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Play By Ear

Play By Ear Volume 1

Play By Ear Vol. 1

Level: Beginners to Advanced

In this course, you will learn 10 steps to start playing songs by EAR. The principles of playing by ear are laid out in detail. I also demonstrate in audios and in 40 videos with animated dotted keyboards to teach you how to play in different keys with the Asian Numeric Music Notation. Each video shows a song demonstrated in at least 3 keys.

This is a further look at the approach I take in this Series.


To play a song by ear, first limit yourself to the 7 scale tones of a key.

I use software-animated videos that show you clearly how to apply the simple Asian Music Notation to playing songs by ear. I first demonstrate how this is easily done in the key of C.

Play song easily in ALL 12 KEYS

What you can do to the key of C can easily be done to any key, even in the more difficult keys such as Db key, B key or F# key. The thinking and application is CONSISTENT in all 12 keys.

In my videos, using 40 songs, I show you how to apply the Asian Numeric Music Notation to playing songs in all 12 different keys. I purposely also choose some of the harder keys to play in (B, Db, F#) so that you can see how easy the system is once your thinking is clear.

Playing in all keys: Simplified FINGERING and HANDSHAPES

I learned the traditional fingering of playing all 12 major scales. I want to stress: when I follow this numeric notation, I do not use the fingering prescribed by the traditional method because it does not lend itself to playing songs easily in different keys. The traditional fingerings work great for classical pieces.

However, my fingering is very simple and it would not clash with any of your traditional learning at all. I explain it in the course. The easy handshape and fingering help you play easily without thinking too much about flats or sharps when playing with the more difficult keys. The idea is to be consistent in your learning process.

Once you master a key, you can use any kind of fingering you please. The whole idea is to help you play by ear and play with ease right away. This is my primary concern in my teaching, throughout all the Series. You need a QUIET AND FOCUSED mind to learn to play by EAR so that you can listen DEEPLY to the sounds and not be concerned with inconsistent fingerings.


A lot of ear training programs want to help us to LISTEN DEEPLY to the sounds. My approach uses songs to help you listen DEEPLY to the tones you play rather than naming the intervals such as M6, m6, m2, M2, m7 or M7 etc. If playing songs by ear is what you want, this is perfect for you. If you want to learn sound intervals and distinguish them, you would have to go for ear training software for those drilling exercises.

Sample Video

This video is an actual demonstration video used in Volume 1.

Song We Wish You A Merry Christmas
Right Hand Plays melody notes
Left Hand Plays chords

The resolution of the actual videos is much better than this. What you see is in lower resolution simply to speed up your buffering when sampling the video on this webpage.

The Value of the Videos

It would have been much easier for me to simply videotape my playing the songs on a real piano. However, in order for you to become familiar with the Asian Music Notation, it is much more effective to show you a static numbered keyboard over the actual keys being played. This helps you to VISUALIZE the dots and numbers as the corresponding keys on the keyboard. This will fast-track your learning, and is also an aid during your practice.

Just watching the video does not do the trick for you. You need to view these videos over your keyboard or piano so that you can play along. This way of learning has been very effective for my students in Hong Kong to playing in all 12 keys. They are making great progress by playing song after song from the videos and you will too. Don't give up too soon. The more I watch them progress, the more I believe this is a super fast-track way to learn all 12 keys in a short time.

It has taken me many hours of sleepless nights to make these videos for all 40 songs for my present students. My experience tells me that these videos serve as incredibly powerful learning tools for them and for you too, so it's worth every minute of preparation. In the beginning, I had not intended to do these videos for this Play By Ear volume but because it has helped my current students so much, I did all 40 videos in this format for this Volume.

Practicing with Different Songs

You may say each video is simply a repeat of the same concept. Yes, it is, and intentionally so, but they show different songs in different keys. What students need is to practice. What better way than using different songs to practice. This is how students learn. They need to visualize and then to get the concepts into their heads and hands. So I keyed in all the numbers and dots for them so they can see them plainly on the screen.

You don't see me playing live in these Play By Ear videos because I need to use a midi keyboard software to highlight each note that is played, which I feel is an essential element of the videos. The mini keyboard used with this software does not produce very nice sounds, nor does it have much dynamic control. So I hope you will excuse me on that because fixing the computer "keyboard" is outside my expertise!

More than just "PLAY BY EAR"

This PLAY BY EAR Series turns out to teach more than "play by ear" with the Asian Music Notation. The whole purpose of the book is to teach you to play songs by ear in different keys. It also shows you how to harmonize songs, hear chord changes, and how to predict chord changes.

Play By Ear Volume 1 starts with the very basics and covers the following chords: I IV V V7 ii7 II7. It also starts using the Circle of 5ths to help you see how chords progress in songs.

I find that using the CIRCLE in a systematic way is a very powerful and efficient way to show students how to play songs by ear. My students are then able to build on a strong foundation, and progress step by step with fun and ease.

How this "PLAY BY EAR" volume has evolved

Since the beginning of writing this volume as a manuscript, the series has evolved and taken on a life of its own. I notice that PLAY by EAR Volume 1 is helping my current students to play by ear in all 12 keys using the Asian Music Notation.

The Asian Notation is not non-traditional. It is in fact very traditional because people in China have been using this efficiently for years since the 19th Century. I want to stress again: It is my approach and method that is non-traditional because I make use of this easy notation to get people to play their favorite songs and also in their favorite key. I am ambitious, I know, but I am excited because I want to tell you that it is an attainable goal.

Play By Ear Volume 1 Content
Written material 177 pages
Multimedia demonstration 5.5 hours of videos and audios
       40 videos (wmv format, 720 x 576)
       20 mp3 audios
       32 midi audio clips
Product Format Immediate Download or
Physical Product: All files on Computer DVD-Rom

SONG LIST - 40 songs
  1. Alleluia
  2. God is so Good
  3. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
  4. Mary Had a Little Lamb
  5. Happy Birthday
  6. Kum Ba Yah My Lord
  7. Here Comes the Bride
  8. When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
  9. I Have Decided to Follow Jesus
  10. O Christmas Tree
  11. Braham´s Lullaby
  12. When the Saints Go Marching In
  13. Jesus Loves Me
  14. Jingle Bells
  15. Amazing Grace
  16. Be Still and Know
  17. Be Thou My Vision
  18. Blest be the Tie that Binds
  19. Auld Lang Syne
  20. We Wish You A Merry Christmas
  1. Ode to Joy
  2. Morning Has Broken
  3. I´ve Been working on the Railroad
  4. Trust and Obey
  5. Just As I am
  6. Day by Day
  7. Deeper, Deeper
  8. On top of Old Smokey
  9. O Danny Boy
  10. Clementine
  11. Home on the Range
  12. O Suzanna
  13. Thanks to God
  14. This is My Father´s World
  15. Silent Night
  16. Away In A Manger
  17. Onward Christian Soldiers
  18. Lead On O King Eternal
  19. It is Well with My Soul
  20. Teach me Thy Way

If you are one who would like to venture out to play in different keys, grab this. This will definitely fast-track you to learn to play in other keys.

If you are one who already know your 12 scales and the tones of each key but have not yet mastered the 12 keys, I can assure you in 3 months' time, you will have no difficulty playing in all 12 keys.

Play By Ear Vol. 1
Play By Ear
Volume 1



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Don't forget to check out my OTHER Product Series!

7 Secrets Series

ReHarmonization Series

Color Chord Improvisation Method

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