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Apr 7, 2020 - 5:51:34 PM
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263 posts since 4/13/2006

A lot of my students have started learning with tab, or note for note with a teacher, but have skipped the part where they learn by ear and figure out how to figure out a tune on their own. I think all methods are great and I just put together a brand new 20 minute lesson on learning a tune from scratch by actually doing it myself! I used Chirps Smith's great tune, "Mississippi Palisades" from youtube, a GREAT tune in G:

One of the tips on this is listening to the tune SO many times you can sing it yourself. I just play it over and over and over.....
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Apr 7, 2020 - 9:37:49 PM
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104 posts since 9/3/2018

I can see (hear) how that one would be a good one to try to learn by ear! For me the tricky thing often, is finding spare, preferably single instrument renderings like this one to use to learn by ear. As a beginner it’s easy to get lost in the melody/supporting/variations.

Apr 8, 2020 - 6:59:52 PM
Players Union Member

Lew H


2493 posts since 3/10/2008

When I want to learn a complicated tune, I make a CD of that song only and let it play in my car over and over. That gets the tune into my brain.

Apr 9, 2020 - 1:10:20 PM
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71 posts since 10/26/2018

Nice video, Cathy. I did a similar "live learning demo" for a ukulele class I teach. Showed the class how to hear chord changes and worked out three songs in short order. The takeaway was about half of them thought they could probably do it, and the other half thought it sorcery. laugh

I like to listen to a tune through headphones as I fall asleep, putting it on single song repeat (something you can probably do in your car CD player, Lew, rather than a while CD, but I used to do that with cassettes). I drift off, wake up later and turn it off, or do that sooner if my brain gets too engaged to sleep. Then I wake up and that tune is already rolling around in my head. Another thing I do once I've started playing at it is to play it in the evening near bedtime. Then my brain does a bunch of the work while I sleep. The next morning, a part that eluded me the night before will often fall into place.

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