Exile by Taylor Swift (feat. Bon Iver)
It's about time to get modern with our ear training. Our approach for this song is going to be very professional, we're going to learn it straight from the recording.
Here are pictures of the two hand positions for the opening lines of the song. The blue arrow is Middle C.
and that's all you get for now! No videos. Try to play along with the recording. Use whole notes for the left hand at first, and for a challenge try to play quarter notes. If you forget how the lines go, listen to the recording and try to match one hand at a time. Remember: it's all black keys.
Not only is Taylor Swift an excellent songwriter, she features Wisconsin's own Bon Iver (Justin Vernon). I highly encourage you to check out Bon Iver, Justin is an amazing artist and showcases that talent doesn't have to live in Nashville or Los Angeles, it can come from Eau Claire and be every bit as legitimate. And if you like what you hear, why stop there? Check out all the acts he's associated with and the fantastic array of artists who call Wisconsin home.
Learning songs straight from recordings is a massively important skill for musicians these days. Because it is so easy to record audio and send songs, lots and lots of music is created without ever being written into actual notes, especially in the realm of songwriting. That means learning and communicating by ear is more important than ever.
Often songwriters will write lyrics and add chords to the lyric sheet, but never write notes on a staff for how melodies go. Many don't even know how to write music on a staff. That means most of the melodic content of a song, whether it's in the voice or the accompanying instruments, will be communicated from one musician to another by ear. Today that very often means recording something on a phone or computer and sending it to another musician for them to learn by listening to it.
In my experience as a musician for hire, about 95% of people hiring me for gigs and recording sessions gave me audio recordings and/or chord sheets to learn from. The rest gave me music to play, but only a few of those wanted me to play exactly what was on the page. The music was a starting point, a suggestion, and my own ideas and expertise on my instrument and its role in the song were just as important.