to play by ear

Idiom Definition

"to play by ear"

to learn a piece of music simply by listening to it

Idiom Definition - to play by ear


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - to play by ear

Two friends are talking about a third friend ...

Friend 1: It's amazing!  He just listens to a new piece of music a couple of times and then he plays it.

Friend 2:  Yes, it's quite a skill to be able to play by ear.

Friend 1:  He must have perfect pitch.  Sure wish I could do that.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - to play by ear

Two parents are talking about their child ...

Mom:  I was listening to some Mozart today.

Dad:  OK and ...?

Mom:  You're not going to believe this.  Little Sarah was listening too, and then she played the same music on the piano.

Dad:  That's amazing.  Did you know she could play by ear?

Mom:  I didn't know she could play at all.

to play by ear - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   258   click for frequency by country

to play by ear - Gerund Form:

Playing by ear is an impressive skill.

to play by ear - Examples:

1)  I play by ear and have learned some songs on my keyboard.

2) Although I understand chord charts, I am really a play by ear player. 

3) Before I knew it, Frank was off and away trying to play by ear, a song we were going to learn, Do, Re, Mi. 

4)  It was left with the residents for anyone interested in learning to play by ear or just practice glissandos and enjoy creating their very own harp music.

5)  I learned to play by ear and read music all in one go. It never seemed difficult.

6)  You should have experience of gigging, be able to play by ear and be available for practices and gigs at least twice a week.

7) They just play by ear and their licks are from memory. 

8)  Do you play by ear?

9)  I would not recommend using paper while you are learning to play. Play by ear.

10)  And certainly you are no musician if you can't play by ear.

11)  The best way around this is to learn to play by ear and leave the music behind.

12)  How Did You Learn To Play By Ear?

13)  I learnt to play by ear out of necessity. In the good old days there was no Internet.

14) My ability to play by ear has improved tremendously over the years 

15)  When I was in college, I couldn't play by ear at all, so I had to learn every melody note by rote memorization.

16)  It's time to get serious about learning to play by ear, and I've decided to drag my students along for the ride!

17)  I don't read music -- I play by ear.

18)  Today's generation wants to play by ear which is also good but can not replace the old way of learning.

19)  I myself did not learn to play by ear but learnt to read the music.

20)  I want them to be able to both read scores and play by ear.