I started with the IFR For Video Course a couple of years ago in my early 50’s but didn’t continue. I had zero musical background and it was all overwhelming. I was just beginning to learn guitar and the feeling of having to “achieve the ability to play something soon” drove me on to learning to play some songs with basic chords. Now that I have a little experience with half a dozen basic chords using fingerstyle, and intellectually understand some basic music theory such as the major scale and chord construction, I wanted to explore learning to play by ear again.
But this time, I’m starting with the Chord Melody Guitar 1. It seems closer to my current goals of figuring out how to play songs in chord-melody style by ear. The idea of improvising / dynamic composing still feels overwhelming. My grand plan is to first develop the ability to play any melody I can hum and then eventually add the base note somehow for the chord.
Chord Melody Guitar 1 starts off with using only a 4-fret region for a G major scale. Although I’m still at the very beginning of the course, it seems a lot less overwhelming to me than the unlimited fretboard available with IFR.
As my first step, I’m able to (via some trial-and-error) figure out how to play a few melodies I can hum. These are simple melodies (e.g. twinkle twinkle little star). With some repeated practice, I’m able to play the melody on the higher octave or the lower octave. I also started Sing the Numbers 1 for about a week now.
Is there a more optimal way to develop the ability to play known melodies by ear within the IFR framework (not improvise)? Maybe the question itself is weird since IFR is about improvising, but I’m trying to achieve the “side effect” of playing any melody I can imagine first rather than worry about improvising.
As I get better at a particular melody, I’m not really sure any longer if I’m really playing by ear or if I’m playing from muscle memory? Any ideas on how to tell? Obviously I want this exercise to help develop my ear, not inadvertently memorize tunes.
Thanks much for these wonderful courses.