Making Music Learning a Picnic, with Ruth Power

New musicality video:

What if learning to play music by ear could be easy?

We are super excited to be joined on the show today by Ruth Power, the creator of Piano Picnic – a method for learning to play piano by ear that remarkably manages to teach it in lessons so short and simple they almost guarantee a student will succeed.

We admire and agree with Ruth’s perspective and approach to teaching play-by-ear skills so much that when time came to look for a new Resident Pro for piano at Musical U, Ruth was the first person who sprang to mind. We talk a bit towards the end of the conversation about her work here and how she’s helping our members apply their core training directly on keyboard in fun and creative ways.

This conversation was great fun and there are lots of good piano-specific nuggets in here for anyone who’s a pianist or wants to become one – but as always, most of the discussion is equally relevant and interesting whatever instrument you play.

We talk about:

– Ruth’s own journey of learning to play by ear and the distinct phases she went through to develop a fully-fledged ability on keyboard

– The particular challenges of playing by ear on piano compared with other instruments

– The terrible piece of advice she was given early on about how to learn to play by ear – and her top tip for actually succeeding with it.

That’s just the start – we also talk about humming, about basslines, about why and how modern instrument learning can look different to the traditional methods, active listening, and a lot more. You’re going to get a ton out of this one!

Listen to the episode:

Links and Resources

Piano Picnic –

Songs by Ear course –

Ear Bootcamp –

Super Basics course –

If you enjoy the show please rate and review it!

Join Musical U with the Special offer for podcast listeners

Let us know what you think! Email:


Learn more about Musical U!



Tone Deaf Test:

Musicality Checklist:



Subscribe for more videos from Musical U!

Making Music Learning a Picnic, with Ruth Power