Hello Matthew!  I really do enjoy them as they supplement the actual video course I purchased. I just want to confirm I have registered for your Piano by Ear course and have loaded down and am working through the lessons. The key is to practice the lessons in between and sometimes I miss a week or so before going on.  I find the video ;lessons excellent and believe you have a very clear way of getting the info across. Not sorry I spent my money and supported you.

Ian, Australia

Hi Matthew,
I meant to tell you before now, I did get your course and I am loving it! I have learned a lot already and have been practicing my scales, chord, and inversions every day. I am pretty excited about this because I feel like I am starting to learn the WHOLE keyboard like never before, and I think learning my inversions will really propel my playing. I am in no hurry however, because I don't expect it to come overnight, but that's ok. At least now I know what and how I need to practice to get better. Besides I am enjoying the journey. Your instruction videos are very easy to follow, and I like that I can go back over them as many times as necessary, something I couldn't afford the luxury of, if I had a piano teacher sitting beside me. Great course! Glad I got it!


Mine is the usual story: traditional piano lessons as a child, a general interest in all sorts of music throughout my life. When I retired I decided to go back to the piano. I live in the south of Ireland and there is a university level music academy here and I found a nice teacher. It wasn't long, however, before I realized  the lessons were continuing where I left off as a kid. The approach was designed to make you into a concert pianist or a music teacher. That's fine because we need concert pianists, but I just wanted to play from memory all the tunes in my head.  My teacher was patient and nice as she listened to me stumble through my little Chopin pieces but my progress was very slow and frustrating. I couldn't really take notes, could not review anything. When the lesson was over it was over. I gave it up.

I stumbled along on my own for a while: a book here, a YouTube video there. I had a good ear and after a while I could play a little and have fun but finally got to a place where I was just repeating myself and had no idea how to go farther. What I wanted was a base to build on. I realized I learned best watching somebody show me things. There are many fine players on YouTube and it took me a while to find the approach I felt would be for me. Then I saw a video of "Amazing Grace" on ThePianoByEar where the tune started very basic and then was played in a more and more advanced way. I knew that was for me. I would be happy if I could play like that.

Since I didn't know where I would fit in I bought all the DVDs. That was much cheaper than the piano lessons anyway. It turned out I could comfortably start with the second disk. My only regret is that I didn't find that sort of course as a child, because I really enjoy playing and might have saved myself many years of stumbling around.











Hello Matthew,
I just thought I'd let you know that I'm enjoying the DVDs, and the lessons via the newsletter, as well. I was able to progress to the lesson on adding a chord to the melody in the right hand fairly quickly, but can see that I'm going to be here a while. I feel very challenged here. When I first ordered your CDs, I was more interested in learning how to  "accompany" people who wanted to sing, rather than learning how to actually incorporate a melody line into the chord. However, the more I do this, the more interesting it has become to me, and I find myself really enjoying it. 
The only questions I have, would be about learning to play accompaniment. I'm needing help in the rhythm, with the left hand as well as the right. The more I get into the lessons, though, the more I can see that what I'm doing right now, will help me learn all that, down the road.
I'm very happy with the products I've purchased from you. I've looked for a long time, for online lessons from someone who actually plays the kind of music that I want to learn to play.
United States



I'm a 74 year old "senior" who took piano lessons for two or three very brief periods of time during my childhood and teen years; but the materials used and the approach to learning, did not appeal to me - did not excite me - did not give me early "successes" and satisfactions - only a continual sense of "I'll never learn this stuff."

As the years have gone by, I have occasionally sat at the piano my wife and I bought more than 40 years ago and played from some of the sheet music, pop song and hymn books written for piano players.  However, when I played, my wife would often say, "Would you just stop the noise!"  Sort of hurt my feelings, but I sympathized with her because my playing really was so awful.

A year or so ago I decided that I really would like to learn to play the piano with a much improved level of knowledge and skill, but I did not want to repeat the approach of long ago.  I decided to make a commitment to learning to play by ear.   I made an effort to find local piano teachers and materials that could help me start out on my goal of learning to play by ear, but without satisfying results. So I turned to the internet and was amazed at all the information and resources that were available.

I settled on your web site, and ordered the first few items available for beginners.  I was emotionally touched with joy when I found that the materials and instruction were so clearly presented that with even only a little practice and study I could begin the process of learning to play by ear.  In just a few weeks, if not a few days, I was experiencing the early satisfactions that I had wanted and needed in my youth.

My piano practice time is extremely limited because I'm still quite active with obligations to my business, my church ministry, and my family. However, I have found that by following your instructions, DVD's etc. my skills are developing.  I know my piano playing must have significantly improved because for the past year, I have never heard my wife say:  "Would you please just stop the noise."   And I have even played a hymn or two, a time or two, for my little church congregation!

From the bottom of my heart, Thank you Matthew for bringing a long time cherished desire and joy to me.  There is a long, long way to go to reach the skill level I'd really like to have. Time and circumstances may prevent me from ever getting "there."  However, the trip itself is one of the most satisfying ones of my life.  Keep up the good work; keep the DVD's and other materials coming.

Overland Park, KS







This is Caroline, I can't begin to thank you enough for the piano course. I am stopping at the moment at lesson 5, to allow my brain and finger tips to absorb it all in. I love the way you teach. This course is so much fun. I look forward to practicing everyday.  I also think you are very kindhearted and too generous to give me that extra DVD!!! God bless you. I like how you open your student forum for all to see, because i enjoyed reading peoples discussions about the courses.  I also love how you start off with a simple melody and you build it up with chords and variations to show us how you can really dress up a plain melody. LOVE IT! I watched the Xmas DVD and can't wait to get started on that!  I learned about a 7th chord yesterday, I had no idea what it was used for, so when i learnt that it was used to move onto a higher chord I was soooooo pleased, felt like a kid who found a candy at the bottom of my pocket..haha. All these little details make learning piano so much fun, because I know how to use them. Well, if ever I know someone who wants to learn, I will highly recommend to them your courses. Take care and god bless your family!

Mrs. Kido, Japan


Matthew,  a few weeks ago I received my copy of Chords Galore. I purchased it during the promotional period because of the introductory price, but I knew I wouldn't watch it right away. I was sure the DVD was full of good information, but I thought to myself, "What could be more boring than an entire DVD full of lessons on chords?"


Well, today I finally popped it into my computer to see what it was like and I can honestly say I can't quit watching it. The instruction is not boring at all but concise. And the 'real world' examples keep me rushing to the keyboard to try them out. This DVD is another home run! Way to go.

Steve, Missouri


This is Clark... I ordered your DVD Advanced III the southern gospel stuff. This is great ! Thank you so much for making this. I've taken lessons off of many top Southern gospel pianist like Tracey Phillips etc.. I play at singing conventions and attend gospel music schools, but this helps break it down where I can slow it down and learn. I'm already starting to apply some of these things to other songs I play. Great Job ! I can't wait to practice this more and to continue with the rest of the DVD. I'm glad I ran across this resource ! Let me know if you ever continue with the southern gospel series. You're great..
Clark, West Virginia (USA)



I really appreciate the great service you provide. Since it is a DVD it can sometimes bring up a lot of questions and it's really helpful knowing you respond to my emails so fast and answer my questions. That was the one thing I was nervous about when ordering online. I knew I would have a lot of questions and it's so nice knowing you will answer them. A lot of services online do not have great support like you do and I really appreciate it. And I am hoping to buy your next DVD soon, because it has been a dream of mine to play by ear. Thanks again. -
Luke, New York









Hi Matthew.  As a piano teacher who has a great interest in learning more about playing by ear as opposed to the traditional methods, I am very impressed with your course. You make the approach to the keyboard so easy to understand and your inventive methods are clear, concise, and easy to follow. Also, your personality comes across as a very sincere person that makes you feel an infinity to you even though we've only met via your DVD's.  Thanks for giving budding pianists an effective method that will propel them into the wonderful world of playing by ear.
Jim, Arizona


What a deal! Matthew is a great piano teacher and we have found these dvds to be so beneficial! we loved them so much for our daughter, that we bought the advanced set as a gift for our Pastor's wife who wanted them. Athough she has played beautifully for many years, she says that she has learned so much and isn't even finished with the lessons, yet!
Stacy, USA

Hi Matt!  I wanted to say thanks so much for the wonderful music lessons you have been sending me.  I have already purchased all of your DVDs and I am so excited.  I am 70 years old, recently retired, and have always wanted to play piano.  I took traditional lessons about 10 years ago, and frankly, I was a bit overwhelmed until I eventually stopped playing.  Thanks to your lessons I am already making much more progress than I ever dreamed.  Never did I think I could play piano by ear.  Thanks again for your encouragement and may God bless you and your sincere efforts to help others play piano.




New Digital Video Format available now!
Matthew Stephens
Learn Piano By Ear Blog

Learn How To Play Piano By Ear Blog
October 21, 2008 By Matthew Stephens

Well, a happy and warm "hello" from Matthew Stephens, founder of www.thepianobyear.com.  I will be posting on this blog from time to time with useful information that will help you learn to play piano by ear.  I welcome your questions and/or comments!  Due to the nature of spam on the internet, your message will have to be "approved" before posted to the blog...
Happy blogging!
Matthew Stephens

Visitor Comments (7)
Very nice...
Posted By COLLINC1965 on October 18, 2016
Hi Matthew,

I thought let me leave a message here. Just to tell you that I am really enjoying the Piano by Ear for beginners lessons. I have to admit that I cheated a bit, and listened through all the lessons of part 1, and up and until lesson four part 2. And then I stopped. Why? Coz I finally saw in the lesson what I was looking for ... Learn the piano in the way I want it. And then I knew. To come that far you have to learn all the things you showed in the 13 lessons before that. So yesterday I started form scratch, knowing its the only way to get where I want to be.

The most problems at the moment is playing with both hands. Especially keeping the rhythm with the left hand. It is easier to hold a chord ;-). So I was wondering Matthew if you have any tips concerning that...

Learning By Ear is Really Cool
Posted By LISE_ZHU on December 23, 2015
I've seen many piano covers where they say they've learned it by ear and it got me curious. How do they play by ear? I stumbled onto many how to learn piano by ear videos but none of them helped. So when I found your youtube video I wanted to try it out. I love the piano because of the many tunes you could play it. I hope I can learn a lot of things from you and be on my way to learn songs by ear too.
I have not received my first email yet
Posted By B-SUE on February 8, 2013
Dear Mr. Matthew
In your welcome message you said that my first lesson should be waiting in my inbox though I know two days isn't a very long time to wait I am anxious about starting and have not yet received your first lesson. Thank you.

playing by ear
Posted By MATTHEW STEPHENS on June 2, 2010
Scott, It does time time and determination, but it IS possible. Just remember that when you devote your talents to the Lord, He's willing to step in and help you as well. I saw the greatest growth in my piano playing AFTER I made a committment to use my musical talents for Him.

It does seem overwhelming to play in every key fluently, however, be patient with yourself and work note by note, chord by chord, and what you do learn, become fluent in that. Then, moving on, you'll see it gets easier and easier.

Keep me posted and don't hesitate to ask questions!

overwhelming stuff to learn
Posted By SCOTT on June 1, 2010
I too was kind of wondering if only some can and some just can't play the piano. But I read where you said "a resounding yes" that we can. It seems somewhat of a "brain frier" to me to learn to play in all keys. So many keys, chords, inversions, 7ths, augmenteds, sus's and all of those inversions etc. When I change keys, it's like I have to change gears and re-familiarize myself with that key to know where to go in the number system. Another thing is to know how to do all of the "lace" of playing and not just simple boring chords and for my left and right hands to be doing so many different things all at the same time. I hope something "clicks" soon so that I feel more hope that maybe I will be a piano player some day.
Can you REALLY play piano by ear?
Posted By MATTHEW STEPHENS on September 23, 2009
I was visiting with a prospective student the other day on the phone and she says, "Can I really learn to play by ear?"

This question is one that I hear often. I guess most people are either skeptical or just unsure they have the ability to play piano by ear. In reality, the answer is a resounding, "YES!"

I've watched it happen for years even before I went online with "play piano by ear" courses. Since the launch of our site in June 2006, I've seen tons of people go through my courses and learn to play the piano by ear.

So, if you're wondering if you "really" can learn to play piano by ear, jump in there and give it a try! It's really rather simple!

All the best,

Learn Piano By Ear
Posted By MATTHEW STEPHENS on September 17, 2009
Well, the server lost all of my blog posts! So, here we go again.

Learning to play the piano by ear is fun and easy. It differs from playing the piano by note because when you or I play using sheet music, we are reading what someone else has written note for note rather than playing the basics and adding the different types of chords, etc. we want.

Playing the piano by ear gives you freedom to use chord structures and progressions that may not be exactly what the composer might have used, but it would still work.

What's so fun about playing by ear is that you and I have control over what we play. We're not tied to sheet music. When someone asks me to play a song (if I know it), then I can sit down and play it in any key.

When play the song by ear today, it will be different from how I play it tomorrow with minor variations. The basic structure in chords and chord progressions will be the same, but the rhythms, extended chords, and extended chord progressions will be different.

That's because in my many years of playing, I've accumulated tons and tons of techniques to use when playing the piano by ear. So, I play whatever comes to my mind on any particular song.

So, in a nutshell, you learn the "basics" or fundamentals of what playing the piano by ear is all about. From there, you learn all kinds of new techniques to use when you play. That's it!

Pretty simple and tons of fun!

Until next time,

Related Articles · More Articles
In this blog, I will post questions I receive from students by email and answers that I give in regards to learning to play the piano by ear.
Share with me your biggest question or hurdle that you need help with so you can learn to play the piano by ear.
Tell me WHY you want to learn how to play the piano by ear!