having a lot of trouble playing melodies by ear. no matter how simple(happy birthday, or whatever). i beleive i have trouble remembering pitches. for instance when i listen to a song i sing along very much in tune and i also match pitch very well. but when i'm asked to sing to a backing track(karaoke) and there is no other instrument to carry the melody i'm way off key.my voice coach was very frustrated and didn't really know what to do about it.same thing happens when i try to play a melody on piano. i can sing notes and find the notes on the piano. but i always seem to sing to high one time or too low another. i have a hard time finding starting pitches of a musical phrase whether i'm singing to accompany or trying to figure it out by ear. i've had a lot of music theory training and can sight read pretty good. playing by ear has always been the missing piece too my musical puzzle. i usually like gospel, r@b and pop , soul, smooth jazz and neo-soul. all of these genres require me to play by ear. must learn this been searching the internet for answers for years.
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sounds like you might want to look into some serious ear training.  the first step is to be able to sing intervals.  so, play a c on the piano and sing a 6th above, the a.  if you can't, then keep on trying with different starting notes.  always try for that 6th. when you've got that down, then try for a different interval.  

go slow.  spend hours on one interval until you can do it without thinking.  maybe spend an entire month on one interval, whatever it takes.

that's how i got my ears to work, intervals.
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