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#1217402 - 06/14/09 10:52 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Waltz]  
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Originally Posted by Waltz
The fourth finger, for me, is one of the weakest and with least agility. I can see why playing with the third would feel much better, especially on a black key; so I can relate to what you mean there.


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#1217485 - 06/15/09 07:13 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Waltz]  
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Originally Posted by Waltz
Many times, I feel like the "hack" in #3, hitting the notes correctly. I think this is directly linked to the sentiment of #2: demanding progression of myself faster than is appropriate and thus not taking the time to stress the dynamics of a piece or play it in the elegant manner for which it is meant. Sometimes I am a hack that simply hits keys in the correct order, and it makes me feel negative about my own playing.


What I have found, with regard to dynamics and feeling, is that it’s one of those things where the better you get at it, the more you realize how much further you can take it. For example, the first line of Canon in D is dead simple, yet playing those bass notes pianissimo and trying to keep the level even throughout can be a real challenge. It’s hard not to hit one or more of the keys with a little more force than the others. I don’t think it’s necessary to work long and hard at bringing out every nuance in every piece in Alfred’s, but as getting the correct notes becomes easier, it’s something that should be considered a another skill that needs practicing.

Undone


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#1217626 - 06/15/09 12:41 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Undone]  
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Originally Posted by Undone
Originally Posted by Waltz
Many times, I feel like the "hack" in #3, hitting the notes correctly. I think this is directly linked to the sentiment of #2: demanding progression of myself faster than is appropriate and thus not taking the time to stress the dynamics of a piece or play it in the elegant manner for which it is meant. Sometimes I am a hack that simply hits keys in the correct order, and it makes me feel negative about my own playing.


What I have found, with regard to dynamics and feeling, is that it’s one of those things where the better you get at it, the more you realize how much further you can take it. For example, the first line of Canon in D is dead simple, yet playing those bass notes pianissimo and trying to keep the level even throughout can be a real challenge. It’s hard not to hit one or more of the keys with a little more force than the others. I don’t think it’s necessary to work long and hard at bringing out every nuance in every piece in Alfred’s, but as getting the correct notes becomes easier, it’s something that should be considered a another skill that needs practicing.

Undone


That is my main issue. The pieces I currently play are right about dead on my ability level, therefore it takes every bit of my effort to simply play the notes correctly with the correct rhythm.


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#1217627 - 06/15/09 12:44 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: nancy_w]  
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Nancy,

I certainly think you made a wise decision skipping "La Bamba". I loathed that piece and never could play it well. It ruined my piano confidence for quite a while. Sounds like you're going to take it easy for the summer, mastering the finals of Book 2 and some of your other pieces, and then preparing to start 3 this fall. I'll probably be starting 3 around that time as well


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#1218493 - 06/17/09 02:46 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Waltz]  
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I tried starting book 2 a while ago, then I went back to book 1 to improve on my playing for each piece, then I got distracted with the recital piece and some other stuff. Now I'm back!

For some reason I like to work on a lot of pieces at once so I'm currently working on Guantanamera and Light and Blue from Alfreds. Im also working on pieces from Alfreds All-Time Favorites book 2. The first two are Dance of the Hours (tune for Hello Mudda, Hello Fadda) and Gypsy Love Song. This book has recommended page numbers (for alfreds book 2) to start working on the songs so I'll add songs from this as I reach those page numbers. All up I think I counted 102 pieces in the two books so I think I'll be at it for a while!

I had also planned to work on pieces from an easy intermediate classical book called Melodious Masterpieces but I think that will be too much at the same time so I'll just finish the first piece that I started, Song Without Words by Fritz Spindler and leave this book until later, it gets hard quickly after the first few easier ones. The Spindler piece is quite easy, easier than some alfreds book 1 pieces and I love the sound of it.

Some things I want to focus on:

1) Get a recording of every piece that I'm happy with before ticking the song off.
2) Pay attention to the musicality of the piece rather than just play the notes.
3) Reduce the amount of looking at the keyboard.

Thats it for now, time to practice!

#1218693 - 06/17/09 01:15 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Wrenn]  
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Welcome back Wrenn. I tend to be opposite of you: I use a single lesson book and rarely look outside of it. I have less fun but it keeps me focused and moving forward.
If you make recordings you're welcome to post them here. I, for one, would like to hear them.


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#1219123 - 06/18/09 10:48 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Key Notes]  
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Originally Posted by Key Notes


As for me, I'm having fun learning Alexander's Ragtime Band. And although I believed that I've already fingured out all of the fingerings for it, I wanted to double-check with you all anyway.


AWTPP: You have a wonderful recording of it. Any recommendations?

Thanks,

Key Notes smile


Hi, Key Notes. I have been out of pocket for a couple of days, putting in long hours at a (potential) customer. Sorry for the delay here.

Is your question still on the table? I do recall some VERY specific things I did on the fingering that made this piece much easier, for me. The recommended fingering for a lot of ARB simply didn't work for me.

Without looking at the music (and my notes thereon), I would say what clicked for me was mercilessly pounding on that phrase in the middle of the piece... the "that's just... the bestest band what am" portion. I did a "Chuan Chang" on that part, which means (based on the recommendations in the "Fundamentals of Piano Practice" book) I played that part, in rapid repetition, over and over and over again, over the course of many evenings. Once that was down, and once my own fingerings became cemented in muscle memory in other places, it came together quickly.

All told, I spent about 3 weeks on it.

If you're interested, I will get the music tonight and tell you what adjustments worked for me.


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Casio Ap-200
Almost midway thru Alfred's All-In-One Book Two
Blogging my family's piano learning experiences: http://aw2pp.blogspot.com/
#1219126 - 06/18/09 10:56 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Waltz]  
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Originally Posted by Waltz
Nancy,

I certainly think you made a wise decision skipping "La Bamba". I loathed that piece and never could play it well. It ruined my piano confidence for quite a while. Sounds like you're going to take it easy for the summer, mastering the finals of Book 2 and some of your other pieces, and then preparing to start 3 this fall. I'll probably be starting 3 around that time as well


Oh, thank goodness. I have Joplin's Theme from Solace down good enough to begin the next piece, which is La Bamba (but not good enough to move on completely from it). My impression of La Bamba is... not positive. Seriously. The idea of spending the time I think it would take to get it presentable (3 weeks at least, knowing me) was a little depressing.

MOVING ON!


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Almost midway thru Alfred's All-In-One Book Two
Blogging my family's piano learning experiences: http://aw2pp.blogspot.com/
#1219293 - 06/18/09 04:32 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Always Wanted to Play Piano]  
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I think that's the real problem with this piece, AWTPP; it's not that it would be impossible, instead, it's more like "who would want to spend three weeks learning "La Bamba"". I think it was silly to make one of the challenge pieces something that, I would guess, many of us have little interest in learning or playing.

I actually have passed both Frankie and Johnnie and Black is the Color of my True Love's Hair. They were both easy and I didn't spend a lot of time on either. F&J would have been more challenging had it not had nearly identical LH as HGTWWIHH. Black... wasn't hard but it was lovely.

I made recordings of each but, since I have not really polished either piece, they both sound "rough". I don't think I'll post them, but maybe I'll rerecord later, who knows.

I'm on When Johnny Comes Marching Home. I'm pleased to be learning this one.


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#1219295 - 06/18/09 04:38 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Waltz]  
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I'm really glad my teacher had a realistic view of these things as well so I was able to skip some that I had no interest in.

I agree too that Frankie and Johnnie was a fun easy one to play - I only had that one on my list for a week.

It'd be great to hear your recordings - even if they aren't polished smile

-Nancy

#1219425 - 06/18/09 11:39 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Always Wanted to Play Piano]  
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Originally Posted by Always Wanted to Play Piano
Originally Posted by Key Notes


As for me, I'm having fun learning Alexander's Ragtime Band. And although I believed that I've already fingured out all of the fingerings for it, I wanted to double-check with you all anyway.


AWTPP: You have a wonderful recording of it. Any recommendations?

Thanks,

Key Notes smile


Hi, Key Notes. I have been out of pocket for a couple of days, putting in long hours at a (potential) customer. Sorry for the delay here.

Is your question still on the table? I do recall some VERY specific things I did on the fingering that made this piece much easier, for me. The recommended fingering for a lot of ARB simply didn't work for me.

Without looking at the music (and my notes thereon), I would say what clicked for me was mercilessly pounding on that phrase in the middle of the piece... the "that's just... the bestest band what am" portion. I did a "Chuan Chang" on that part, which means (based on the recommendations in the "Fundamentals of Piano Practice" book) I played that part, in rapid repetition, over and over and over again, over the course of many evenings. Once that was down, and once my own fingerings became cemented in muscle memory in other places, it came together quickly.

All told, I spent about 3 weeks on it.

If you're interested, I will get the music tonight and tell you what adjustments worked for me.



Hi AWTPP,

No worries whatsoever. Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to reply, as well as for offering to give me your fingering figures but there's no need at this point.

I've already pretty much figured them all out over this past weekend, including the ending part that I've mentioned. I can play them pretty well now, just have to put the two hands together.

Thanks again and good luck with La Bamba (Waltz's favorite piece grin) if you decided to work on it.

Key Notes smile


Last edited by Key Notes; 06/19/09 12:49 AM.

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#1219517 - 06/19/09 07:48 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Key Notes]  
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Well someone needs to stand up for this poor, maligned piece. smile I for one actually enjoyed playing La Bamba. Oh sure, I hated it at first, and yes it took some time to get down, but once I was able to play it, I found it a fun piece play.

Undone


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#1219593 - 06/19/09 10:30 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Cour [Re: Undone]  
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Well, it's not perfect but here is my recording of Space Shuttle Blues.

http://www.box.net/shared/slr6yy1en0


Carol
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#1219598 - 06/19/09 10:46 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Cour [Re: HeirborneGroupie]  
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That sounded really good to me! smile

It was interesting that the audio was only coming out of my left speaker/headphone. Just curious - What did you use to record it?

-Nancy

#1219604 - 06/19/09 10:55 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Cour [Re: nancy_w]  
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Well, I don't know much about recording but I only have one condenser microphone so I know the sound is not stereo. I don't know if that explains why the sound was only coming out of one speaker though.

Thanks for listening.

Last edited by HeirborneGroupie; 06/19/09 12:11 PM.

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#1219677 - 06/19/09 12:37 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Undone]  
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Originally Posted by Undone
Well someone needs to stand up for this poor, maligned piece. smile I for one actually enjoyed playing La Bamba. Oh sure, I hated it at first, and yes it took some time to get down, but once I was able to play it, I found it a fun piece play.

Undone


I remember hearing the recording you posted long ago: it was absolutely spectacular. This is how I first knew of your talent at the piano. Perhaps, if I would have had more skill I would not have abhorred learning it; yet, again, If Alfred's wishes to throw in a "challenge piece" I would hope they would choose something like Hava Nagila or the Etude. It is only an opinion however, and only valid as such.


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#1219678 - 06/19/09 12:38 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Cour [Re: HeirborneGroupie]  
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Originally Posted by HeirborneGroupie
Well, it's not perfect but here is my recording of Space Shuttle Blues.

http://www.box.net/shared/slr6yy1en0

Very well played! I like your swift pace, it really brings out the melody.


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#1219684 - 06/19/09 12:51 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Cour [Re: Waltz]  
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It's a recording day! Here's my Theme from Solace.

http://www.box.net/shared/v1zqczr6vd

I posted a blog entry on this where I say more about it than could possibly interest anyone except my mother. If you're curious...

http://aw2pp.blogspot.com/2009/06/theme-from-solace.html

For the sake of this discussion, I will say it took a great deal of discipline to keep the tempo of these piece to a "Slow Marching Tempo". And to be honest, I was not entirely successful in this regard. Nevertheless, this recording represents a reasonably good effort for me, at this point. If I played it 10 times, it would be this clean, oh, maybe twice.


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Almost midway thru Alfred's All-In-One Book Two
Blogging my family's piano learning experiences: http://aw2pp.blogspot.com/
#1219765 - 06/19/09 04:32 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Cour [Re: Always Wanted to Play Piano]  
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Originally Posted by Always Wanted to Play Piano
It's a recording day! Here's my Theme from Solace.

http://www.box.net/shared/v1zqczr6vd

.


In all honesty, I think you nailed it. Your rhythm and tempo is superb, along with dynamics etc. Great, great job! What are you thoughts regarding La Bamba, going to give it a try or no?


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#1219856 - 06/19/09 09:13 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Cour [Re: Waltz]  
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Originally Posted by Waltz


In all honesty, I think you nailed it. Your rhythm and tempo is superb, along with dynamics etc. Great, great job! What are you thoughts regarding La Bamba, going to give it a try or no?


Thanks, Waltz!

Nah, I am going to skip La Bamba. I tinkered with it for a week, and I sound not much better than I did on the first day. OTOH, La Raspa is easy peasy, which gives me a sense of "Hey, maybe I do know what I am doing."

That and I am also starting a new Einaudi piece, so I already have enough difficulty on my plate.


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Casio Ap-200
Almost midway thru Alfred's All-In-One Book Two
Blogging my family's piano learning experiences: http://aw2pp.blogspot.com/
#1219931 - 06/20/09 01:39 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Cour [Re: Always Wanted to Play Piano]  
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Originally Posted by Undone
Well someone needs to stand up for this poor, maligned piece. smile I for one actually enjoyed playing La Bamba. Oh sure, I hated it at first, and yes it took some time to get down, but once I was able to play it, I found it a fun piece play.

Undone


[Linked Image] A "Spectacular" performance indeed! I love your absolute control over the piece, especially the gradually faded out ending. [Linked Image]


Originally Posted by HeirborneGroupie
Well, it's not perfect but here is my recording of Space Shuttle Blues.

http://www.box.net/shared/slr6yy1en0

I have a hard time with the rhythms of the Blues from the few pieces that I've attempted in Alfred's book 1. Very nice job HeirborneGroupie. [Linked Image]


Originally Posted by Always Wanted to Play Piano
It's a recording day! Here's my Theme from Solace.

http://www.box.net/shared/v1zqczr6vd

I posted a blog entry on this where I say more about it than could possibly interest anyone except my mother. If you're curious...

http://aw2pp.blogspot.com/2009/06/theme-from-solace.html

For the sake of this discussion, I will say it took a great deal of discipline to keep the tempo of these piece to a "Slow Marching Tempo". And to be honest, I was not entirely successful in this regard. Nevertheless, this recording represents a reasonably good effort for me, at this point. If I played it 10 times, it would be this clean, oh, maybe twice.

And a wonderful effort at that AWTPP. Very nice! Definitely will be another difficult piece for me to learn. May have to check-out your blog for further details. [Linked Image]

Key Notes smile



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#1219983 - 06/20/09 07:23 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Cour [Re: Key Notes]  
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I was hoping to finish Guantanamera or Light and Blue this weekend but I think both are right at the point where I can play them 95% through, just 1-2 measures I'm not confident with yet so maybe I'll finish them early next week.

I did finish of the classical piece I was working on, still want to work on it a bit more so I'll keep it as my warm up piece. Here is my recording:

http://www.coinmanipulation.com/misc/music/SongWithoutWords.mp3

I can't seem to get good dynamics in my recordings. My keyboard isn't great, but I think it sounds a little better than the recording that I end up with. Maybe I need to adjust the sensitivity of the keyboard, or work out how to do the volume normalization in Audacity that people talk about.

I do know the further I progress the more I want to get a decent digital piano. I figure in a year when I've payed of the house if I'm still interested in piano I'll get a decent one.

#1220015 - 06/20/09 09:20 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Cour [Re: HeirborneGroupie]  
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HG – Great job on Space Shuttle Blues! This is one of those numbers where upon first trying I thought “What?” but then once getting the feel for it found it to be a lot of fun. You played it marvelously.

Undone


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#1220022 - 06/20/09 09:39 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Course Book #2 [Re: Waltz]  
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Originally Posted by Waltz
I remember hearing the recording you posted long ago: it was absolutely spectacular. This is how I first knew of your talent at the piano. Perhaps, if I would have had more skill I would not have abhorred learning it; yet, again, If Alfred's wishes to throw in a "challenge piece" I would hope they would choose something like Hava Nagila or the Etude. It is only an opinion however, and only valid as such.

As for the first part; now cut that out. blush I’m just a hack that keeps on working at it. As for your opinion; well of course it’s perfectly valid and I doubt there is anyone who hasn’t wondered “why did they include this selection” about more then a few of the pieces in Alfred’s. smile (One of my personal nemeses was “He's Got The Whole World In His Hands” toward the end of book 1.)

Undone


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#1220026 - 06/20/09 09:48 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Cour [Re: Always Wanted to Play Piano]  
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AWTPP – Great job on the Theme from Solace! This is another one of my favorites from Book 2. Have you ever listened to the complete Joplin piece (Solace: A Mexican Serenade)? It’s really something.

Undone


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#1220031 - 06/20/09 10:01 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Cour [Re: Wrenn]  
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Wrenn – Your recording sounded fine to me (and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it), but I know what you mean about the difference between “live” and a recording. I don’t know what your recording method is, but my DP has only one output jack. I found that if I set this (using a configuration option) to “Line Out” and then use “Line In” on my recording device, I get a much better sound than I do with any of the other settings.

Undone


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#1220060 - 06/20/09 12:08 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Cour [Re: Undone]  
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Thanks everyone for the comments. I really appreciate it.

AWTPP Super job on "Theme from Solace"!!! This piece is not in the Basic Alfred book. The timing sounds like it was hard to master but you did it thumb

Last edited by HeirborneGroupie; 06/20/09 12:09 PM.

Carol
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#1220118 - 06/20/09 01:49 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Cour [Re: HeirborneGroupie]  
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Frankie and Johnnie:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srXOEnOI4t8

Black is the Color of my True Love's Hair:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQ8Jjbi4hF4

In F/J, I never could make a smooth transition when shifting to the Eb "driving rhythm". There was always a "dead space" between the two.


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#1220121 - 06/20/09 01:54 PM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Cour [Re: Wrenn]  
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 707
Waltz Offline
500 Post Club Member
Waltz  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 707
Massachusetts


That was absolutely beautiful! It certainly sounded fine, but some things are lost during recordings as compared to listening live. Regardless, that was great, seriously.


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#1220453 - 06/21/09 09:17 AM Re: Alfred's Basic and All in One Adult Piano Cour [Re: Undone]  
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Posts: 674
Always Wanted to Play Piano Offline
500 Post Club Member
Always Wanted to Play Piano  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 674
Chicago
Originally Posted by Undone
AWTPP – Great job on the Theme from Solace! This is another one of my favorites from Book 2. Have you ever listened to the complete Joplin piece (Solace: A Mexican Serenade)? It’s really something.

Undone


As a matter of fact, yes. When I was trying to figure out how the piece went, I came across some 6 to 7 minute versions on Youtube that were absolutely stupefying.


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Casio Ap-200
Almost midway thru Alfred's All-In-One Book Two
Blogging my family's piano learning experiences: http://aw2pp.blogspot.com/
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