Every since I was 6 years old, I had longed to play the piano, especially since my grandparents were both quite the piano players, and every time either of them played; I was mesmerized by the beauty and power of the music that it created. I started learning piano at the age of 12, however, due to my laziness, and I guess also my lack of practice, I left learning it after a few months, that too after not picking up a lot of it.
However, a few years later, when I was in my 20s, I felt this sudden urge to learn the piano, and emptiness at not having accomplished it later. This time, I did not go in for learning it from a teacher, and decided to do this by myself. I began by learning a familiar hymn, playing it over and over again, in fact, over a thousand times, till I could play it as close to perfection as possible. After that, I played it everywhere I could- including the regular church meets. This was still an accomplishment for me- I had at least one song that I could play.
After that, I began my quest at learning to read sheet music. I used a simple technique to do this- I took every music that I could get my hands on, played it once, and then moved on to something else. My goal here was to be able to identify notes and simultaneously, master a few more hymns. I eventually learned over three hymns, and rotated between them at the regular meets.
With time and patience, I began to be able to read music fluently, and soon began to lose my grasp on playing the hymns that I had so fondly memorized. It was then that I realized that in order to play the piano ‘by the ear’, I would have to just practice it, and nothing else was required. This is when I started doing what may seem completely random to many- I started playing whatever I heard. It started from the jingles in various TV commercials, and as I got good at them, moved on to including some accompaniments of my own in them. My skills improved as I started to learn playing by ear, and started placing my fingers with the ‘feel of the music’ without giving too much thought to it.
It has been over six years since I started trying to play the piano- and though I can play almost any song I hear now, I still like to think that I am ‘learning to play the piano’.