Learn the Music You Love

This term we’ve been working on music from films, TV programs, video games or pop songs. The dilemma we face is everyone is at a different level so it can often be tricky to find sheet music to suit you. This is where transcribing comes in.

Transcribing is just a fancy way to say learn by ear. Sit down at the piano, get out your music player of choice which could be Spotify, YouTube, mp3 player, CD, album or dare I say it, cassette. Start listening, fumble on the keys and see where it takes you.

Transcribing is a skill. Another skill or facet of music. It’s difficult to know where to start. People quite often jump in to something that might not be suitable for piano. Or, it might be so complicated it’s difficult to figure out what notes to play. However, the more you do it the better you get.

If you’re keen on learning how to do this then you have to start with something simple. It can often be ideal to start with something you know really well. Take a piece of music like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star or Happy Birthday and get going with that. find your starting note, listen to or sing the tune, decide if the music went higher or lower then try to find the note. Starting with really familiar tunes makes the whole process simpler.

The next question is, do you write it down or not. This really depends. If you’re a reader and understand notes values then I think it’s a great thing to do. However, if you don’t read music or you’re quite new to reading music then just stick with learning to play the tune.

When I do this, I normally use and application called Transcribe! (the exclamation mark is part of the branding…. It’s not just me getting excited about the whole thing). This has some great tools that allow you to loop round the same part of a tune until you get it. Another great feature is you can slow the music down without affecting the pitch.

Transcribe! has allowed me to figure out some nasty and fast piano solos. Not saying I can play them but I do know the notes 😂.

If you wish you could play some of your favourite tunes but just can’t find the right level of music then get started with tunes you know and go from there. It’s a rewarding skill to develop along with everything else.

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