I have been asked the question, “Is playing by ear 👂 easy?” I would like to answer that question in this way by saying that it is as easy as you know how. You may say to me what does that mean? It simply means that you are able to play by ear as much as you have the skill, knowledge and practical application.
I guess I can say that the response is a scaled response. It’s like a language. The more vocabulary you know, the more you are able to speak and understand. I wrote an article a while back that talks about this called Music as a Language where I talk about how children learn to speak before learning to read. They learn sounds of the language and they are able to express themselves before learning all the grammar, and the rules of the language and the theory of an object, verb and subject.
So in reality the answer is yes. Playing by ear is easy if you know how. The reality is my playing by ear is different than Jacob Collier, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Victor Wooten, Herbie Hancock, Harry Connick Jr., Winton Marsalis, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Santana, or Chick Corea. It’s as different as the physical sound of their voices. You just have to keep on doing the best that you can as you Play It By Ear.