All posts by David Hunte

Worshiper, Husband, Father, Son, Friend, Singer, Pianist, Guitarist, Geeky Computer Guy, Music Teacher and All around Good Guy!!!

En-Chord – Play That Chord Again!


In a recent blog post about Chords, I talked about the 4 most commonly used chord types – Major, Minor, Diminished, and Augmented! In most popular contemporary music, the most common chords used are Major and Minor chords.

But Mr. PIBE, how are these chords created or formed? Major chords are formed on different notes on the scale: 1, 4 and 5. Minor chords are formed on notes 2, 3, and 6. Each note in a scale is assigned a number from 1 to 7.  For example, in the key of C Major, C is 1, and D is 2 etc.

C-1  D-2  E-3  F-4  G-5  A-6  B-7  C-1

Chords are formed by playing alternating notes simultaneously. C Major is C-1  E-3  G-5. This chord is a major chord because there’s a major 3rd between C and E, and a minor 3rd between E and G. D Minor is D-2 F-4 A-6. So you could play a chord on every note in the scale. Each chord has a type based on the position in the scale.

1 – Major (C Major)
2 – Minor (D Minor)
3 – Minor (E Minor)
4 – Major (F Major)
5 – Major (G Major)
6 – Minor (A Minor)
7 – Diminished (B Diminished)

So there you have it. The secret of which chords are used on which position on the scale. Go forth and prosper! And remember that everyday is an opportunity to Play It By Ear

P. I. B. E.

Today is another opportunity to Play It By Ear

Growing Pains – Ouch!


Starting anything new involves some growing pains. Even restarting something after a brief lay off has its own share of pains. It is my belief that these pains help more than hurt, and they are useful for weeding out people who aren’t committed as well as strengthening those who are committed.

Some of the pains that you feel as you grow are physical, and some are mental. One of the most obvious examples I’m music is the pain associated with learning to play an instrument like the guitar. Your fingertips hurt. Your wrist hurts from holding the guitar neck. Your shoulders hurt from holding the strap. And the list goes on. These pains are necessary though as they help to build calluses and generally strengthen the muscles. As it has been said – “No Pain! No Gain!” Or as I’ve come to embrace it – “Yes Pain! Yes Gain!”

Sadly, a lot of the mental pains we encounter are self inflicted. These are pains of frustration with self; pains of fear of failure; pains of inadequacy; and a host of others. Can you think of anymore mental pains that people encounter as they try to learn or do something new? Additionally there are other pains that are inflicted by others. Usually they are detractors that try to discourage you and pull you down with negativity.

The thing to do is to keep moving forward. Tell yourself, “Self? You can do this!!! You are not a failure!!!” You can hold your head up knowing that the pains you experience are temporary.


This statement is so true. The pains that you would experience Do NOT Last!!! Transient is the name of the game for pain. You will get through this.

So put a smile on your face and remember today is just another opportunity to Play It By Ear.

OK. I’m Listening! Now What?


OK. I’m listening. Now What Do I Do? The answer is very simple
– Active Listening – Focused Listening!!

What is Active Listening? It is the act of Listening Deliberately! It’s making a conscious decision to pay attention to the source of the sound that you’re Listening to; To give it your Undivided Attention… In Active Listening there are no distractions.

For example, you can’t be analyzing and learning to play Chick Corea’s “Spain” while watching TVs and eating a burrito. Its just not possible, for most people at least!

Active Listening means your engaged in what you’re listening to. You look for the nuances of sound in the context of the auditory mosaic. There are no shortcuts in this listening process. Every decibel is examined to provide a framework of reference in deciphering meaning.

Sometimes even when you listen as intently as you can, you may miss stuff. How do you combat that? There are tools out there that can help you listen better than you can on your own. Tools like Audacity for PC, Audio Speed Changer for Android, & Music Speed Changer for IOS…

OK. So I’m listening! Now What?
Listen AGAIN and then Play It By Ear!

P. I. B. E

Today is another opportunity to Play It By Ear

Shut Up and Listen – YES!

As a kid I learned this in school. Before you cross the street you need to:


The same exists for Playing By Ear. In learning or playing a piece, it’s one of the most critical skills to learn and master as it is in life. But it’s crucial to the whole process.

My mom always said that you have one mouth and two ears for a reason. So we have to listen to 2x as much as we speak.

But seriously, the art of listening is important. I daresay it’s the most important part of this process.

So keep it a little quiet and LISTEN, so you could Play It By Ear

P. I. B. E

Today is another opportunity to Play It By Ear

Fermata (Pause) – Managing Failure

In all this talk of music, scales and chords, I realized that none of this would make any sense if you don’t take a step forward.

Let’s FERMATA for a moment… And think about it….

Let’s say that you want to learn to play by ear, and you’ve come to a place where you know all the scales, all the chords, all the intervals in all 12 keys, and you still can’t GET IT! What do you do? Should you give up? Should you quit after 10 times? Or 100? Or 1000 ? NO! It’s not an option!

When James Dyson was building his bagless vacuum, he experienced a lot of failure. But he didn’t quit! He built 5,126 prototypes that did not work.  He had 5126 examples of what NOT to do. But his 5,127th vacuum became the first of millions of vacuums that did work!

So should you quit?

NO! Just FERMATA and keep Playing It By Ear!

P. I. B. E.

Today is another opportunity to Play It By Ear

On One Ac-Chord – The Next Steps

Today was a good day. I had three opportunities to Play It By Ear.  The best one was at a fund raising concert in Dedham MA. It was great being able to sing with my family – together! We were on one Ac-Chord!


The next thing after knowing your scales is to put chords together. What is a chord? A chord is three or more notes played at the same time. They come in 4 main types – Major, Minor, Augmented and Diminished… Each one of these chords are defined by the intervals between each note…

What’s most important is playing the right chords. And that produces a lifetime of Playing It By Ear!!!

P. I. B. E.

Today is another opportunity to Play It By Ear

Upscaling The Walls – Get A Move On!!!

So yesterday I talked about musical scales and its effect on playing by ear. I thought about it for a little while and I came to the realization that in order for anybody to succeed in life they have to Upscale The Walls that surround them.

What do you mean Mr. Play It By Ear? Well, its simple. When ever you have to do anything in life, no matter what it is, you have obstacles in your way. In other words there are Walls around you that prevent you from doing that thing.

Walls of Laziness.
Walls of Resistance.
Walls of Nay Sayers.
Walls of a Lack of Funding.
Walls of Your Own Fears of Inadequacy.
Walls of Just Plain FEAR.

To get your task/goal accomplished you have to Upscale The Walls that surround you.  It may not happen all at once. The easiest way to get over the wall is one handhold or foothold at a time. You just keep climbing, grabbing hold and you will get over the walls before you know it. There is no other way. Dory from the the movie, Finding Nemo, had the ultimate Wall Upscaling Strategy (WUS) with  her mantra, “Just Keep Swimming. Just Keep Swimming, Swimming!!!”

My mantra to you is Just Keep Climbing, Smiling and Play It By Ear!!!


Scaling The Walls!!!

What do you mean I have to learn scales? Can’t I just play like you play? Huh?

Simple Answer?


You have to scale the walls. Playing by ear is a lifetime endeavor. You will always be learning as a musician and as a person. So one of the things that help you learn to play by ear is knowledge of the different musical scales that currently exist. In most modern popular music, there are two main scales that everyone should learn [Drumroll]

They are Major Scales and Minor Scales. They are the foundation of all the modern popular music. So it behooves you to learn them. Why?

It helps you to Play It By Ear.

So until next time keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars


It’s All In the Bass – The Foundation

So I’ve been asked, “How do you play by ear?” I’ve thought about this for several years and I’ve decided I’m finally going to answer this question, once and for all. The answer is really, really simple. [Drumroll]

I practice!

What? That’s it? Yes. That’s it! There’s no easy way to get to playing the piano, or guitar, or saxaphone or what ever it is you’re doing unless you practice. Now there are some people who are able to get it right away. But they may not be able to tell you what they are doing or how to reproduce what they’re playing.

Now the title of this blog post gives away one of the tools that I use when I’m trying to learn a song by ear. I listen to the Bass Line. Yes, I listen to the bass line of the song. The bass line is what is used to form the chord structure of the song. It is THE FOUNDATION of the harmony and the underlying structure of the song.

Well so there you have it. The secret is out. Now all you have to do is Play It By Ear!

Till Next Time