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) 🙂

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 – 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!"


      1> How to recognize melody notes in a song?
      2> Basic exercises to develop to recognize the tones by ear
      3> What parameters one should concentrate on while listening to songs?
      4> To recognize the type of RHYTHM (Waltz, 4/4, etc.) in a song
      5> How to start playing simple songs on piano keyboard using basic primary chords?
      6> To recognize the KEY of a song and Chord progressions


    • james

      First, how to identify key of a song.
      Then, how to figure out what chords to play.
      Finally, how to figure out the melody.

    • steph Cotton

      I would like to be able to recognise by ear the basic chords with a simple melody to tune my ear to the right sounds.
      Maybe some sort of quiz training first,with a chord that has to be matched with the name.
      I always thought playing by ear was a gift not something you learnt.
      Good luck

    • Jim

      1. How to get the left and right hands working together.
      2. Knowing what chord inversion works best in songs.(trial and error?)
      3. Training the ear to pick out melodies and chord patterns,

    • Luigi


    • Will

      For years people have offered me money to show them how I play by ear but I won’t take it because I can show them in a half hour. I often use the metaphor, “Music is a language.” In many ways it is: It conveys meaning by means of sound; it has syntax and grammar. When you talk, you use words, rarely thinking of how they are spelled. If you can get used to regarding chords as the “words” of music, you can learn to “talk” (i. e., play). Think of C as the notes of the C chord; the Fm as the notes of an F minor; etc. I don’t know how useful this concept would be to your students, but it has helped many of my friends learn to play by ear.

    • RTYSON

      I like to play gospel run ,basic,chords 1st,2nd invets. basic shout runs .you spell them out.put them on youtube.but not to fasts.alot of tape dvd’s cd’s go tooo fast.your past lessons have been very helpful for me,learned alot.God bless you and keep up the great job teaching us the Piano.I Play and teach Drum lesson also. RTYSON.

    • samuel bailey

      I would like to know how to interchange chords between piano and saxophone or other instruments.

      how to recognize different chord changes from jazz to blues to rock.

    • Shaunie

      I find the melodies easy to pick out, and the basic chords easy to find, but there’s a big leap from using simple triads and seventh chords to creating chords which are more elegant, subtle and interesting.
      Perhaps you could spend some time on suggesting some cool alternate chords/harmonies at distinct points in the melodic line.

    • Steven

      How to >>>
      1> Identify key of a song.
      2> Harmonize the chords with the song.
      3> Move around with the melody and chords in different style

    • RAUL

      well i would like to see a dvd were ,you pick a real fancy complecated song that has alot of desonance and passing chords.than first explain in what key the song is ,than find the original progressions whith the chords and than finding all the nice passing chords that has in it.

    • janette

      I would like to play all the rich and compex chords that enhances any song to make it a unique sounding song.
      Left hand and right hand chord structure.with the rich chords.
      My goal is to apply these chords in my day to day playing without having to think about both hands and where to play each chord.

    • Jessie Howell

      I would like tp play by ear but never sure which note to start and trying to work out a system so that I can remember the notes and go straight to them. I am really struggling with chord lessons my left hand has difficulty stretching to four notes – can I just play with three notes to each chord and also when to change cords during playing a song.

    • Bruce

      The biggest problem with the kids that I teach is getting them to practice, Well practice does not mean that you have to sit at the keyboad and play all day athough it would be great if they could. When going to sleep at night think about the tune you are trying to learn, imaginge playing it on the keyboard. imagine the notes you shoud be playing. Play it in your mind. You will be amazed how much better you will play the following day, Keep up the good work Regards




    • Diane

      Thanks so much, REALLY enjoyed so far but am stuck at learning the progressions. I can play basic piano but always wanted to play with chords, fills and runs – now I’m a retiree may be?

      – memorizing tips would be great
      – simple patterns and variations

    • TK Oynes

      1.) Figuring out substitution chords that embellish the harmony beyond the basic primary chords in a song.

      2.) Fill ins, modulations, chord progressions that beautify the song.

    • TS

      Not just by ear but also with eyes closed!!! Really feel it! Tkx

    • Renato

      Sorry Bill, I Just want lern music properly & ply by it. I’m sure you will help me, want you. Sorry I can’t help this time.Good lack to you,Your Family and your holiday. I’m still your friend. Regards Renato

    • Michelina Celli

      Hi Bill,
      Well I’ve read all the comments listed and I really don’t have any better ideas to share, but learning to play piano by ear would be a “Dream Come True” for me as I have great ears but have a really tough time learning to read music I found a teacher who taught the Suzuki method, but when I called she explained the Suzuki method was really not learning how to play piano by ear, there was an abundance of music theory involved, so I did not pursue.
      Hey, I think that guy Will, who left his comment on July 8th, @10:52 PM may be on to something!
      Sorry I wish I had a great idea for you Bill ……….. Good Luck ~ Michelina

    • Pamela

      More ways to get both hands going.showing how to get the right rythm to a song.
      I can pick out a song but i can’t get my left hand to do right.
      Need more left and right hand techniques shown on the piano step by step.

    • FKFullmer

      I would also endorse the inclusion of dressing up music with runs, rifs, ticks, etc. in very slow note-by-note fashion. Secondly, where to insert such runs to sound appropriate and not just confusion.

    • Helena Boggia

      Hi Bill,

      As yet I have only glimpsed at your email but it looks very interesting and helpful. I will read it properly this eve. Should I decide to purchase this – can you please let me have the price in £.

      Best regards

    • jorge

      De primera mano me gustaria jugar a tocar piano de oido esto lo tenemos integrado a nuestro cerebro creo yo solo que nos falta practica esto es como un nuevo lenguaje solo ay que aprender a escuchar con mucha atencion , lo siguientte es tener sentido musical y retencion en la memoria aguna cancion , ,Bueno este es mi opinion . quisiera poder tocar el piano como EL brasileno ARAUJO. P.D. Un saludo y felices vacaciones A T E N T A M E T E > Su amigo Jorge Guerra DE TEXAS>

    • Dan

      I would love to be able to give you my advice but I am afraid that my ear is less than proficient at pounding out a song. I have no sense of whether or not I should move 2, 3, or more keys upwards or downwards or if I should sharpen or flatten a note. So I laborously pound out some keys and don’t get very far.
      I do not think that knowing the key of a song is important for me, I am guessing that one can change key to suit the needs. I would suggest that playing in the key of C may make it easier to learn but if playing in a particular key is important as some of the previous contributors have suggested, then so be it.
      Mostly, I would love to know what cords to play with then left hand while I am trying to figure out what the melody is with the right hand. There are complmentary cords for any note, but chooding the best / optimal chord is, I think the challenge.

    • Chris

      So you hear a song and want to play it. But how do you start. I would like to see a manual that teaches the whoa to go – all the industry secrets if there are any. Really focusing on the task in hand, as you have pretty much covered all the basics in your first manual and downloads etc. Some say that to play by ear is a gift you are born with. I hope they are wrong because I wasn’t born with it. Really looking forward to see if it can be done.

    • jorge


    • Sylvia

      Hi Bill,

      I never play piano by ear, in fact I have been learning Organ, but now I would like to play piano by ear.
      First of all how do I identify the notes by ear unless I am a professional piano player or talent but unfortunately I don’t either one of it, but love to play organ/piano. I am looking forward to find out how, I am really interested in that and I hope my ear will distinguish the notes. I am so sorry I can’t give you any idea, but would love to know.

    • Winnie

      When I have worked out the basic tune, how to be able to decide which chord should be played, where and when

    • Markku

      Hello Bill,

      Thanks for the opportunity to provide input.

      Two thing I would like to see are a video demo with downloadable sheet music.

      Have a great trip

    • Jean Khan

      Thanks for this opportunity. I’ve always wanted to play by ear because I do have a musical ear. I can sit down and work out the notes on the piano when listening to the music, but this is tediously slow so I would need to know how to speed the process up a little.

      Also I would need to refresh my memory of the left hand chords. Mostly I play the C chords for the music in key C and the B flat chords for the B flat music etc., but it doesnt always sound quite right. My knowledge is very basic, but I can play the melody Ok in the right hand once I’ve worked out the notes.

      The only thing is I do not have a credit card but if you have a New Zealand bank account I could pay you by NZ bank deposit. How much would it be please?

      Thanks for all your emails. I do appreciate even if i havent replied before.


      Jean Khan, Wellington, New Zealand.

    • JK

      1 – Choosing key of song
      2 – Practical tips for improving right/left hand independence
      3 – When to focus on the bass-line, chords or the melodies

    • Mike

      Thanks Bill for the e-mail, I find your courses so inspiring and wish that I could add something to these excellent comments. I went to see Paul McCartney at the Millenium stadium and he of course was outstanding and I was watching the way he played a glissando using three fingers which is something I had never thought of doing in ortder to acheive a brilliant sweeping wave like sound! He played Something as well ! Far out man!

    • Jeanie Smith

      Everyone would probably be interested in fillers for playing for backup for singers.
      Fillers for whole notes,endings etc, and backgrounds during prayer,offeratory during church service or country music.
      If you used lighthouses in the cover somehow and would drop ship I may even get you referrals on my web site…for a small cost so I can go on vacation!!! Too! Ha Ha. I am adding new products an dpayments are made thru Paypal…Think it over.. Jeanie
      Another way tell me how to keep my feet in the air as my ears hit the keyboard…I get dizzy turning my head left and right….

    • Jim Phillips

      Hello Bill
      Scales:How important?I have been learning to play by ear for last 5years.Starting with blues scales LH RH together turnarond etc and earlier this year I decided to embed the 12 Major scales (necessary do you think?)Would like to see early utilisation of LH as this tends to get left behind.Would like to see examples of chords and melody using both hands.Early realisation of how playing chords with the various fingerings can advance and enthuse a student eg: from all first inversions to mixing them up to keep fingering in close proximity.
      Have a good one
      Kind regards
      Jim P

    • Lewis E. Randall

      As children we learned to talk before we could read. It would be nice to use this concept in learning to play by ear. I would also like to sing and accompany myself as I sing. I wonder if this could help me play by ear.

    • suzanne

      Hi Bill
      Having read some of the other suggestions they pretty much cover what I would like to learn. I would also appreciate any help on being able to play stride and swing.
      Best wishes

    • Mr. Pizi Jihat

      how to sync left & right hand effectively… i’ve got problem with my left… my right can just improvise any melody/scaling now, but my left is not supporting it with great notes/chords…

      i believe i can determine the key of any songs by finding the root/1st note, but sometime it is quite difficult to play like the original with lots of beautiful sound of great/grand chording like accidental, augmented etc.. etc..

      i also think that most of it are already mentioned by all those comments.

      thanks for allowing me to give this inputs…

      warm regards,

      Pizi Jihat

    • fMelody

      All very exiting indeed. HOW MUCH will it costs please? Thank You. Bless You for sharing Your Gift.

    • Carlos L Rojas

      Dear Bill,

      You don’t need a vacation, you have too much fun already… but maybe your family does!
      Simple break down of song format (typically blues format)
      Popular song chord progressions, kind of like the ii – V7 – I you showed us before
      Strategy to follow as in your video
      Hope your course is great (and affordable)

    • laura

      I would like you to show us how to identify a number of common jazzy rhythms by ear and then show us the combined hand patterns needed to produce them so that we could apply them to any song.

      identify a number of common intro’s and endings by ear and then how us how to play them

      identify common sounds in jazz songs such as moving down to the required note in semi tones to a particular rhythm (hope you know what I am trying to say) and then show us how to play it.

    • laura

      Hi, I would like to be able to hear common jazz progressions. I keep hearing mention of the 2 5 1 etc. and of course you can play the 2nd 5th and first chord but it is not the same as being able to hear it in a melody. Thank you really looking forward to the course.

    • Dom

      Here are a couple of names that you could use in your quest to make playing piano a little easier: Bill Horn (author of several piano books) and Scott Houston who uses DVD’s to get his message out. Hope this helps.

    • Dave Dawson

      I did another “play by ear” course by a well known piano teacher (who is very good, dont get me wrong) but found far too many tests or minor exams as it were, and they seemed somehow , to interfere with the main theme of the course. Constant tests become very boring. hand coordination very important, is your new course downloadable?looking forward to learning more about playing by ear. Dave…..bournemouth U.k

    • Martin Taunton

      Listen to a song and get the melody notes on paper. I find tabs useful. ex UK national anthem ccdbcd eefedc dcbc

      How to find the bass notes. These are not always easy to hear. Is there a good software package to identify or accentuate the bass notes.

      Develop the bass /chord method you showed in “O Christmas Tree”.

    • Bruce

      Dear Bill,

      Just to start thanks for the great courses I have purchased so far.
      When I was a young kid all I did was play by ear but used to get rapped over the knuckles by my teacher for doing so, I lost the ability alittle but hope to regain it, I guess the most important thing to me is “Feeling the Music” if you don’t feel it its hard to make it come across very well.
      1: How to pick out the base notes easily by ear.
      2: How to pick out the embelishments and tricky bits without getting lost, how many times should we listen to the song before we even try to play it.
      3: One thing I do is play along with the song as it is playing, works for some songs– eg “Song for Guy”– Elton John, I did this way.

      Best Wishes


    • Vicki D

      Technical vocab – maybe in a glossary. It’s so embarassing when the “naturally musical” types are chatting about stuff and you don’t know what it all means.
      Tips on making it sound effortless.

    • Susanna Kievit

      1. Have a booklet of chords handy.
      2. Have pad of musicpaper handy and write down the basic tune.
      3. Put in the chords where necessary.
      4. Practice it. (with some bass progression here and there).

    • Roz

      Hello Bill
      This sounds a great idea, and I can’t think of anything that hasn’t already been said. I haven’t got a ‘natural’ ear, but I think this can be trained if you are not gifted in this way. Keep it simple I find is the easiest way, using tunes you know well to start with. Exploring scales and chords is essential and I have found that they certainly aren’t boring! As for practice, i always enjoy it although it has to share time with my work!
      I look forward to your new course: good luck with it and have a lovely holiday.
      Roz (York, England)

    • Peter Child

      Hi Bill. Thanks for asking me to comment.
      I don’t think it’s worth spending too much time trying to teach ways of playing a melody by ear, since generally it will either come naturally, or if not, you could use lead music for the melody. I therefore think it would be most worthwhile to talk about harmonising a melody (which notes to harmonise, and which chords to use); as well as how to add accompanying embellishments, especially to notes in the melody that are held for more than one beat, in order to give more colour to the tune.
      I hope this helps
      All the best – and enjoy your vacation

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