CPTP107: How to Simplify and Teach a Pop Song by Ear

teach pop song by ear

teach pop song by ear

When it comes to teaching pop, sometimes the best approach is to learn it aurally. Working out a pop song by ear gives you more opportunities to teach your students theory, and creates a much more musical experience.

In this episode I take you through step-by-step how you can teach your students a pop song by ear. I take the song Mockingbird by Eminem and break it apart just like I would with a student in a lesson.

You don’t need to write off rap or hip hop songs like this – sometimes they can make great teaching material. Take a listen if you’re curious about this different approach to teaching pop.


If you’d like to download a PDF transcript of this episode, please click below.

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If you want to try teaching pop by ear but you’re finding it hard getting started, you need this cheat sheet.

In this episode, you’ll learn

  • How to get a student started with a new pop song
  • The most important questions to ask when teaching pop
  • How to use pop as a valuable aural exercise
  • Why you need to get your students singing when playing by ear
  • What this can teach your students about key signatures
  • How to combine the chords, bass line and melody to create an arrangement
  • Why I don’t teach pop songs unless a student brings it to me

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Do you ever teach music completely by ear?

Have you been nervous to try this kind of teaching? What’s holding you back from teaching your students to play by ear?

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