know it

8 notes

  • Happy Birthday (required)
  • The first Noel, Joy to the world or Good king Wenceslas (required)
  • My bonnie lies over the ocean
  • Row row your boat
  • Baa baa black sheep
  • Three blind mice
  • Hickory dickory doc
  • Camptown Races
  • On top of old smokey
  • Mr. Tambourine Man – Bob Dylan
  • Lily the Pink

Grade 3 (> 8 notes in melody)

  • Auld lang syne (required)
  • Silent Night
  • Long, Long Ago
  • Where have all the flowers gone – Pete Seeger
  • Imagine by John Lennon

1 thought on “Play by Ear”

  1. Pingback: Lesson Material – Celbridge Piano

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