How to Play Music by Ear - From the Basics to Fluency - Part 1 - Rhythm | Michael Emenau | Skillshare

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How to Play Music by Ear - From the Basics to Fluency - Part 1 - Rhythm

teacher avatar Michael Emenau, Music Maker!

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

16 Lessons (50m)
    • 1. Rhythm Lesson 1 Walk and Count

    • 2. Rhythm Lesson 2 Keeping walking "and"

    • 3. Rhythm Lesson 3 walking with a little backbeat

    • 4. Rhythm Lesson 4 add the right hand

    • 5. Rhythm lesson 5 Drum Set

    • 6. Rhythm Lesson 6 Finding the Beats

    • 7. Rhythm Lesson 7 Thriller

    • 8. Rhythm Lesson 8 Using Chords to find the beat

    • 9. Rhythm Lesson 9 fingersnap edition

    • 10. Rhythm Lesson 10 syncopated vocals

    • 11. Rhythm Lesson 11 Mozarts Groove

    • 12. Rhythm Lesson 12 Walk, Count and Tap with the music

    • 13. Rhythm Lesson 13 A Thrilling Walk

    • 14. Rhythm Lesson 14 Pulse vrs

    • 15. Rhythm Lesson 15 Different Time Signatures

    • 16. Rhythm Lesson 16 Shake it UP!

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About This Class

In this course I will be taking you through a series of movements, counting exercises, and real life examples to teach you how to connect your body to the rhythms around you. You will learn how to listen to different songs and learn where the beats are, when and where to clap in a song and most of all how to gain confidence in your musical ability while having fun.

What will students learn in your course:

  • Discover the underlying building blocks of music
  • Internalize your sense of rhythm
  • How to find the beats in a song
  • How to count and clap on the right beats
  • Simple drum and percussion lessons for anyone
  • Learn about different time signatures

This course is part of a 4 part series teaching you how to play music by ear. In this course I will be speaking specifically about rhythm, getting your body and mind in synch with rhythm and how to play a couple rhythm instruments.  Parts 2 and 3 will focus on Melody and Harmony.  These courses can be taken without the rhythm component, but of course the more you know the easier it all becomes. In Part 4 - Song Discovery, we will be using all we have learned in the previous 3 courses (rhythm, melody, harmony) and putting it together to learn songs by ear.

I have included a video which talks about a group of 4 classes which will be available on Skill Share.

click here to watch description of course(s)

Meet Your Teacher

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Michael Emenau

Music Maker!


Hello, I'm Michael Emenau, musician, composer, app developer and overall lover of music. I created these courses based upon my experineces teaching my kids and others about how to play music from a very simple, fun base.  Everyone can play music, we just need the tools.

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1. Rhythm Lesson 1 Walk and Count: Okay, here we go. Lesson number one. We're going to start learning about pulse, which is also known as the beat. And as you see, there's no instruments here because we're going to be using a body to establish the pulse. So it's gonna be quite simple We're going to do is walk on your block down street down the sidewalk, walk around your host walking circle. You consented? Placing walk. It doesn't really matter. What is important is that we're establishing the pulse that is in your body. Just a brief note. If for whatever reason you can't walk, you could replace your hands with your feet for any of these exercises. Right foot. Right hand foot. Okay, So what we're gonna do is start walking. And as you walk, each time of foot goes down, I want you to make him sound with your top or pop or something like that. The reason being were want to establish a connection between the sound you're making with the pulsing you're creating. Okay, here we go. Okay. What I'm gonna say Here we go. Keep doing that. You really feel the connection, The voice and your feet. Okay, So you walked around the room. We're going to do it again. But this time, instead of saying top or pop, we're going toe assign numbers to your steps. We'll be counting in a circle of 41234 Your right foot is going to be on one and three. Your left foot is gonna be on two and four. Now, the other thing we're gonna do is we're going to change the speed that we're walking. So we're going to start at a regular walking pace. Then we're gonna go a little slower, and then we'll go a little faster. But in each of the speech you're going, remember, the pulse stays the same. Meaning you are gonna walk in a constant rhythm, whether it's fast or slow. Okay, here we go. Okay. What? 1234 And then I'm gonna go different speeds. Right foot is being one one. Oh, to one three for lots of fun happening right now. Uh, amazing. Remember, is I'm not walking with the gate. Polls is always the same. No matter what. This speed, by the way, Music. It's called 10. Okay, Next lesson. 2. Rhythm Lesson 2 Keeping walking "and": lesson number two. We've locked. We've kind of before. The next thing we're going to do with, just add one word. The word ist an between each number 1234 We're going to say the 123 and four. So going to come in the same speed, for example, Like a 123412 and three and four and one and two, and 34 As you hear, the polls is still the same. 1234123 and four. Okay, we're gonna walk again. The same thing. We're just gonna add the You can do this. Okay, So ready In 12 and three and 4123 for you to do in the same thing. 1234 You can go slower. Course. Go fast. When you're walking down the street, you can practice. You don't do it. Don't. So far, it may not seem that musical at this point, but when all the elements get put together, you see that something pretty cool is happening. Okay. On word, Lesson three 3. Rhythm Lesson 3 walking with a little backbeat: Well, the lesson. Number three, we're gonna continue on with what we've been doing. Counting on walking and keeping the pulse moving at different tempos. The only difference is this time on beats two beats. Four, we're gonna be tapping with our left hands. One, 31 three while fever going Okay, Demonstrated. Now beach to and for everything else is the same. 12341 You can be slower. Okay, okay. Listen to, uh, challenging, adding the left hand beats two beats four. And this time to tell you that I'm teaching you how to play the drums, and you're almost there already. And the party just added with your left hand on B two b four was a snare drum, which, in a drum pattern, is the sort of bright sound that you hear on the off peace. And it could be a snare drum sound cat, cat or and, uh, what's good about when you hear the sound of your own with people and people start clapping alone? Song. That's the place that generally people clap. So if you're not sure where to listen to the music tryto find that great sound that happened. Your golden. Okay, I'm time to sugar. Example. One and two and three and four. 123 We're now going to listen to a song. I'm gonna show you where these beats are. Are you need to do is listen, I'm gonna count along and you will hear Snare drum Last. Okay, listen. 1234123 for one one one wants to be born in 1231 So when you're listening to Islamic this you want and counting down and no, where the beats are going to lie in lesson number five, we're going to be going through a number of songs, and I'm gonna get very specific. And how to find where Beach 1234 are different songs in different styles of music. For now, the big thing I want just to be able to hear where that snare drum was hitting in that song . And as you listen to hundreds of thousands of songs you're gonna find this same pattern is just used over and over and over again. Okay, See you soon. 4. Rhythm Lesson 4 add the right hand: lesson number four, This is going to be the end of your drum set lessons. And there's one more thing to add. We're gonna take this very slowly and you put it all together. So what we've done so far is a big one of being three right foot to be four. Blast would be to before left hand. We're counting 1234 Going to do this sitting down for now, So that's just a little simpler. So I'm gonna start with just my feet and etcetera. Make sure if you're comfortable at that speed. If not, it could be slower. If you feel more comfortable, faster. That's also with your right hand. You were going to be tapping on everything you say One and 234 on four. All together, it looks like this. Now that is confusing you. You can, for example, take up the left hand for a moment. Or you could just try the hand experiment with different ways until you put all these four parts together. And like I say, that speed, the tempo does not matter at this point. What matters is that different parts of your body are working in sync with the pulse. Okay, I'm gonna go fast now. Or smoke. Good luck. Okay. Now go into the exact same Britain that I was doing sitting on a chair. 1234 Okay, try it. You don't have to kind of allow you could do this hidden in your bedrooms, and nobody can see you. 5. Rhythm lesson 5 Drum Set: Okay, in this lesson, I'm going to show you how to integrate what we've been doing with her hands and her feet and showing how this could relate to playing a real instrument. So we've been counting one and three and our right foot to inform our left foot our left hands being in two and four. And we've been counting one in two and three in foreign for right hand. Now I'm gonna show you how this works on a drum set. Okay, here we go. Okay. We're going to start with feet. The right foot is on the base, Trump. And that's the low note. And we're trying to find beat one. We listen for bass notes, bases. It sounds like this. So if I'm counting to for two for the left foot is the high hat and that's on the two and four. Like the finger snap or the clap. One three for one three. Okay. Continuing on the snare drum is played with the left hand, just like when you were clapping or snapping. Now we're gonna play the snare drum. 1313 The right hand which was one and two and three and Ford is going to play on the ride Cymbal one and two and three and four and I'm gonna put him altogether one part of the time . 123412 And that is how a drum set works. You didn't realize that you could already play drum set. All you needed to do was sit down in a drum set 123 Theo. 6. Rhythm Lesson 6 Finding the Beats: Where are the beets? Okay, this is this is gonna be a big lesson. This is really the most I find challenging part. How to explain where the beach are in a song where B 1234 life The reason being there is no set rule to exactly say in every song. This is what happens. So I'm going to give you a bunch of guidelines, and over time it's going to help you figure out Oh, I hear that. Okay, that's B one B 234 etcetera. So number one with most music, you're gonna find there is a pulse and that polls is the same as what you've been walking on. 234 etcetera. And the question is, where are the other numbers? Now we've explained to and four usually where the snare drum for the hand clapping sit. So you that'll help you begin to divide things up. The other beats are going to be one in three. How are generally in popular music? There's gonna be a bass drum and bass playing and be one. It's a low sound, boom boom and the baseball ball etcetera. So that is one way and I think the most of the best way to find where one is listening to the base and see if it's indicating a solid ground, you know, on beat one. Okay, here's an audio example of a baseline to help you here, where the beach lie on the basis playing in more than just beat one. But when you hear the bomb bomb bomb break, you have a very solid indication that this is probably where we beat one is so bone bone, ball break, but bone, bone, bone, photo bone, bone, bone, the bomb phone, phone, but own another main thing that happened on the beak. One is where you have your chord changes on. So listen to what the guitars doing work the piano swing. When you hear a change in harmony that often indicates a big one as well. Again, none of these were set rules. I'm going to give you an example of chords changing. The court is going to change in every beat. One I'm going to give to measures of pulse and then I'll start playing. 1234! 1234 The worst way to find where the beat is is by listening to the vocals, the reason being that the vocals generally have a have a floating over the pulse of the song and the rhythm of the song. So if you're trying to find where being one is through the vocals, that's going to be quite challenging. So again we're gonna go through the same songs and listen. Two different examples of how to find the beets. Okay, here we go. 7. Rhythm Lesson 7 Thriller: in this song. We're going to listen to the drums and the bass to try to find where the beach lie. Number one is the drum that's going to give us the pulse. We're gonna get to hear the snare quite loud. So we're gonna find to for and this song. I think the base really indicates where one lives. Now, some of you have probably never tried to listen to a baseline and pick it out of a song before. So what I've done is separate the base line from the song, and then I'm going to slowly roll in the groove so you can hear Are they fit together? Then we'll listen to the whole piece. I think so. Let's listen to it. I'm gonna talk while it's playing on down here. Okay? You the way that the polls wait here, some stare. No way. We're that big. Start that big one. Okay. You okay? So that's really that's a fairly straightforward song. You listened to it This with the whole song. And you really sing along the base park, sing along the drum part and count along with it and see how it feels to you. 8. Rhythm Lesson 8 Using Chords to find the beat: okay, this song, we're going to use the piano and the chord changes of the piano to really help us find where beat one is. So, as I'm saying and a lot of songs when the chords change, that is often a B one. Now, just to go back a step Accord is what you hear when the piano plays a bunch of notes together or guitar. Strong's a bunch of note that's called Accord, and a lot of music is made up off court, moving over time. Yeah, so the first thing we're gonna do is just listen to the piano with a song. You're going to hear the pulse because the piano is after playing the polls. And with Gordon change that is going to be your beat ones. Very rolled himself way. Go page way, way, way, way before. What can I please? Each scored four times. Then it goes to the next court age. Now there's drums coming in and, as in most songs, temporary, is playing on two for two four and scores 20 or the Court four four. These boards are being one what Go back to the very beginning. The song just for a second because I want you to hear these chords again. Just listen to the piano and try to really focus on where these court changes are. Paige, don't way page. Don't be. May Teoh on and get the minute you let skin to make time you feel Hey! Okay. Show Well, you know that is a go Hey, don't let remember India so date I don't know That is you know is your show Hey, Jew, don't make it skin to make 9. Rhythm Lesson 9 fingersnap edition: okay. This song was going to be a little different. Thistle old John saw. So what? The first thing I want you to do is find Beat two and four. And the way to do that is to listen to the drums and it's gonna do it. Click on two and four. Kind of like a finger snap. But it is the high hat that is playing that sound. Now the next symbolism to is what the base is doing, because the base is gonna really indicate, uh, where Beach one Beach three are because it's gonna go bone Bo boat Bo Bo that long would That's a big one. So it's like Bo bomb 12341234 Oh, so this is listen to this whole thing. And again, there is really no set rules for how to find this. So enjoy. There's a basic what, one one. So this song like that Not as obvious how to find Beat one, but again, there's little indicators everywhere. The cords also are changing every four bars, but they are changing on a big one. The melody is on a B one when the song actually is a little break where everybody stops at the same time, it's on to be one of these things are all very similar in music, and there are indicators finding that be. 10. Rhythm Lesson 10 syncopated vocals: this next song, I put up more than anything to confound you and to just give an example of how following the melody is really not a helpful way. Often to find one is because in this song, which you've heard 1000 times moved slightly, nothing really happened. Toe beat one The rhythmic groove and the melody are all on the off beat. It's called Syncopation, so I'm going to show you where the beat 1234 r and then you can hear that lies against what the melody is. See how this goes. So what's happening? There is a pulse. Same. We can find that. So you hear the drums, Stones bean me 1 to 2. What happens is nobody's very much of anything. No, I think it's really very rarely playing. Never one, um, anywhere. Great to lean on me when you're somebody. It just 11. Rhythm Lesson 11 Mozarts Groove: Okay, This piece, this is gonna be a little more abstract again. But what I think is very interesting is that in this song, the melody really does fall into groups of four beats. And when you sort of hear the phrasing of the melody that will indicate where B one is. And also you can listen to the violence because they really will be giving the pulse right from the very beginning of the song. So let's listen and see if we can find this. So here's your polls here. That's meaning the new freeze one. So there is court changed its on. Although it's not maybe how you used to hearing, but it's all the exact same elements. I mean, you could want three. Yes, if you wanted within the hand, clapping in a drum beat the same drum pattern that I showed you earlier would fit with Mozart. So keep an open mind 12. Rhythm Lesson 12 Walk, Count and Tap with the music: Okay. I'm gonna give you example just how to walk. Listen to this song you have ever had and be counting at the same time. So we've done this song already, so we don't find me one, so it doesn't do. Finally one counted, then show walking did exercise. 13. Rhythm Lesson 13 A Thrilling Walk: same thing with Thriller. Just again to give you an idea. Sounds we're doing a lot of Michael Jackson. Sorry about that. Good for water to okay . 14. Rhythm Lesson 14 Pulse vrs: Hi. This is going to be a short little video just to clarify some terminology specifically between the words pulse and rhythm, because these words are often used interchangeably. Now here's the difference. The pulse is the underlying motion of a piece of music. Everything answers to the pulse, whether it's rhythm, harmony or melody. This never stops. Now a rhythm. It floats over top off the polls, but with respect to the pulse. So, for example, if my temple it is my pulse, this could be a rhythm, which is the same a supposed. But anything else I do also with, um, not todo with the same place that's another written with samples now changed different holes. That's the same thing on any instrument. For example, I'll play a pulse with my left hand just doing accord that is a rhythm and a pulse. I hope that clears up any questions. 15. Rhythm Lesson 15 Different Time Signatures: Hi. In this video, we're gonna talk about different time signatures. Now, in all these rhythm exercises we've done so far, we've only been counting in groups of four, which is called 4444 Meaning there's four beats in the measure and the pulse is 1/4 note. So each beat gets one pulls one, 2341 234 etcetera. Now there are other time signatures which we're not going to be really dealing with in this course, except right now, just for me to explain them to you for clarity. The two major other time signatures which are used in popular music or 34 in 68 now 34 which is really not used much at all anymore, has three beats in a bar, and each pot beach gets 1/4 note and it feels like this. You sort of have a one strong beat and then to off beeps. Three fours of the other major form is 68 which is two groups of three, all in one bar. So you have six eighth notes all in one bar. But in the in this case, the pulse, his on beats one in Beach four. So you have a sound, which is like this. 123456 68 was used a lot in the sixties and seventies. A lot of Motown hits were used in 68 Um, let me just give you a couple musical examples because that's going to be better than me talking about any anymore. So 34 as I said, is One Star Spangled Banner, except etcetera. Another famous song, My Favorite Things. It Goes on and, uh, just reiterating the 34 sons Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop pop. It's a waltz now. In 68 the flow is different. So imagine if you were playing drums. The pulses would be on beat one on your right foot and before be the snare drum in the left foot, your right hand would be going old. 123456 Do you here? So that's just a brief description off some different rhythmical ideas. You could have any number of beats in a measure that you want. It's not done very common, especially in Western music. Knock your socks off if you want to try your own. A play in five you want to play in seven, you want to play in one. It's up to you. Most of the music that you hear is in 44 Some of it isn't 68 a little bit isn't 34 The theme from Mission Impossible is in five there there's your perhaps your fun fact. 16. Rhythm Lesson 16 Shake it UP!: Hi. This video, I'm going to introduce you to the greatest little instrument in the world. This is something I give all my students. No matter what instrument they play. It's just a fun thing to do. It's entirely optional, but here it is. Theeighties shaker. I've given you a link. The Amazon, I think. Where you combining shaker? They've got him in all of the music stores. A lot of just toy stores have them. And here's how you use it. Basically, you shake it and we're going to use all that we've learned in the counting so far, we're going to incorporate that into the shaker. So imagine that the shaker is like your right hand, one in two and three and four and one and two and three and foreign and to shake a shaker. A lot of people saying abusing their arms is going to kill you shakes like this. Just use your wrist and I'm counting already one and two and three and four and one and two and three and point. So what I do whenever radio is on is there's music playing. I try to shake to it, but what happens is your body hooks up with the music and you again, you're making that connection between your body and music and with accounting, it's gonna help you because since you've already know now how to find where the beach are, the song you can shake with it. So we figure out up 12341 that do and three door and one and 234 Now some Salinger slower. And what we end up doing is doubling our speed of our hands. Or if the pulse is one, 234 and one and two. This is kind of hard to do, actually. So one and two and three fold. We end up doing this. Your body will just kind of know after a while. Now the sorry now, the other thing is, once you feel comfortable, this it's a start putting accent on the shaker. And imagine that the accent an accent means to play louder are going to the same place where the snare drum would be. So 1234123 and four and one and two entries and porn. I want to put the accent on two and 41 and two ingredients. Pour in 1234123 Stomach during a little more of a whip with my wrist on the twos. And 4123 for now, the polls slower. One, 23 and four. Again, it's hard. Three Important, but pull stays the same story. 123412341234 That is basically how you use a shaker. You want to try to get a clean sound as much as you can, But again, it's a boat just connecting your body to the music. Okay, so I'm gonna shake along with a couple songs just to clarify and make sure you know we're talking about Ah, here we go. Your song. Number one. Now what we're gonna do, we're gonna find the beat first and then we'll start shaking. He was the first song. I think you know it got about four billion. Fall likes on modify. So where's the beach? You can hear the surgery on two and 412 123412 and three for one, 12341 And once you feel comfortable this start added reaction from 24123412 one Teoh. So that happy? Here's another popular song. This is a bit slower. So what up? You found the beat. What you end up doing with your right hand is making it go twice as fast. But still, the pulse stays the same. The accent is still on two and four. Here we go. This we can hear the snare drum. The pulse is there. Live from the court. 234123 and four, 2312 For like I fit on the floor. One is harder to keep grooving We're doing It's doubling up right? 3412 Here we go. One one. I'm still acting on two for 123 goals and that is a lesson taking Shaker. Your song. Take it, take it