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#1073067 - 11/12/08 10:28 PM On your way to succeeding with the masters book.....  
Joined: May 2008
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KaylaX Offline
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N. Cali
I was just curious to know if anyone out there has had any experience with this book?

On your way to succeeding with the masters, by Helen Marlais

She has also done another series called "Succeeding with the masters".

I would like to purchase it, it sounds interesting. Im hoping it will be near my level. Im looking for something that has a good sampling of classical music from different era's. Due to where I live I will be purchasing it sight unseen. So im hoping that someone out there might have an opinion about it.

Currently I am working out of Faber & Fabers adult all in one book 1, Alfreds greatest hits level 1, and Fabers Christmas for all time level 1.

Anyway, thank you for your help, AspenX


Its been 7 years since ive played. But im back, and I have a teacher and im excited !!! and finally...a Baby Grand !!! Cheap & used, but I LOVE its sound smile
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#1073068 - 11/12/08 10:53 PM Re: On your way to succeeding with the masters book.....  
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DragonPianoPlayer Offline
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Hi Aspenxtreme.

I just picked up the Succeeding with the Masters books and I think that series is worth getting, even if you have other books with classical music at this level. I have not seen On Your Way to Succeding with the Masters to compare these to, unfortunately.

The main thing I like about Succeeding, is that every piece comes with one or two pages of practice strategies.

Things that I think other series do as well or better: Other series are very good at providing more variety. Succeeding with the Masters has only 3 or 4 composers in each book - only the "Masters." For example, Bach, Handel, and Scarlatti are in the Baroque books.

Keith Snell's series is very tightly leveled - almost all the pieces at each level are of very similar difficulty. His series includes many longer pieces, I'm currently working on a Clementi Sonatina from Keith Snell. You would probably be able to start in Keith Snell Book 1 (or the preperatory book) right now. I have found mistakes in Keith Snell's books, though.

Alfred's Essential Keyboard Repertoire provides a very long list of pieces in each book, but it seems hard to follow how the books are intended to be ordered after the first two or three. The first book in this series also starts at a higher level than Keith Snell's.

Faber & Faber has the Developing Artist Series. Again, the preperatory book would probably be appropriate for you right now in this series as well.

Of the above, Keith Snell's Piano Repertoire provides the most books (3 per level and 11 levels) and most music and will take you the farthest. That's the one I happen to be using. He also has come out with an Essentials book that picks the best of at each level and includes the CD so you don't have to purchase that separately. I think I'd miss some of the 20th century pieces that are not in his essentials.

There are plenty of other series to look at. It's too bad you don't have a way to check them out. Some of the websites post sample pages that may give you ideas, so keep looking for that.

Rich


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#1073069 - 11/12/08 11:01 PM Re: On your way to succeeding with the masters book.....  
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KaylaX Offline
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N. Cali
Hi Dragonpianoplayer,

Hey thanks for the rundown. Im terrible when it comes to collecting music. And from reading some others posts it sounds like im not the only one. I will buy a book, do a few pages, and then get bored. But, I always go back later on. My teacher has me working out of Fabers all in one, so I guess I have to continue in that one. But other than that she is really excited that I want to learn about each musical era. She has abook in mind for me but could not remember the title so Im doing a little research on my own to help. Im going to look into Keith's books now that you mentioned it. Thank you.

AspenX cool

BTW, "On your way to succeeding with the masters" is the book that comes before "succeeding with the masters", I believe. Its for newbies like me. Newbies that are crusing along at a snails pace. But lov'n it all the way laugh .


Its been 7 years since ive played. But im back, and I have a teacher and im excited !!! and finally...a Baby Grand !!! Cheap & used, but I LOVE its sound smile
#1073070 - 11/12/08 11:15 PM Re: On your way to succeeding with the masters book.....  
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DragonPianoPlayer Offline
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DragonPianoPlayer  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2006
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Denver, CO
www.kjos.com has a lot of info about the Keith Snell Piano Repertoire series, including a teachers guide book in PDF form.

Here is the link for that guide:
http://www.kjos.com/pdf/brochures/snell_reper_index.pdf
It gives all the pieces in each level. This is the series that has three books at each level - Etudes, Baroque & Classical, and Romantic & 20th Century.

Rich


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#1073071 - 11/12/08 11:25 PM Re: On your way to succeeding with the masters book.....  
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KaylaX Offline
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N. Cali


Its been 7 years since ive played. But im back, and I have a teacher and im excited !!! and finally...a Baby Grand !!! Cheap & used, but I LOVE its sound smile
#1073072 - 11/13/08 02:15 PM Re: On your way to succeeding with the masters book.....  
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Gyro Offline
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What I think might be even better is to
get a popular music anthology instead.
The problem with classical anthologies,
as I see it, is that many of the pieces
will not interest you, and so most of
the book goes to waste, so to speak.
But suppose that you really like Elvis,
for example. If you got an anthology
of his songs, everything in it will be
interesting, and so nothing goes to waste.
And you play the piano renditions just
like classical pieces, and they won't
be that easy, and so you get more or less the
same benefit as you would get from a classical
anthology. And it's much more fun
besides, and when something's fun you
learn more that way. That's much better
than forcing yourself to play
classical pieces that have
no interest for you.

#1073073 - 11/13/08 06:27 PM Re: On your way to succeeding with the masters book.....  
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Ragtime Clown Offline
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Ireland
I'm excited about receiving this book, it may arrive in the morning. I'm intrigued by Gyro's comment 'That's much better than forcing yourself to play classical pieces that have
no interest for you.' - I was led to believe that these classical pieces would lead to better technique and improve reading ability?

I'm a real fan of The Carpenters but I just can't make any headway in playing their pieces - is there any easy way of doing this?

#1073074 - 11/13/08 06:43 PM Re: On your way to succeeding with the masters book.....  
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Gary001 Offline
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Quote
I'm intrigued by Gyro's comment 'That's much better than forcing yourself to play classical pieces that have
no interest for you.'
That assumes there are pieces you won't like. The same can be said about most of the books that are collections of pieces, even if you're an Elvis fan and bought a piano collection of Elvis songs, there could still be several you don't like listening to or playing.

I don't have the exact book mentioned in this thread, but do have a selection of the "Succeeding with the Masters" volumes. I found that the few pieces I didn't initially like, grew on me the more I listened to them. Quite looking forward to getting to grips with several of the Baroque Vol 1 pieces now.

I bought these books because they had a clear difficulty progression. With volumes covering everything from Late elementary, through intermediate and advanced. Plus, the "easier" pieces are not watered down arrangements, which is a really big plus imo.

I'm not a great fan of classical music from a listening perspective, in fact I never used to listen to it. However I currently enjoy playing classical pieces more than I do modern ones. Not sure why that is.


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#1073075 - 11/13/08 07:05 PM Re: On your way to succeeding with the masters book.....  
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Ragtime Clown Offline
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Gary,

I bought "Succeeding with the Masters" volume 1 after listening to you play 'Theme in F Major', it was a beautiful piece.

I am curious to hear of opinions from members here on books that come with a CD featuring the pieces. I think it is nice to get playing the pieces quickly within having to figure out the rhythm yourself. However, my teacher said to listen to the CD AFTER you've figured it out yourself.

I tend to spend a lot of time working out the rhythm and this takes up days of my practice time, when I could be playing from day 1 using the CD. I know its a cheat but how do you all feel about it.

#1073076 - 11/13/08 09:50 PM Re: On your way to succeeding with the masters book.....  
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pianoluvr Offline
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Thanks for the anthologies! I've been looking for some good suggestions!

Also, I completely disagree with Gyro's comment. He implies that people probably are not interested in classical music. Such a proposition is simply not true. Furthermore, those anthologies ARE really helpful because they provide a very progressive series of pieces. That was very helpful for me when I began to play.


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#1073077 - 11/14/08 01:46 AM Re: On your way to succeeding with the masters book.....  
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Serge88 Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Ragtime Clown:
Gary,

I bought "Succeeding with the Masters" volume 1 after listening to you play 'Theme in F Major', it was a beautiful piece.

I am curious to hear of opinions from members here on books that come with a CD featuring the pieces. I think it is nice to get playing the pieces quickly within having to figure out the rhythm yourself. However, my teacher said to listen to the CD AFTER you've figured it out yourself.

I tend to spend a lot of time working out the rhythm and this takes up days of my practice time, when I could be playing from day 1 using the CD. I know its a cheat but how do you all feel about it.
Gary, my first teacher told me the opposite, when I had a new piece she used to play it for me and asked me to listen to cd.

Serge



“Being able to hear recorded music freed up loads of musicians that couldn't necessarily afford to learn to read or write music. With recording, it was emancipation for the people.”
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#1073078 - 11/14/08 02:36 AM Re: On your way to succeeding with the masters book.....  
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Ragtime Clown Offline
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Serge88, it was me and not Gary you are quoting!
I cannot see any real problem in listening to the CD other than it short-cuts the true meaning of sight-reading a new piece.

Like you, my teacher demonstrates a new piece and normally my ear, which is very sharp, can recall the melody which kickstarts the playing for me. I see no difference in his demonstration and listening to the CD.

#1073079 - 11/14/08 07:26 AM Re: On your way to succeeding with the masters book.....  
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Gary001 Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Ragtime Clown:
I tend to spend a lot of time working out the rhythm and this takes up days of my practice time, when I could be playing from day 1 using the CD. I know its a cheat but how do you all feel about it.
I usually try to play from the sheets first then listen to the CD straight after the first few attempts. This is to ensure I've not misread the notation.

I also believe there must be some benefit in listening to a decent performance of the piece whilst reading the score. For example, knowing to play notes legato or staccato is one thing, having the experience to know how much staccato is another, or how much of a change there should be in the dynamics. All of which the CD can really help with. There's also the chance that after hearing part of the score played, you'll remember that style of notation and recognise it (or variations on it) in future scores, which in a way is then improving your ability to read scores.

If you were planning to play music professionally, perhaps been handed a new film score from a composer to perform where there may be no prior recording to listen to. Then relying on listening in addition to the score might be a disadvantage (I'm guessing here). However, most pieces I would like to learn come about after listening to someone else play the piece, or hearing it on the radio or a TV.

If you're wanting to improve your sight-reading skills, then I could certainly see an argument for playing from the score first, then listening to the CD for a piece. Other than that though, I prefer to play the piece through a few times then listen to the CD and finally concentrate on learning the score.

I guess this may be one of those areas where you could argue either way. Those of you who have teachers, I'd be interested in knowing their thoughts on listening first or score first and why.


[Linked Image] XIX, XIV, XII, XI
#1073080 - 11/14/08 11:44 AM Re: On your way to succeeding with the masters book.....  
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My copy of "Succeeding with the Masters" arrived today and I just glimpsed through it. It is a nice little package at a reasonable price. I haven't opened the CD yet and don't intend opening it until I see my teacher on Wednesday night about it. I do recall he told me before that its ok to listen after you have tried reading!

Although my reading improves weekly, he introduced semi-quavers on my last lesson and much faster pieces and this completely threw me.

#1073081 - 11/17/08 08:40 AM Re: On your way to succeeding with the masters book.....  
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Gary, started on Theme in F Major and although I can play hands seperate without any problems I never came across a piece so difficult to play hands together - how long did it take you to get it together?

#1073082 - 11/17/08 11:21 AM Re: On your way to succeeding with the masters book.....  
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I'm not sure of the exact time. I practised it over a period of about 1 or 2 months in between my normal work on scales, old pieces and working through the faber book. If I had to put a figure on it, probably 10-15 hours or so spread out over the two months.

I practised hands together from the beginning though with the odd hands separate for a few tricky measures. I find it easier to do it that way than trying HS first.

I do remember finding the piece very difficult when I started though. I think it's the independence of the two hands that makes it more difficult than most of the pieces I'd played up to that point. Stick with it though, you'll suddenly hit a point where it clicks smile


[Linked Image] XIX, XIV, XII, XI
#1073083 - 11/17/08 11:51 AM Re: On your way to succeeding with the masters book.....  
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Gary, you are right. I'm playing more difficult pieces fluently at the moment. I started with this one Thursday past and I still don't get it. I normally would be playing similar pieces in less than a week but this one means trouble!

#1073084 - 12/27/08 08:32 AM Re: On your way to succeeding with the masters book.....  
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Thought I'd report that over the past few days I was able to get 'Theme in F Majoran' well and truly cracked. I can now play it from start to finish with only minor stumbles but look at the time it took. Daily breakdown and practice from 17th November, almost every day for at least 15-20minutes.

Now when I get it mastered it will be a nice little part of my repetoire.


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