Look, I’m not gonna beat around the bush, OK?

I need your help.


First of all, lots of people have been requesting some sort of play piano by ear course, and I just haven’t had/made the time to put one together in the last year or so.

Second, I’d like to take my family on vacation in about a week.

And just what do these two things have to do with you?

Well, the collision of these two events/needs in my brain made me decide to FINALLY put together a full course teaching people how to play the piano by ear.

Although I DO have time to put together the content (well, maybe with a couple of all-nighters), and I’m confident it will be VERY helpful, I DO NOT have the time to put together a bunch of fancy graphics and packaging, etc., etc.


I would also like to get your:

  1. Input before I put the first version together and
  2. Feedback after you’ve had a look at it


I’m giving myself a very SHORT deadline to get this done and out to you at a VERY special price in the next couple of days, but this will be a very limited offer, since I’m (hopefully) leaving on vacation next Friday.

My goal is to get this finished in the next couple of days and get it into your hands at an UNBELIEVABLE price, so I can:

  • Show you EXACTLY how to play piano by ear…
  • At a GREAT price that beats any piano lesson you could get anywhere else, and…
  • Fund my vacation! (Hey, just being honest) šŸ™‚

So how can you help?


In the comment section below, simply tell me what 2 or 3 things you would like to see in the ULTIMATE play piano by ear course.

That’s it.

I’ll be looking at these comments in the next 24-36 hours and incorporating whatever I can to make this one of the best instructional piano courses around.

Thanks in advance for your input.

Please leave your comments below – just 2 or 3 things that you would LOVE to see in a play piano by ear course.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress over the next few days.



My name is Bill Romer and I've been playing piano for as long as I can remember ā€“ probably since I was about 4 years old. My earliest memories at the piano are of my Mom teaching me how to read sheet music and sitting for hours playing through stacks of her old music. I took piano lessons briefly while I was in elementary school, but since I already knew how to play from sheet music, learning the basics was really boring, so I quit. Fifteen years later, after finishing school and starting life out on my own, I decided to study jazz piano, and it was the best decision I could have made. It helped me fill in a lot of theory I had never studied, and I could finally just sit down at the piano and play whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I learned all the chords and learned to improvise, too. It was great! These days, I play at dueling piano bars, weddings, funerals, church services, parties and other events and add new songs to my repertoire every day. I still LOVE to play.

    351 replies to "How To Play Piano By Ear… Fast!"

    • Kathleen

      1) How to choose great-sounding chords to go with the melody.
      2) How to play those chords in different ways to get different (& fuller) sounds.
      3) How to “fill in” so the piece so it sounds more sophisticated.
      4) Affordable.

    • Susan Gray

      I would like to know how to arrange a piece from intro to ending. Knowing some left hand “patterns” for various musical styles would be good. I would like to know how to determine what other notes to play in the right hand besides just the melody notes. I would really like to know some exercises to practice that would actually improve my playing.

    • Chief

      Show how to break a song down into parts, learn each part and combine all the parts back into the original song.
      How to choose which chords to play and how to change keys while playing.

    • Andre Woodson

      I love for you to continue to expain chord progressions and teach some key songs to play. Thank you for “Let It Be”. I would like some jazz standards too. Also, continue to share some music theory so I can continue to understand and learn new songs.I need more help on what to do with the melody to make it an interesting song.

      Please note my email has changed

    • Dave R.

      I find that learning different rhythmic styles to be one of the hardest things to do. Please cover this area of playing. Also, since playing in the 12 keys is like having to learn the map of that key, some tips on learning how to play in different keys, so we can transpose a song for different singers.

    • Bonita

      Would like to see fingering included (i.e., 9ths, 11ths, 13ths…LH=?? RH=??)

    • Mel Field

      I taught myself to play chords by counting the half steps between notes. I made a small chart showing the root and the number of half steps for any chord. I use this to play from lead sheets. I’m not sure what a valid question about playing by ear would be. I have been looking for someone who plays this way to talk to. I will probably buy your course. Hope it’s good!!!

    • Lois

      1) I’d like to see a simple illustrated chart showing hand positions that remain constant in various keys, major or minor triads, for instance. I’m sure there are many others – and do fingerings change in different keys? Is there a pattern and an easy way to remember it?

      2) An explanation and reference chart for which chords (and their inversions) are used with which key would be helpful. Some music shows only major or minor chord notations juxtaposed on the key you’re playing in – Am or Em against notes in the key of C, for instance. There must be an easy way to know which chord to use, and when.

      3) Guidelines for improvising melodies would also be helpful. …I’m “glued” to the melody and don’t know when to let go.

      4) Simple techniques for “hearing” and identifying intervals would be welcome too. Here’s one I’ve used by singing a major scale:
      1 2 – 1,
      1 2 3 2 1 – 3 1,
      1 2 3 4 3 2 1 – 4 1,
      1 2 3 4 5 4 3 2 1 – 5 1,
      1 2 3 4 5 6 5 4 3 2 1 – 6 1,
      1 2 3 4 5 6 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 – 7 1,
      1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 – 8 1,
      8 7 8,
      8 7 6 7 8 – 6 8,
      8 7 6 5 6 7 8 – 5 8,
      8 7 6 5 4 5 6 7 8 – 4 8,
      8 7 6 5 4 3 4 5 6 7 8 – 3 8,
      8 7 6 5 4 3 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 – 2 8,
      8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 – 1 8.
      Coming down the scale, at first I found it difficult to get the right pitch for intervals 3 8 and 2 8. I’m getting better, but I still have trouble identifying some intervals when I hear it only by itself.

      Good luck with our project. It sounds like fun.

    • Zelda

      Thanks for the opportunity to reply. Please write it very plain and simple so a dumb bunny like me can understand it. Add the knowledge( made easy) to change the keys. Also Tells when to change the cords, I have seen other play by ear and they just say change the cord, but when.

    • claudia humphrey

      You deserve credit for hard work.
      teaching is not easy nor is learning by ear.
      putting the two together into a class your instruction
      and the student who needs this is your specialty…
      why stand in the way of success!
      do it and God bless a good job well done!
      claudia humphery, missionary

    • Aman

      I would like some blues and jazz improvisation drills. Also could you add on some classical piano examples. Cheers!

    • Clifford Robertrs

      Can you make a pattern for right and left hand for “THe Twist” by Chubby Checkers?



    • Kevin

      1) I would like to see exercises for the different patterns (i.e. 1-5-4 Exerise, 2-5-1) and how to quickly determine them.
      2) How to determine what key a song is in by identifying the pattern the song is using.
      3) Music theory focusing on LH RH chord correlation.

    • Robert Briggs

      Show & Tell Me How to do everything below with the Music. Thanks R. B.

      Which 3 chords will harmonize most any simple melody…and why

      Show and tell how the shape of the melody often “gives away” what chord you should use to harmonize it..

      . Show and tell how the theme of a song reveals about 3/4 of the chords you can use to harmonize it.

      What question you can ask yourself that will open up a world of chord harmonizing…

      With songs like
      1. Last Date,

      2. Take These Chains from My Heart, by :Hank Williams,

      3. This Magic Moment, and

      4.They’ll Never Take Her Love from Me by :Hank Williams

    • kristian

      1) for teaching them by ear have them play the chords in a different way like a dminor is d,f,a have them play it as a,d,f sounds the same.
      2) have it more varied instead of focusing on happy birthday have them play a more difficult melody but have it easier to understand thats what i’m doing to help me get more excited about the music.
      3) let them improvise on the music and show them that learning this isn’t like a job its for fun thats how im doing it and i doing well playing for fun and at church. how i know ( im the lead instrument in my church band yes i said band.)

    • Denise

      Hi Bill – I am with Peggy. I would just love to be able to play like Floyd Kramer. I am able to hear a song and just sit down and play the right hand but then battle along putting it together with a nice left hand accompaniment

    • Normand lafaille

      Bill can you show me a method when I have a song in my head and when I play it on the piano ….hey this sound in my head is it a min chords or a major chord or even a dim chord or other chords and a way
      to find the chord i play by the sound of the note….well this sound very complex but I am just asking you thank

    • Brian M Breacher

      a. In the cd I recieved from you the sound is not quite synchronised with the action. This means that it is not always apparant which notes you are playing. I have to pause and double check every time, which slows down progress. To help:
      I would like to see the notes and the fingering written (shown) independently in a separate illustration, simultaneously whenever the piano/keyboard is being played.
      In any event I would probably need this information, so that I can also makes notes as I learn. Many thanks, hope you can manage this. Brian M Breacher 8.7.10.

    • Carol

      I’ve learned quite a lot with your first course I purchased on chord playing. Would be interested in this new course also. Would like to learn how to add more to the right hand melody notes to make the music sound fuller. Also, how to add some simple creative runs, etc. to make the music more interesting. I happen to be a “note reader” so would be very interested to learn about playing by ear.

    • gr

      what can you do for a one handed person? have use of three fingers on the left hand, full use of the right!!,plus being able to hear a chord and know what it is.

    • robert

      Thanks for giving me a chance to add my two cents.
      What 3 chords will harmonize most any simple melody…and why.

      How the shape of the melody gives away what chord that you should use to harmonize it.

      How the theme of a song reveals most of the chords you can use to harmonize it.

    • Terry Lloyd

      1) Counter harmony in the left hand to enhance the melody line.
      2) What notes to add in the melody line , following the left hand chord progressions.
      3) When and how to use rhythmic notes above and below the right hand Melody line.

    • Gerry

      Dear Bill
      My 1st musical instrument at around the age of 8 was a chromatic harmonica! As far as I know there is no other way of playing this instrument other than by ear. I started with very easy tunes containing easy words like ‘No place like home’. There are no short cuts you just have to repeat the tune over and over till you get it note perfect. If you keep at it over a period of time you will hopefully find (like I did) that you will start to be able to pick up new tunes instantly.
      When I took up playing the piano in the late 50s I found that I could pick out tunes on the piano instinctively, so much so, that I finished up playing playing piano in a 60s Merseyside pop group.
      At the young age of 68 (two years ago) I joined a Trad Jazz quartet. This requires not only the ability to play by ear but to improvise on melody and chord structures.
      What I have found most useful is your chord book. What I find useful when playing is the key signature ā€“ plus basic chord structures ā€“ set out in bars normally 4/4 time. Where appropriate I add the lyrics over the top of the chords. The chords are only used as a foundation for improvisation on which to weave the melody around. A jazz book using chordal structures combined with words would be a most useful tool to assist ear training. Using this technique we have grown a list of over a 100 jazz tunes in 2 years.
      Good luck with your piano ear training project.
      Gerry Watt
      “Wensum Jazzmongers” Norwich UK

    • Nina S

      I would love to be able to play and accompany someone when singing. Would love to know what chords to play next and what key someone is singing in.

      Love to know fill-ins to make my playing fuller.

    • alex

      When do you know what key you are playing in, is just based on
      the first note you play? That is what determins what key you are playing in. So if I start the melody, and the first key is C, does that mean I am playing in Key of C ??

      I can learn and play a song by ear with my right hand, but only with one finger, but I need to find a way to make it sound fuller. If I start on the first key of C, (for the melody) no matter which inversion of chord of C I make, all it does is change the pitch or sound I want for the melody of the song. Any suggestions

    • Harry Logan

      THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON in learning to play by ear is that one must
      thoroughly memorize and be able to sing, whistle or hum musically correct a
      given tune before attempting to play it on the piano.

    • Junius Fox

      Bill; In order to play by ear, the first essential is to know when a note is not the note that should be played, as well as to recognize when a sharp or flat is called for. I have been playing by ear for several years and just a few years ago learned to READ music.
      I would recommend an on-line interactive test to play successive notes as well as notes followed by sharp/flat notes to see if the individual can actually identify the difference.
      The teast should be related to physical finger spacing to follow the music sent on-line.
      I know this sounds complicated, but I can hear a musical piece, and will follow the piece by using my fingers mentally. This has paid off for me in tht I now assume I am blind (closed eyes) and find the chords for the base to agree with the melody.
      A good source for anhone who wants to play by ear is the use of the “Fake Books” showing the melody and the chord to play with it.


      Junius Fox – Houston, Tx.

    • Ray Malina

      Hi Bill
      I think a piece that is structurally well played
      will embrace many options to play by ear via
      improvising sound enhancements where
      appropriate and inclusive of measure balance
      and most of all contribute multiple positive
      patterns that will expand and flourish with
      abundant joy to the player and receipients.

    • Jim Payne

      I’m with Zelda to keep is simple and with Aman on Blues and Jazz improv and with Kevin on different patterns. I got here late, but concur with 99% of early respondents. You include the ideas you’ve had presented and you could do 2 or 3 DVDs. That would fund Christmas vacation and probably one to Bermuda in February!

    • Robert B.

      Thank You for the help with the Piano Lessons.

      How To Harmonize Any Tune With Beautiful Piano Chords.

      How can you know which chords go with the melody note?

    • Janet Croft

      I need hints for learning how to ‘pick out’ a melody. Also simple rhythmic patterns for the left hand would be helpful. Another thing
      that would be helpful is knowing how to make chord substitutions.

    • Rick Lehtinen

      1- How to pick out the chord cadence. There are only 10 or 12 cadences that are used most often. Most of what is left will reduce to one of the basic cadences. Show a set of simple set LH fingering patterns that will step through these cadences, kind of like a “Kata for Cadences” Include some learning aids to help the student get them down fast in an easy key before shifting to other keys.

      2- Make a list of top ten intros, breaks, turnarounds, and endings. Again, with memory aids. Show ways to practice working them in to simple songs.

      3- Establish an online community where learners can show and share.

      4- Remember, anything worth doing, is worth doing in all 12 keys.

      5- Authors should be careful to avoid writing for themselves. Research shows there are 4 main learning styles. A good tutorial touches on the language and personality style of all four. (www.insightlearning.com).


      Rick Lehtinen
      Mesa, AZ

    • Ron Campagna

      I really think that if a person new how to play the different types of scales (not keys) and got good at it, that he could play within the chords.
      Learning to play the different rhythms would be a big help.
      You can guess at the count but knowing if you’re doing it right would be nice to know. (Waltz 123 123, East coast swing 1 and 2 1 and 2 3 4) I just use these as an example.
      Knowing how the song goes is a big help, but no matter how much you look at it you have to practice.

    • Charlotte Carter

      1.Please make it simple,a showing a clear illustration of what chords are being played both in the left hand and in the right hand.
      2. Place the name of each note that you are playing; example
      C / CEG which is the key of C, the C is a single note played in the left hand and the CEG which is the chord is played in the right hand.
      3. Please, can you be able to have some of your songs to be played in all of the keys.

      Thank You Mr. Romer and God Bless you for sharing your gift of music.


    • Keith F.

      Begin teaching RH chords in the inverted position first, i.e.,3-5-1, then the roots and finally the 2nd inversion. Most things played usually are in the inverted RH chord and if you have learned all of them first it is a lot easier to start playing. Recognizing the ‘root’ chords and converting them in order to play something really slows a beginner down thus discouraging. Memorize the inversion before the root. ~Keith

    • Gary

      If it comes in DVD format it would be good to have it broken down in sections where you can take a small bite at a time, go over it and reverse back to where you just get back to that one bite (if that makes any sense) so that the power of repetition can come into play. Too many of the instructional DVD’s just keep going and it doesn’t give you time to learn through repetition of a small item that over time builds into something useful because you’ve put alot of things together. Also slow motion of what you are doing would be good. Thanks.

    • Trish

      -How to build a chord. I can pick out a melody by ear but I have a harder time putting the right chord together.

      -What are the top 10 or 15 most common chord progressions and keys?

      -What are the some of the most beautiful sounding chord progressions? We all know I IV V, but what are some of the chord progressions that resolve in an unusually beautiful way?

      -When the singer says “wait, let’s change the key to Bb”, is there a trick to how to do that in my head? I always need to count everything out and write it down.


      Trish recently posted..Elizabeth Gilbert perked up my life today


      I like to see a chart showing hand position and do fingering change in different keysI

      like to play christian music, how to choose the rigth chord to play

    • Dave Alan

      Iā€™m not sure this counts as play-by-ear, but Iā€™d like to see guidance to improvise-by-ear. Give me some nice chord progressions – exact inversions, open voicing, including extended (7ths, 9ths, suspendeds, maybe some shell voicings, etc.). Then provide a scale and/or avoid notes, suggested color notes and passing tones for each chord or one usable over several chords, throw in a key change, modulation(s) & borrowed chords for color, and wrap it back to the original key. In other words, give me a solid chordal underlayment that actually sounds good in and of itself, and show me the melody notes to improvise with, and let me fly on my own. Iā€™d pay $$$ for that.

    • Leol Williams

      1. As a totally blind person, dictation is very important. Please say how and what you are doing. (Spell it out!)
      2. Left and right hand coordination with counterpoint, melody, harmony and bass.
      3. Rhythm and chords substitution.

    • kaleo

      don’t really have much to say, when I first fond your web site I thought I would give it a try but I’ve been mostly putting you in my holding box hoping I will get a chance to read up on playing the piano. My job keeps me away from this PC and I never really have enough time to read any and pretty much all of what I save on the PC but from what i see on your web site there is no need to change anything.

    • Anthony Baitup

      Like some of the other comments, I desperately need to know how to put cords to tunes I can pick out in right hand. I play organ and have all the books by kENNETH BAKER and he has got me playing by remembering cords, but I can only play by reading notations.

    • Neal @ Charlotte

      1. Have DVD(s) or on-line videos that are segmented and coordinated with written information.
      2. Process of how to effectively learn to play music by ear/hearing.
      3. Common approaches people use for determining the melody and chords that work together and enhance the overall sound quality of the music.

    • Ronald Zeigler

      My opinion is that a course that teaches one to play by ear should focus on: 1) practical understanding of the chords and scales. 2) A quick way to help pianists and other musicians to play better.

      For example, I am primarily a saxophone and flute player, and my teachers have always told me that learning to play the piano helps with improvisation. Thus, anything that improves the ear is good for me, and subsequently improvidsation. Best of luck with this project.

    • David Robinson

      Dear Bill
      Thank you for all the H E L P you have been to us!
      Just go ahead with the plans you have in mind!
      Every email that comes to me from you is: MANNA FROM HEAVEN!

    • Colin Cooke

      1. Very, very, easy to learn
      2. A very easy way of learing chords
      3. Tell us how to make it sound good
      4. Tell us how to use easy fingering
      5. When to use the pedals
      6. Recognising which key to play in

    • Karen

      1. KEEP IT SIMPLE.




    • berta

      i’d like to see a scale starting with c and going through the scale
      with every chord in an exercise. i’d also like help with the scales and chords in sharps. sharps have always been hard for me
      past 2#. anxious to see your first copy


    • berta

      God bless you and your trip with your family.
      you have undertook a great and needful task.
      May God help you as you proceed.


    • vickie

      I would love to be able to accompany someone when singing… A lesson on this would be very helpful to me….

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