Is this even possible? I have been playing an instrument on and off for about fifteen years, but still find it very difficult to listen to a piece of music and play the same notes without any other reference. If the tune is slow enough and I have heard it many times it will eventually get to the point where I have the tune in my head and can mess around with the instrument and manage to play the tune (eventually) - some are easier than others. Anyway, I have never learned music by grades or anything like that. Is this an actual discipline that has to be learned to get your graded qualifications? I have seen teenagers playing stuff by ear quite impressively on Youtube and they don't seem to have perfect pitch. Even if they get a few notes wrong it is still impressive to me. I also came across a music teacher a few years back who was able to discern the pitch of certain notes I was playing even when they were played quite fast and in an unusual rhythm. There must be many benefits to this as a musician, and more so if you want to learn to improvise.