The ToneWay® Project: helping people play music


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The Five Commandments

We have based our method on what we call ‘The Five Commandments of Playing by Ear’. Here is an overview of the commandments…

The best way to learn what the Five Commandments are is to watch Lesson One in the Get Started Workshop Series.
This written overview of the Five Commandments was written before the video was made.

The Five Commandments of Playing By Ear

I: Feel the Melody

The best way to feel a melody is to sing it, so the first step in learning your first song is to sing it. We'll show you how most songs only use a few tones in the musical scale, and how those same tones are used in song after song.

Playing by ear means that everything is internal. There's no need to be able to read sheet music.

II: Keep the Beat

This music is rooted in a driving rhythm. So, feel the beat, keep the beat, become the beat. If you've got the beat, you've got music—period.

III: Use the Pattern

Music is simpler than you can think. That's why it's better to let your fingers do the thinking for you.

At first, you will play simple song melodies using our Picking Patterns (think, maps for your instrument) and special ToneWay Notation. The trick is, once you have learned the Pattern (which your fingers will do automatically) you can play other songs with the same Pattern.

It's like learning a simple dance step. First you follow a pattern. Then, when your feet know where to step, you can forget about them and dance your heart out.

It gets better. You'll only have to learn a couple of Patterns, and then by either moving that Pattern or using a capo, you can play in any key. All by ear!

IV: Stumble as a Child

Playing by ear is based on observation, trial, and error. This is how very young children learn to walk and talk. The ToneWay Music Method incorporates this approach to give you the simplest and easiest way to learn to play music. Simply playing around and making mistakes guides you into the ‘groove’. As you intuitively sense the ‘relative tone’ nature of music, your innate talent blossoms naturally.

V: Play with Others

It is the social experience and mix of 'talents' that bring it to life. This music is fun when it is played with people. If it is fun, you will want to learn to do it, and then likely continue until your last breath. Oh, and playing with others helps you realize your mistakes, which makes you play better, which helps you enjoy it more. That is one happy vicious circle!