Intro to playing by ear
Playing by ear is not a god-given gift. It is something that you can learn, given enough time and practice. It's also one of the most freeing skills you can learn on the violin, because it gives you the ability to learn whatever you want, without worrying about finding sheet music.
There are a few tips to playing by ear:
1. You must have a solid understanding of your instrument. You must know what sounds your instruments makes, and how to replicate sounds on your instrument. To do this, you need to train your ear. I have a three step ear training series available for you so you can start to do this.
2. Start looking at other musicians, especially other fiddlers or violinists. Start out by using visual clues, such as where their fingers are on the strings, or where their bow is, to help you learn to play by ear. Although using visual cues isn't truly playing by ear, it's very quick, efficient, and helps you learn a lot. I really recommend it. Plus, it's easier to learn from another fiddle or violin because the sounds are the same, making matching your notes to the notes that you hear much easier.
3. Once you've become more comfortable with learning by ear from other fiddlers and violinists, then it's time to go to the next level, and start learning by ear from other instruments. I find instruments like clarinet and saxophone are good to start with, because their sound is somewhat similar to the violin. Instruments like banjo are much harder, because they sound so different.
There are many exercises and techniques which you can use to help you along this process. The next videos will describe those processes.